Condom breakage is far more common than people think. In several studies of college aged men 29-32% report at least one episode of condom breakage within the past three months. For men who reported condom breakage, this happened 15-27% of the time. Basically condoms are failing for a lot of guys (and their partners) way too many times.

There is a right way to use a condom and a wrong way. The recent post that I wrote on the Top 10 Mistakes Men Make with Condom (with data from a study by Crosby in 2002) tells us that many of the mistakes involve the basics (i.e. not following the information on the instructions in the package). But which of these errors are most likely to lead to condom failure?

Another study (also by Crosby, published in 2006 in Sexually Transmitted Diseases) looked at specific factors associated with condom breakage. User errors strongly associated with condom failure are:

  • Using an oil based lubricant. Oil degrades latex. In some studies an oil based lube increases the breakage rate three-fold. Never, ever use an oil based lubricant with a latex condom.
  • Condom contacted a sharp object. Typically teeth or scissors to open a package or contact with jewelry while rolling it on.
  • Problems with fit and feel of the condom. A too tight condom is more prone to breakage. Also, during prolonged episodes of penetration a condom may get dry and more prone to the effects of friction, so adding lube not only before but during sex is a good idea (and CDC recommended!).
  • Failure to squeeze air from the tip of the condom while rolling it on. 40% of men report not doing this most of the time.

If your condom use is perfect, I applaud you. If it’s not, think about why you are using a condom (protect yourself from STDs and parenthood) and consider some changes to your technique. And pass this post along, because even if you’re using condoms correctly 100% of the time chances are one of your friends isn’t.

By the way, re: the image above, I don’t advertise for Trojan I just like the sound of “Pleasure Pack”

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