Some friends of mine over at Indiana University (home of the Kinsey Institute) recently put out research based on correct condom use and statistics from men and women admitting to the following errors. Before we go into the common errors in condom use, let me state that condoms are (when used properly and correctly) one of the best methods to protect yourself against STIs, HIV, and pregnancy. The presented research was gathered through analyzing 50 studies on condom use that have spanned 16 years of collection.
While there is no such thing as the condom police, I encourage everyone to use protection until they are in a situation where there is no longer risk for infection. Such situations would be having sex only with someone you trust, abstaining from sex, and/or in a monogamous relationship without outside sexual partners. In these situations, you have a "contained environment" for yourself and partner. Of course, that being said, you want to make sure that both you and your sexual partner have been screened for STIs and HIV prior to no longer using condoms.
So, what are the 15 steps towards correct condom use? (drum roll please)
1. Late application (17-51.1% of people)
When it comes to using a condom, make sure it is on the entire time you are having sex. In my line of work (HIV Prevention) I hear so many guys talk about not putting the condom on until they are about to cum. I quietly sit back, raise my eyebrow, and ask, "So tell me why you couldn't have been exposed to...say...a STI the entire time you were fucking before you put the condom on?" They look at me puzzled, and shrug. This is my time to go into basic health education (something that majority of schools are lacking) and explain how you can get everything from Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Syphilis, HPV and so forth without using a condom. Just because you are protecting the other partner from your sperm doesn't mean you can't be infecting each other with a STI.
2. Early removal (13.6 to 44.7% of people)
So, you want to protect each other from infection and pregnancy, and yet for some reason decide it's better to remove the condom before you are finished? I'm very confused. You either wear it the whole time or you don't. If you don't, then you have defeated the entire purpose of wearing the condom in the first place. (face palm!)
3. Completely unrolling the condom before having sex (2.1 to 25.3% of people)
The reason why the condom is rolled up in the package is so you can ROLL IT ONTO the penis or sex toy. By properly rolling the condom down on the penis or toy allows for correct condom use. The condom should be perfectly flush against the skin and not sagging. By unrolling it first and then trying to put it on, you are only going to increase the chances of it slipping off during sex. If that happens, we are back to incorrect condom use step #2.
4. No space at the tip (24.3 to 45.7% of people)
I get this one all the time at my job. While we want the condom to be perfectly flush and not saggy, you should leave some room at the top. The reason for this is for collection of the sperm during ejaculation. By leaving some space, we are allowing the sperm somewhere to collect and not squish all over the place.
5. Failure to remove air (48.1% of women and 41.6% of men)
This relates to #4 in that the space that you leave at the top shouldn't be a giant bubble. When you roll the condom down on the penis or toy, make sure to pinch this area with your finger to remove the air. If air is present and you start playing around, you are increasing your chances for the condom to break or slip off.
6. Inside-out condoms (4 to 30.4% of people)
Really? Get a new fucking condom people! Apparently there are some people who think that it is perfectly ok to have penetrative sex, then flip the condom inside out, and do it again. NO! One condom, one time. Not only are you again increasing your chances for condom slippage, but you are exposing your partner to your pre-cum. As my friends from IU state in their article, your gym teacher was right when they said you can impregnate someone with pre-cum.
7. Failure to completely unroll the condom before use (11.2% of women and 8.8% of men)
Please do not think that, while having sex, the condom is going to unroll itself. This is your job to roll the condom down the ENTIRE way down to the base of the penis (or all the way down a toy). By leaving your skin still exposed, you can increase your chances of contracting Syphilis, or other infections. I have honestly heard several times in my sexual health career of condoms slipping off due to #7 and the condom ending up inside someone. Just take a damn second and roll the thing down...
8. Exposure to a sharp object (2.1 to 11.2% of people)
Using a knife, scissors, or your teeth to open a condom wrapper is only going to increase the chances of creating a hole or damaging the condom. Condoms are actually really easy to open with your fingers. If your hands are all greased up from lube, wash your hands then jump into doing the nasty.
