Condoms can be your best defence against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they are up to 98% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy when used perfectly. If condoms are used incorrectly, which they often are, their effectiveness goes down to 87%. Even if you think you’re a condom-using pro – check out these common condom mistakes so you know what to watch out for!
Read on to make sure you're not making these common condom mistakes!
Keeping Condoms in Pant Pockets or Exposed to Heat
If your guy grabs a condom from his wallet or his back pocket, you might want to supply your own. When they leave the condom in their pants or exposed to heat like in a car, the friction and warm temperature can damage the condom. Inspect the condom package before opening it by feeling for that little cushion of air inside which indicates that the wrapper hasn’t been punctured. Also, feel for the slip-slide movement of the condom if it's lubricated, that way you know it hasn’t dried out. If the condom is torn, brittle, or stiff throw it out and use another one. Always use a new condom with each erection.
Mistake #2: Using an Expired Condom
Condoms do expire! Every condom brand and type has a specific life span. Condoms with spermicides and cooling or warming sensations tend to expire sooner than others. Expired condoms tend to break more easily. Be sure to check the date before each use.
Mistake #3: Not Leaving Enough Room at The Tip
When you wrap the condom too tight without leaving any space for ejaculation at the tip, you create an airtight seal that can cause the condom to break when your partner ejaculates. Squeeze the tip of the condom before you roll the condom onto their penis to prevent the air from getting trapped. Leaving about half an inch from the top should be enough to collect the semen. Pro tip: place a drop of lube inside the condom to create better contact with the head of the penis and the condom and it’ll be more pleasurable for your partner!
Mistake #4: Putting On The Condom Too Late
We know things can get heated quickly, but don’t put on the condom too late! This mistake can potentially sabotage your pregnancy and STI prevention efforts. Put the condom on before there is any contact between the penis and vulva (vaginal area) because even pre-cum (the fluid before semen) can contain sperm.
Mistake #5: Using the Wrong Condom Size
Does the condom seem to break or slip off too often? It could be because your man is using the wrong size. Condoms are not one-size-fits-all. If the condom is too tight, the condom can break more easily, and it may be hard for your partner to maintain an erection if it’s uncomfortably tight. If the condom is slipping off during intercourse, a smaller condom may be needed. If the condom is slipping off after ejaculation and causing spillage be sure to take off the condom before he loses his erection. Many brands offer a variety pack with different sizes so try out a few to find the perfect fit.
Mistake #6: Putting the Condom On Upside Down
The condom will not roll all the way to the base of the penis. when you accidentally put it on upside down. If that happens, take it off and wear a fresh condom, as the previous one could have some ejaculate on it.
Mistake #7: Using Massage Oils as Lubricants
Oil-based lubricants like coconut oil, massage oils, lotions, and petroleum jelly can cause latex condoms to break. Your best bet would be to stick to water-based or silicone-based lubricants. Some condoms already come lubricated, but if needed, add extra lube.
Mistake #8: Not Knowing the Effects of Certain Types of Condoms
Did you know that “lambskin” or “natural skin” condoms do not protect against STIs? It’s true. While all latex or polyurethane condoms protect against STIs, those who have a latex allergy may have to use the lambskin ones which do not offer STI protection. If you have a latex allergy, and want to use a condom for STI protection, try a female condom. Female condoms are usually made out of polyurethane.
Flavoured condoms can be great for oral sex and prevent STIs from spreading to your mouth (yes, this can happen!), but using flavoured condoms in the vagina can increase your chance of a yeast infection. The flavouring often contains sugars that can disrupt the vaginal bacterial flora making you prone to yeast infections.
Mistake #9: Using Two Condoms
In this case, using two condoms is not better than one! If you use two condoms on top of each other or with a female condom, there’s more friction and an increased chance of breaking. If you want double protection, use another type of effective birth control like the pill, patch, or IUD with a condom.
We hope you learned something and will avoid these condom mistakes. Now, if the condom breaks or leaks, be sure you take emergency contraception to avoid getting pregnant. Read about emergency contraception here. If you want to know more about the other forms of contraception, read this guide.
Reviewed by: Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD/MBA, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician or trained professional.