Using protection and practising safe X goes without saying. If you don't want to get pregnant or pass on STI then you really must be cautious about what you are doing when dancing between the sheets. But believe it or not, there are a lot of very silly people out there who mistakenly use protection either because they are lazy or don't know how to use their chosen method correctly. And surprisingly enough, there are actually quite a lot of different ways you can get wrong. What seems like a very simple and straightforward action of "popping it on" actually comes with quite a few rules which you would be wise to follow.
So share our list of 15 incredibly bad ways protection is used with your boyfriends and husbands, your friends and your cousins because everyone really needs to know the correct way to help keep themselves safe.
It is after all, more than just having a good time. There can be lasting repercussions to one encounter and whether that ends in alimony, or a trip to the clinic is up to you and your correct use of protection. From split condoms, unnecessary leakage to wrong sizes and going bareback, there are plenty of mistakes to make. Don't be one of those people that lives to regret an encounter because of one little mistake with a very basic and obvious thing. After all, it's not rocket science.
15 Letting It Be A Mood Killer
First of all, using protection does not have to be a massive mood killer. There seems to be this idea for a lot of people, that there has to be a pause button while a condom is sought out and "popped on"... correctly might I add, but more on that later. But that's not the case. Using protection, a condom especially, can be added in to foreplay making the whole experience that much more enjoyable if you use it together in a sensual way.
Obviously, if you have to run out to the late night pharmacy, then the mood might be changed by the time you get back! But ordinarily, you don't have to take a time out. Just make sure that the condom is used correctly and safely to protect you both.
14 Not Educating Themselves
Condoms are not the only method of protection against unwanted pregnancy. Educating yourself on the various methods available is one of the first things you should do especially if you want to be able to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying.
Condoms are one of the most loved methods of contraception so it's often thought that it goes without saying how easy they are to use. Many think that condoms are straight forward but as I say they come with a set of rules and if you haven't been shown how to use one before then you may not know or understand the mechanics behind them. So before you use one, think about how they are supposed to protect you and your partner and use them correctly. Educate yourself.
13 Not Wearing One At All
The biggest fail so many men make is not using a condom at all. So you have checked yourself out at the clinic and everything is clear but has your partner? Aside from protecting you against pregnancy, condoms are up to 94% effective for protecting you against sexually transmitted infections (and 98% effective against pregnancy). Why on earth you would think that it's a wise move to skip the condom is beyond me, especially if you are not in a long term relationship.
Looking after your sexual health is paramount and skipping a condom only puts you and your partner at unnecessary risk. They were created for a reason, use them. Obviously couples who have been together for a considerable length of time often stop using protection but this should only be done when both of you have been tested and you've talked it through with each other.
12 Keeping It In A Wallet
Do you have a condom in your wallet? Oh you do, do you? Many men think keeping a condom in their wallet is one of the safest, easiest and most practicable things to do. After all, you never know when a chance encounter may call for you to use that bad boy and you don't want to be frantically rushing around looking for one.
But did you know that storing a condom in your wallet is incredibly risky. The storage conditions in a wallet go against everything that will actually keep it safe and intact. Heat can weaken the material and there is a risk of damage including rips, cuts and tears through excessive handling of the wallet. To be on the safe side, never use a condom that has been kept in your wallet, pocket or bag for an extended period of time.
11 Using It Wrong
Yes, there are wrong ways to use a condom, and so many are completely oblivious to this fact. Using it wrong can greatly diminish the effectivess of the protection and leave you open to infections, or pregnancy which, lets be honest, you were trying to avoid. In general, a condom is 98% effective against pregnancy but using it incorrectly can bring this safety measure down to 82%. And in order to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections, you absolutely need to use protection correctly which is ordinarily 94% effective. Incorrect use can limit your protection against infections down to 80% according to WHO.
So many use them wrong leaving themselves unprotected. So, make sure to unroll the condom the right way and not inside out and check that it is fully rolled out. In fact, never unroll the condom before applying it as it is almost impossible to get on once unrolled. Ensure you have the right size and that it is not too tight. Avoid air bubbles inside the condom which may cause the condom to break.
10 Pop It On Late
It seems that some people need to be re-educated on the basic principles of condoms and why they are used. Sex Education 101 but here's a little reminder. Condoms are used to prevent the passing of fluids from one person to another. They are a barrier method that avoids direct contact of the sensitive regions. It often happens that a couple will start to get frisky and only after some initial foreplay, which may have included getting a little familiar with each others parts, decide to pop a condom on. There is often a complaint that condoms dull sensitivity and therefore pleasure so putting off wearing a condom often occurs but this is very risky.
Chances are that some fluids have been passed on already making it somewhat counter productive to using a condom at all. Some even go so far as to start sex before finally using a condom. Those moments, however brief, leave you unprotected and at risk of pregnancy and infections. Next time, remember to use a condom before sex start and never during. In this situation, it's not a case of better late than never!
9 Taking It Off Too Late
This one comes down to science and the mechanics of the human body and well basic common sense. After ejaculation occurs, an erection can disappear quite quickly meaning the condom will lose shape and easily leak ejaculate as the penis softens. It's common sense to remove the penis and the condom as soon as possible after finishing to avoid any leakage from one person to another.