9. Failure to check for damage (82.7% of women and 74.5% of men)
These percentages freak me out! Really, the majority of people couldn't take a sec to make sure that no damage has happened to the condom? Check for the basic signs: the condom wrapper is already torn open, the condom is not expired, there are holes in the wrapper, etc. These little things can mean the difference between getting an infection and not. This also goes back to #8 with people often creating the damage themselves by cutting the wrapper open with scissors or with their teeth.
10. No lubrication (16 to 25.8% of people)
While majority of condoms come with some lube on them, that little amount is not going to last the entire time! Especially, if you are having a marathon sex session because things will dry up. Make sure to always "check in" with you condom to see if it needs anything. Treat the condom like an extra person in the room. The happier the condom, the safer your body will be against infection. As I always say, you can NEVER have enough lube while having sex. If things get a little dry, you are increasing the chances of that condom to rip and tear opening up both partners potential infection.
11. Lubrication complications (3.2% of women and 4.7% of men)
Make sure you understand this basic principle, "Don't use an non-silicone oil based lube with latex condoms." Now, let's stop for a second and talk about this. Silicone lubricant is safe with latex condoms, however oil based lubricant is not! This statement is almost one of those word puzzles in the GRE. Silicone lube is oil based, but not all oil based lube is safe for latex condoms. Oil based products that should not be used with latex condoms include Vaseline, baby oil, etc. THOSE oil based products are horrible for latex condoms and will make the condom tear during sex because the oil weakens the strength and durability of the latex. Plus, a lot of the oil based products that people use for sex sometimes makes me want to slam my head on my desk. Just use water-based or silicone-based lube, end of story. Unless...you are into fisting then that is a whole different story...
12. Incorrect withdrawal after ejaculation (27% of women and 31% of men)
After you are done having sex and you have ejaculated into the condom, don't keep having sex! By continuing to have sex and pumping your partner, you are increasing the chances of your sperm to be released from the condom into the receptive partner. If you are still horny and want more, take a damn second to pull the first condom off, clean up, and put on the next one. This goes hand in hand with #13.
13. Reusing a condom (1.4 to 3.3% of people)
The funny thing is that both #12 and #13 are essentially the same condom use mistake, and yet there is a huge difference in the amount of people who reported such. Once you have used the condom and shot your load in it, it's time to remove it and throw it out! Condoms and recycling are two things that should never be used in the same sentence of thought!
14. Incorrect storage (3.3 to 19.1% of people)
This is again one that I get almost all the time in my line of work. I hear from so many guys that their safety plan for sex is to have condoms stashed by them at all times. Well, that's great and wonderful that you have condoms in your wallet or in the glove compartment of your car, but you are only going to hurt yourself in the end. Think about the amount of pressure you put on the condom by sitting on it (if it's in your wallet) or the extreme temperature fluctuations your car experiences (especially if you live in Chicago). Did you know that condoms actually have a temperature range and storage specs? I suggest you check them out before creating your safety plan because your plan might actually put you in further risk of condom breaking or infection.
And the last one from Indiana University....
15. Not wearing one at all
While this was actually not part of the study done by IU, they included this due to results they found in the most recent National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. In this survey they found that 45% of men aged 18-24 wore a condom during their last sexual experience, 29.3% of men aged 25-34, and only 21.3% of men aged 35-44. While it is important to understand that some of these men might be in monogamous relationships or not having penetrative sex (leading as to why they are not using condoms), these are still startling stats. Again, if you are in a monogamous relationship without outside sexual partners, having sex with a trusted lover, or abstaining from sex, you really don't need to worry about a condom. However, unless you have firm boundaries, understanding, and trust with this person, wrap it up. And for the record, to the COUNTLESS guys who have told me that they don't use condoms because they don't fit their dick...shut the fuck up! I can put any basic condom and wrap it over my head. If your dick is bigger than my head, I gladly invite you to send me pics because you are a medical mystery and must suffer a lot of pain from having a 3 pound dick between your legs. Otherwise, quit talking about you being an elephant because you are only going to make yourself look like a joke when we actually see how tiny it is during sex.
To check out IU's article: http://lifestyle.myjoyonline.com/pages/health/201308/110588.php