Are you guilty of one of these sexual slip-ups? If you are, the condom won’t be as effective as you think it is! Here are 12 mistakes you could be making with condoms without even realising.
Using a condom is pretty straightforward, right? Pop it on the end of your penis and you’re pretty much good to go. Well, almost good to go. Surprisingly enough, there’s a LOT of room for manoeuvre.
Condoms, when they’re used correctly, are the ultimate barrier protection. They stop you from getting pregnant, and they protect you against a plethora of STIs. But if you’ve found yourself in a compromising position with that trusted little packet (the list below speaks volumes), you won’t be as protected as you think you are.
So, to avoid any blunders in the bedroom, we’ve put together a list of the most common mistakes people make when using condoms—so hopefully you'll never make them again.
Here’s how to put a condom on correctly and wear it the right way.
1. You don’t wear the condom the WHOLE time.
This might sound like a ridiculous statement, we all know that keeping a condom on during sex is important. But more often than not, when you get down to it (and this is actually quite common) you might not think to put a condom on the minute you whip off your underwear. It’s worth noting however, that ANY skin-to-skin, genital contact can lead to an STI. And of course, if you’re not using any other type of birth control, you’re also at risk of pregnancy, too. So the golden rule? If it’s out, make sure you put one on!
2. You use a condom that’s been stored in your purse or wallet.
It might seem like you’re being extra-prepared for your (potentially lucky) Saturday night out, but if you’re carrying a condom around with you constantly, there’s more chance that it could get damaged. It’s not the safest place to store something that has this important a job. For your peace of mind, make sure you use one that’s shiny, new and just out of the box.
3. You don’t check the condom for tears.
Yes, it might kill the mood slightly, but take a minute to check the wrapper for any tears, and check the condom itself is intact. Trust us, an STI or unwanted pregnancy will kill the mood even more.
4. You use oil-based lube with latex.
Latex and oil literally do not mix. Look for water or silicone-based lubes instead of oil-based products. Oils, lotions and massage oils are off limits when using latex condoms.These ingredients degrade the latex, which means the condom won’t be as effective.
5. You don’t put it on properly.
Whilst it’s really not that hard, there are a few pointers you need to remember to make sure you’re putting the condom on properly. One of them being to squeeze the little nipple-like tip. Why do you have to do that? It stops any air from getting trapped inside the condom. If you don’t do this, then there’s more chance that the condom will break. What’s more, that top reservoir is actually designed to capture the sperm. If you skip this step, sperm can actually leak out of the base of the condom.
Other tips? Tear the corner of the wrapper carefully (so you don’t break the condom), then place the condom over the penis, gently pinch the tip leaving a little room in the reservoir, then roll it all the way down to the base of the penis.
And if you accidentally put the condom on upside down (yes, this has happened) where the rim is facing down instead of up, you’ll notice that it won’t unroll all the way. Just take it off and put a new one on, as that one could have some pre-ejaculate on it.
6. You don’t check the expiry date.
Some condoms have spermicide or other ingredients that break down over time and don’t work as well. If a condom has expired, it won’t be as safe or as effective as one that hasn’t.
7. You use a condom that doesn’t fit properly.
Penises come in all shapes and sizes, and so, of course condoms do, too. If you wear a condom that’s too tight, there’s more chance that it could break, whereas if you wear one that’s too big, then it could come off during sex. If it doesn’t fit properly, then it kind of defeats the object of wearing one in the first place. Our advice? Try a few different brands and sizes until you find your perfect fit.
8. You don’t use lube.
Not everyone needs to use lube, but if you and your partner are switching positions frequently or if there’s too much friction during sex, then there’s a chance the condom could break. Use a water or water or silicone-based lube like Skyn Maximum Performance or Durex Play.
9. You don’t change condoms frequently enough.
If you switch from anal to vaginal sex, you need to change your condom. If you don’t, bacteria can pass through to the vagina and cause nasty infections like bacterial vaginosis, as well as put you at risk of other STIs. You should really be using a separate condom for oral, anal, and vaginal sex. And even more so if you’re going from one to the other in succession.
10. You use two condoms just to be on the safe side.
Another slightly silly concept, but it happens! Wearing two condoms doesn’t mean you’ll get double protection. In fact, if you wear two at the same time, or if you double up and use a male and female condom simultaneously, it’s more likely one of them will tear. If you’re wearing a condom correctly, one is enough. Trust us.
11. You wait too long to take the condom off.
Men lose their erection pretty quickly after they ejaculate, so if you’re locked in a loving embrace post-orgasm, you’ll want to pull out before your snuggle sesh. If you stay inside your partner for too long, the condom could fall off, and sperm is likely to leak. As soon as you go soft, pull out and take the condom off holding the rim, to prevent any spillage.
12. You don’t get tested for STIs because you’ve used a condom.
Condoms are 98% effective at protecting against most STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis A and B, and HIV. But not all STIs spread through semen or vaginal fluids (like these ones do). Basically that means you can still contract an STI through skin-to-skin contact, because the condom doesn’t cover the entire pubic region. Even with a condom, you’re still at risk of contracting other STIs like herpes, HPV, genital warts, pubic lice and syphilis.
Don’t be put off using a condom though! It’s still your best defence against most STIs. But if you are having sex, especially if it’s with a new partner or if you didn’t use a condom, keep an eye out for any new symptoms, and make sure you get regular STI tests. Many infections can be completely symptomless, so it’s better to be on the safe side.
Loved our advice on condoms? You can find more expert health, beauty and grooming advice on our Health & Wellness Edit, guaranteed to give your body a well-deserved boost. Suffer with burning or sensitive skin? Here's how to repair a damaged skin barrier. Is your lady V giving you grief? Here's how to keep your vagina healthy and happy.