Just because sex has finished doesn't mean you are safe. It seems like basic common sense but believe it or not many delay this and put themselves at risk. Now what is the point of that, especially when you took the time and effort to protect yourselves in the first place. When you're finished, remove the condom and dispose of it appropiately. It's a good idea to wash your hands afterwards in case either of you go back for seconds.
8 Double Bag? Please Don't
Twice as many is not twice as safe. For some reason, some people think that using two condoms will give them extra protection and as an added bonus make them last longer as the sensitivity is diminished. Oh no, this is not the case. In fact, using two rubbers at once reduces the effect of the protection as it makes the condom more likely to break and we all know what happens what that occurs.
One condom is absolutely enough to protect you from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. It is made in a very specific way that means its durable and effective so dont underestimate it at all. The myth of using two condoms at once is a myth and will only cost you money, time, effort and potential accidents in the long run.
7 Reusing it! Gross
This one is quite shocking but amazingly it has been done, by more person than one unfortunately. Reusing a condom is not only gross and impractable but also incredibly stupid. A condom is only good for one time use. Firstly, an unrolled condom which has subsquently lost its shape after use, will not go back on the same way or easy for that matter. Secondy, it is absolutely impossible to clean a condom. There is no product that will successfully wash away any fluids and if you did try it, you will more than likely weaken the latex making it liable to break.
It is not just the ejaculate inside the condom which needs to be cleaned out, but the fluid on the outside of the condom also. Protecting yourself from infections and pregnancy can only be done with a brand new condom, straight from the packet. Never assume that is safe to reuse one, no matter how desperate you are.
6 Thinking They're Only For The Main Event
Remember the basic principle of using protection - it acts as a barrier against fluids passing from one partner to another. And remember that fluids are passed in more ways than one, from one area to another. Many think a condom is only needed when intercourse starts but thats not the case. Bodily fluids are passed on through oral and anal sex as well as intercourse. Keep yourself safe and protected by using contraception at all stages during physical intimacy.
Chances are most people won't use a condom during oral sex but you must remember the risks of obtaining or passing on an infection even during oral sex without using protection. There really is no point in taking risks so if one or both of you have not been tested then pop a rubber on.
5 Not Checking For Damage
In the heat of the moment, you could feel anxious and excited to get that condom on quickly. Haphazardly, you may use your teeth or something else sharp. You may also forget to check if its in date, just quickly remembering the long lost condom in your wallet. And of course that wallet is not the best environment for storage. So did you check the condom wasn't damaged?
Probably not. In fact, the majority of people fail to check if a condom has been damaged before diving in head first. This is a very risky maneuver as you could be leaving yourself open to unwanted pregnancy or infections. It doesn't take long to check your condom is in proper order, so why take the risk? Condoms generally, when stored and used correctly, will have no damage, but that does not mean that you can simply pop it on and assume all is ok. Protect yourself by being confidant that what your wearing is not damaged.
4 Using The Wrong Size
Did you know that condoms come in different shapes and sizes as well as colours and flavours? Wearing the right size condom is paramount to protect you. Using one too small or too big can have detrimental effects so don't be lazy and just grab the first box you see out of embarrassment. There is no harm standing in the family planning aisle and sussing out which one is right for you.
Too small and it could easily split during the deed. Bear in mind that they rarely break so if this happens to you, it's likely you need a larger size. And on the other hand, too large and it could fall off or slip and slide during sex making it not only uncomfortable but also unsafe. Don't forget that you could need a different size depending on the brand.
3 Using An Out Of Date Condom
Oh no, have you lost track as to how long that condom has been sitting in your wallet? Did you know that they too have an expiration date? Its not just the risk of damage through heat and sharp objects that you need to keep a look out for in a wallet condom, but also how old it is. The problem is that latex becomes brittle and tired with age making it weak and compromised. Never use a condom that has been stored in a wallet and especially don't use a condom that is past its expiration date. The date is there for a reason, to keep you protected.
If you are in doubt as to whether a condom is in good condition or not, or if the date has worn away (which in itself is a clue to its age) then ensure to properly inspect the condom before using it.
2 Using Those Teeth
No, no, no. no! Believe it or not, a very common way for someone to open a condom wrapper is by using their teeth. Obviously it's a quick and easy way to tear open the packet but the clever guys who marketed these things gave us serrated edges to help with opening the packet, so really it should be no bother to you at all. No matter how much of a hurry you are in, there is always time to ensure you open it correctly.
Using your teeth can easily damage the condom considering latex is not teeth proof and is easily rippable with anything sharp, this includes teeth. And especially don't run around looking for scissors or a knife to chop that pouch open. It really is not worth the risk considering taking your time will only add seconds to getting that bad boy out.
1 Choosing The Wrong Lube
Its a good idea to use lube during sex as it can make the act more pleasurable and fun. Latex which is essentially rubber can be a tad grippy so using lube helps to keep things going. However you need to be extra vigilant as to what lube you are choosing. Many condoms have their own lubrication added but some do not and adding a little extra lube can help. But some forms of lube do not mix well with the latex. Some people take the easy route and choose petroleum jelly or vegetable oil which we all tend to have around the house but these will only damage the latex jeopardising the integrity of the condom.
Anything oil based or something which contains pretoleum jelly can weaken the latex making it much easier to break. Ensure you choose the correct lube, one that is safe to use with latex. Luckily there are plenty of lubes specifically created for the market which are suitable to use with condoms.
Sources: WHO, WebMD, MensHealth