These Researchers Want To Pay You To Use Condoms

These Researchers Want To Pay You To Use Condoms

The Indiana University Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team is working on interventions to increase pleasure through latex.

Her bra was unhooked. His pants were unzipped. Their intertwined bodies rocked to the rhythm of the Spotify sex playlist. “We have to stop,” Shri Amarnath said, interrupting the heat of the moment. “I don’t have a condom.”

It was a one-night stand and Amarnath wasn’t going to risk having to take plan-B a second time. “I didn’t want to take the chance,” the 21-year-old Indiana University student said. “I wasn’t trying to make babies with a stranger or get diseases from him.”

Refusing to have sex without a condom makes Amarnath somewhat of an anomaly. Only one in four vaginal sexual acts are protected by condoms, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior Promotion, conducted by researchers at Indiana University. While unintended pregnancies are at an all time low, cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea are spiking. By age 25, one in two people would have acquired an STI.

“Historically, there is an image that condoms decrease satisfaction,” said Dr. William Yarber, an AIDS/STD prevention researcher at Indiana University. “But I think the idea that condoms interfere with sexual pleasure is being challenged.

To popularize condom use among young adults, the Indiana University Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team (KI-CURT) developed a series of interventions based on data from over 50 publications relating to errors, problems, and contextual factors that impact condom use. Currently, the team is working with heterosexual couples to “increase pleasure through latex” in the third intervention program, called The Home-Based Exercises for Increasing Responsible Sex (THEIRS).

“We’re working on interventions that really emphasize associating pleasure with condom use,” said Yarber, a member of the KI-CURT team.

Heterosexual IU couples between the ages of 18-24 were recruited to participate in the intervention over the university’s spring break. For a stipend of $60 worth of gift cards and condoms, 27 couples were selected to complete a titillating series of homework assignments. Over the course of four weeks, they will describe their experience using ten different lubricants and condoms.

Yarber was surprised he had to turn away disappointed couples interested in participating in the study. “It just shows that younger people want to protect themselves, but they don’t know much about the topic and the issue.”

A major factor deterring condom use is the idea that it’s linked with decreased pleasure. “I don’t feel the difference,” Amaranth said, but she understands why men feel uncomfortable.

Interestingly, research from KI-CURT found that nearly 35 percent of heterosexual couples actually used condoms to maximize pleasure. “It increases satisfaction because they don’t have to worry about risk as much,” Yarber explained. “They can feel more relaxed and expressive and not have to be concerned about pregnancies or STIs.”

Following the success of the first intervention for males, called Homework Intervention Strategy (HIS), KI-CURT carried out a second program for females, called HERS. Women were given a variety of condoms and lubricants to experiment with at home using their fingers or a dildo.

Both men and women were surprised by the plethora of condoms available and realized they liked some better than others. Yarber says that even when contraceptive use is taught in high schools, students don’t always pay attention.

“They’ll go to the drug store and buy whatever is available, or to the student health center and get whatever is free,” Yarber said. “They don’t understand that there are a lot of choices or how to use them.”

The intervention opened doors for women. One participant said she felt more appreciative of her sexuality, and no longer felt apologetic about desire or protecting herself. “That’s a blessing that a woman achieves that,” Yarber said. “I mean, it’s a gift she’ll use the rest of her life.”

Although rampant among young adults, many sexuality active individuals believe they’ll never get infected. “They think that STDs occur to other people, but not them,” Yarber said. They also might have a false perception about the STI status of their partner because they look healthy. But not all relationships are exclusive, Yarber warns. There may be an unknown partner.

Most people underreport their sexual histories and the number of partners they have, particularly in the heat of the moment. “You have to make the assumption that people aren’t going to be totally honest,” Yarber said.

Despite the increase of STIs, Yarber is optimistic that more women are becoming assertive about using condoms for their protection. “I mean, they may not let the guy in unless he has a condom,” the Kinsey Institute researcher said.

When Amaranth refused to “let the guy in,” he ran to the gas station without hesitation. Before restarting the music, she asked him if he was clean. “Even if we’re using a condom, I always ask,” she said. “It’s for my own peace of mind.”

Preliminary feedback from HIS, HERS and THEIRS indicated that the intervention programs spurred communication about sexuality. Once all the data is analyzed, KI-CURT hopes to apply for federal funding to conduct clinical trials.

Cover Image Credit: Static.Independent

Popular Right Now

3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads


I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Would Advise You To Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth If You Have Never Met Me

College is hard enough without having to endure drama from people you've never met.


The first year of college is one of the most trying times for anyone. It's the first time that you're fully independent of your parents, where you have to wake yourself up for your classes because your roommate probably doesn't have your exact schedule, you eat when the spirit moves you, and you prioritize your time in any way you want. College is a time of growth, where you leave behind your 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. high school experience and have to start over.

Yet, I've realized that some people can't leave high school behind, and bring with them the petty drama and unnecessary rumors that littered the halls of high school and spread like wildfire. There is a consistent stream of gossip and preconceived notions that ruin a potential future relationship between two people, all because someone decided that a rumor they heard about someone else was worth sharing.

I understand why people hold on to the drama that is caused when other people decide to gossip. But, for the people who learn about their reputation from their friends, because someone decided to share it with them and, being a good friend, they told them what someone had said, it's hard. College is the first time where you get to go out on your own and live life as a semi-functioning adult, and no one wants to be dragged back to their high school experience.

For the people who bring high school to college with them and the people who believe rumors about someone even if they haven't met that person, you need to get over yourself. It is not fair to the people about whom you're talking. Imagine if it happened to you. College is a challenging time, the coursework is more difficult and there is no one there to tell you what to do with your time. It is hard enough to balance academic coursework with a social life and extracurricular activities, not including being able to maintain strong mental health. Although it can be heartbreaking to hear rumors that have been said, it can show you who your true friends are. There are a lot of people you meet when starting college who seem like they could be your best friends, but as soon as you turn your back, they're whispering about you. There is no doubt in my mind that my close friends would be the first to speak up on my behalf if they heard something negative about me. And that means more to me than a reputation.

It's easier said than done not to let rumors and other people's perception affect you. The difference being let it hurt you and accepting that there's nothing you can do are two very separate things. But what other people think of you is something that is entirely outside of your control, and all that you can really do is decide not to let it be known that it bothers you. You have every right to be upset if you hear something negative about yourself, especially if it isn't true or something you did has been blown out of proportion. There is no definitive list of traits that a person can have to be strong, and there is not a list of actions that you can take in order to move on from being hurt by rumors. But the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to move on. To make sure that you are happy and comfortable in your own skin. It may seem like a burden to fully accept yourself and like every single thing about yourself. No one is perfect.

Related Content

Facebook Comments