So I recently had the opportunity to have sex for the first time, with someone I really like. Everything seemed great until I rolled on a condom, and I'll be honest, it felt really weird. I understand as much as anyone the necessity of safe sex, but the plain fact that I had plastic tightly wrapped around me, which for me was a strange and uncomfortable sensation (remember, this was my first time), made it impossible for me to stay in the game, and before long the moment was lost for good. We've tried again, but the combination of the continuing condom-awkwardness and the mounting pressure of my having failed so many times makes it harder and harder to perform. I'm starting to feel useless and inadequate, and I can tell my partner is getting frustrated. I feel like this can't be too uncommon an issue, but at the same time I'm starting to feel like there's something genuinely wrong with me. Meanwhile, this all means I'm still a virgin, and it seems like there's just no end in sight.
Help me, NBN. You're my only hope.
Yours, Underperforming Undergrad
First of all, let’s just get it out there that virginity is a concept created by society to police the sexualities of women, not a concept that’s in any way biological for any gender; Not having completed penis-in-vagina sex does not make you worth any less or built any differently than someone who has had tons and tons of P-in-V sex. So please do not let the societal emphasis on “virginity” bog your brain (and penis) down.
Now about the actual dilemma at hand. Kudos for recognizing the importance of safety and actually rolling one on to begin with! What I’m sensing is that your shaken confidence is at fault here, and the great thing about confidence is that it can be built right back up after a positive sexual experience. Before even going into the naked stuff, you gotta take care of yourself. Give yourself a mantra to repeat silently or aloud: “I am sexy, I want to have sex with _____ and _____ wants to have sex with me because I AM SEXY!” When we start having sex with someone new, we often forget key facts in our giddy daze of nervousness and excitement, namely, that our new partners are super-into-this too and are continually coming back for a reason. After your mantra, do whatever else it takes to rev you up: Work out, go sprint down Sheridan, have a naked dance party in front of the mirror, eat a giant hamburger, have a luxurious shower and shave, watch GoT sexy scenes, etc.
Now, what to do once the naked stuff happens: Use different condoms than you’re using now and use lots of lube. Repeat: Different condoms, lube lube lube. Look for condoms with dome-shaped ends; The extra headroom allows for less constriction and more sensitivity. Most condom brands make this model, so you can experiment with which ones you love most! Pro-tip: SHAPE provides this kind of condom in most of their Safer-Sex Six-Packs available at The G-Spot (a wandering tent that’s set up around campus on Fridays), as well as on the third floor of Searle, and all for free! In addition, a drop or two of lube inside the condom reduces uncomfortable friction, though be sure to not go overboard or you may become too slippery to keep the condom on. However, your partner can use as much lube as their heart desires; Water-based lubes tends to be friendlier to vaginas and silicon-based is the best for anuses. Make it a fun part of foreplay by applying it to them! This no-fail combo of self-care, looser (but equally-effective) condoms and slip-and-slide conditions will surely help retain sensation and take you on the road to mutual pleasure!