Condoms are a crucial part of safe sex, but even though most people think they know how to use them, errors are surprisingly common. In fact, it’s estimated that three-quarters of individuals make mistakes when using condoms, and these mistakes can have serious consequences, leading to unintended pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here, we’ll highlight twelve of the most common mistakes people make when using condoms and offer guidance on how to use them correctly.
1. Not Checking the Condom Packet for Damage:
Condoms can be easily damaged, even in your wallet or bag. If they’ve been stored there for more than a month, they may not be safe to use. It’s a good habit to carry one with you, but remember to replace it regularly to ensure it provides proper protection against STIs and pregnancy.
2. Not Checking the Expiry Date:
All condoms have an expiry date printed on the wrapper. If that date has passed, the condom is no longer effective.
3. Not Being Careful When Opening the Condom Wrapper:
Before opening the wrapper, ensure you locate the rib of the condom inside the packaging and push it to the side. This prevents accidental tearing when you open it. Never use scissors or any sharp objects, including your teeth, to open a condom.
4. Putting the Condom on After Sex Has Started:
Condoms should be worn before sexual contact begins to ensure protection from STIs and pregnancy. Putting it on just before ejaculation may expose you to risks.
5. Not Holding the Tip When Applying the Condom:
Squeezing the tip while putting on the condom eliminates any trapped air, reducing the risk of breakage.
6. Putting the Condom on the Wrong Way and Then Turning It Over:
If you accidentally put the condom on the wrong way, do not attempt to turn it around. Use a new one to prevent exposing your partner to potential risks.
7. Taking the Condom Off Too Soon:
A condom should be used throughout sexual activity, including after ejaculation. Removing it during sex without your partner’s consent is considered sexual assault.
8. Not Holding the Base of the Condom When Withdrawing the Penis:
Failing to secure the condom during withdrawal can lead to it slipping off, increasing the risk of pregnancy and STIs. Gently hold the condom in place with your fingers as you withdraw.
9. Using Oil-Based Lubricants with Condoms:
10. Using a Condom That’s Too Big or Too Small:
Wearing the correct-sized condom is crucial. A condom that’s too big may slip off, while one that’s too small might tear. Condoms come in various sizes to ensure a proper fit. Brands like Durex offer a variety of sizes to choose the perfect fit.
11. Not Changing Condoms During Sex:
When switching from anal to vaginal sex (or vice versa), always use a new condom. Introducing bacteria from the rectum to the vagina can cause infections.
12. Not Using Condoms on Sex Toys:
If you share sex toys, each person should use a new condom. Sex toys can transmit STIs if left uncovered and shared.
If Something Goes Wrong
Even when following all the guidelines for safe condom use, accidents can happen, such as condom breakage or slipping off during sex. In such situations, it’s vital that you and your partner are aware so that you can take the necessary steps to stay safe. This may involve accessing emergency contraception or getting tested for STIs. Always prioritize safety and open communication when it comes to sexual health.