The common myth that condoms hinder sexual pleasure has been debunked, with research showing they have no effect on the enjoyment of sex.

Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, by scientists at Indiana University, found that sex was just as arousing and pleasurable when condoms and/or lubricants were used compared with when they were not.

People often believe condoms hinder sexual pleasure because they reduce sensitivity. There are also many instances where men refuse to wear condoms for this reason.

A 2007 article in the Nursing Standard said: "Some people suggest that they lose sensation when using condoms. Men sometimes indicate that condoms are restrictive and uncomfortable to wear.

"Some men and women would like their partners to use a condom but their partner may refuse because of their need to exert power and control."

The researchers looked at men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 using data from the 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour in the US.

US struggling with STIs and unwanted pregnancies

The researchers assessed condom and lubricant use and their rating of sexual quality.

Findings showed that men and women consistently rated sex as highly arousing and pleasurable, with few differences between people who used condoms and/or lubricants and those who did not.

It also found no significant differences in men's ratings of ease of erections based on condom and lubricant use.

Debby Herbenick, one of the study leaders, said: "The US continues to grapple with high rates of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and unintended pregnancies.

"We need to understand how people make choices about the products they use (or avoid using) and how these products contribute to the safety and pleasurable aspects of their sexual experiences.

"This is particularly important as the products themselves evolve and become more mainstream in American society.

"We also need to understand what men and women know, or don't know, about the products they use so that we can better target public health education messages to individuals and groups."

Irwin Goldstein, MD and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, added: "Understanding current condom use offers health care providers an opportunity to educate those people uncomfortable with condoms but for whom lack of use may lead to significant sexually transmitted infection health risk."