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Top 10 Most Common Condom Mistakes

Top 10 Most Common Condom Mistakes

4 minute read

We all make mistakes, even when it comes to protecting some of our most precious cargo. The science of the Almighty Condom can be tricky, no matter our age or our level of experience. Let's discuss some all-too-common condom mistakes so you can avoid them. 

10. Not checking for visible damage.

Nearly 75% of people never bother looking for tears or holes -- even if they use their teeth to open the packet (don't!) or snag the condom on their jewelry or fingernails, according to a Kinsey Institute report.

9. Not checking the expiration date.

I honestly can’t believe that about 61 percent of condom users were guilty of one of the most common condom mistakes. It’s like taking a sip from the milk jug without checking the date first. Although, condoms do last quite awhile -- up to 5 years for plain ones, though only 2 years or so for those with a spermicide, which gradually breaks down the latex. But condoms kept in men's wallets get toasty from body heat, which can considerably shorten a condom's life expectancy (and maybe yours). If a condom is sticky or brittle, toss it.

8. Not discussing condom use beforehand.

Yes, 60% of people say it doesn't work out well when a partner springs condoms on them at the last minute. The more both partners discuss (and even practice) using condoms, the better things will go when the big moment comes.

7. Putting it on late in the action.

About 43% of students in a sex-behavior study donned the condom after penetration had already occurred. Presumably they didn't know that some sperm can be released before the final fireworks, posing pregnancy and STD risks.

6. Not leaving room at the top.

It's apparently news to four out of 10 condom users that before putting it on, you need to gently squeeze the tip of the condom to remove any trapped air and leave space for the sperm. Otherwise, the condom's more likely to break.

5. Putting it on wrong.

Don't you hate when that happens?About 30% of people put it on inside out and don't realize that an inside-out condom is more likely to slip off (go peek at number 8 on this list). The safest thing to do? Start with a new one. The right way: The condom should look a little like a ski cap with the bottom edges rolled up (not under). The cap should fit over the penis so that the brim unrolls easily down the shaft. Any other way and it's a dunce cap.

4. Breaking the condom.

About 29% of users report breakage. A large chunk of that is user error, not product defects, say researchers. In addition to the mistakes in numbers 1, 2, 5, and 6, add this: using oil-based lubricants (like petroleum jelly, face and body creams, and baby oil or mineral oil). These can make the latex pop. Instead, use kinder, gentler water-based or silicone lubricants.

3. Slipping off during sex.

The 13% who report slippage have many reasons, including, "It just didn't fit right." To find a good fit, buy a variety of styles and sizes and try them at leisure. Remember, natural lambskin sounds nice and can prevent pregnancy, but it doesn't protect against the viruses that cause AIDS, hepatitis, and herpes. Only latex can do that.

2. Taking the condom off too soon.

Duh, not a good idea. For the 15% of men who report doing this, losing an erection is a big reason. But erections can come and go during sex; besides, ejaculation can occur without an erection, bringing with it all the risks of pregnancy and STDs.

1. The biggest mistake of all: NOT using a condom.

Don't let all these potential problems (or that ewww-y smell) turn you off to condoms or simply make you say, "Why bother?" Take a breath, get it right, and save your (sex) life.

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