Condoms are a beautiful thing. They are effective at preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. They are inexpensive and easily obtained. They are small and compact and easily kept in a wallet or purse.
However, they are only beautiful when they are used correctly.
WebMD reports the most commonly reported condom use errors are:
- Not using condoms throughout sexual intercourse
- Not leaving space at the tip
- Not squeezing air from the tip
- Putting the condom on inside out
- Not using only water-based lubricants
- Incorrect withdrawal
These types of errors reduce the effectiveness of condoms to about 85%. To get the maximum protection from your condom, follow these guidelines:
- Use a NEW condom every time you have sex, be it vaginal or oral and make sure the condom is in place before there is any genital contact.
- Make sure there is at least a ½ inch space at the tip of the condom for semen collection. Some condoms have a built in reservoir tip for this purpose. If yours does not, then just pinch the end while placing the condom to allow for this extra space.
- After ejaculation and before the penis gets soft, grip the rim of the condom and carefully withdraw. Then gently pull the condom off the penis, making sure that semen doesn’t spill out.
- Wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it in the trash where others won’t handle it.
- If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, withdraw, remove the broken condom, and put on a new condom.
- Ensure that adequate lubrication is used during vaginal and anal sex, which might require water-based lubricants. Oil-based lubricants (e.g., petroleum jelly, shortening, mineral oil, massage oils, body lotions, and cooking oil) should not be used because they can weaken latex, causing breakage.
If you’re interesting in learning more about condoms or in obtaining a few of these beautiful things for your own protection, check out the Condom Club at the Student Wellness Center.
Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.