Citizens Against Government Waste, an American “government watchdog” group famous for its ties with Jack Abramoff, pro-tobacco-industry lobbying, and pro-Microsoft-lobbying, has apparently fed a story to Fox News regarding the National Institutes of Health having sponsored the Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for a study about OMG SEX.
Specifically, the study is to figure out why men are not using condoms as much as they should, and how to encourage them to do so and/or fix condoms to eliminate any perceived sensitivity problems. This naturally raised Fox News’ ire and they duly parroted it as being an example of government waste, because obviously enough to any Fox News watching conservative, the real answer to this question is “don’t have sex unless you are married like God says and want teh babiez”.
The $423,500 USD price tag, at that, is probably about right for a study “conducted among 500 men aged 18-24, though only 120 subjects will be involved during the laboratory phase, when scientists will conduct neurological exams and “test an instructional method on the correct and consistent use of condoms.” “ I don’t know why I’m not surprised that, with the price tag on the War on Terra which was supposed to pay for itself with the oil reclaimed from Iraq (by the way: 0.8 trillion at last count), that a sum of half a million dollars aimed at preventing a whole lot of social problems is scoffed at, while pouring money into a sinkhole in the Middle East is a laudable and noble endeavour.
The obvious first impression you’re supposed to be left with is “they’re paying half a million dollars to find out that guys think it doesn’t feel as good with a condom on”, because that’s what all the conservatives hope you’ll think if they just keep repeating how wasteful it is over and over, but that’s honestly not the point of the study. Considering sex ed has been eroded in the States to the point where all you’re basically told is that sex is wrong and never do it, finding out why condom usage is far far lower than it should is not just important, it can provide immediate benefits to the public in STD reduction, reduction in unwanted pregnancies and thus fewer abortions (I thought conservatives WANTED fewer abortions!), and possibly even identifying mitigating factors that decrease pleasure in condoms so that condom manufacturers can improve their designs.
One of the common complaints is that in circumcised individuals, condoms seriously decrease sensitivity. One of the benefits of already having told you that I was brought up Catholic, is the fact that you probably already knew that I was circumcised, and therefore I don’t feel ashamed in bringing up this personal anecdote. Yeah, I’m cut, and I never even got a choice in the matter. Still a bit bitter about that. And I can say that while I’ve never experienced being UNcircumcised while sentient, to compare sensations, I do not feel much difference with a condom on or off. There’s a LITTLE difference, sure. Not enough to change the logistics of the act though.
PS: the trick is to put a drop of lubricant on the inside of the condom. Just a drop though. And make sure it’s water-based, unless you manage to get a hold of a polyurethane condom — oil and latex don’t mix.