Putting on a condom may seem second nature to you by now, but are you actually doing it the right way? Sadly, the latest research suggests that there are many condom mistakes you might be making. Be careful, these mistakes could lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
Researchers from Indiana University analyzed 50 studies on condom usage, and after crunching the numbers on 16 years of data, they found a laundry list of errors. Could you be making one of them? Check out the top 15 things that couples are doing wrong when gearing up for getting down.
Across the numerous studies, between 17 per cent and 51.1 per cent of people reported putting a condom on after intercourse has already begun. (Which doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to STD prevention.)
Between 13.6 per cent and 44.7 per cent of the respondents reported removing the condom before intercourse was complete. (Find a rubber that you won’t want to rip off with our guide on how to choose the correct condoms.)
Completely unrolling the condom prior to application
Between 2.1 per cent and 25.3 per cent of people admitted to completely unrolling the condom before sliding it on. How does that even work?
No space at the tip
Failing to leave space for semen at the tip of the condom was reported by 24.3 to 45.7 per cent of the respondents.
Failure to remove air
When looking back to their last sexual encounter, 48.1 per cent of women and 41.6 per cent of men reported that they didn’t squeeze the air from the tip before use.
Between 4 per cent and 30.4 per cent of participants reported they began rolling the condom on inside out, but then flipped it over and continued its use. And that’s bad, since it can expose her to your pre-ejaculatory fluids, which can get her pregnant.
Failure to completely unroll the condom before use
When looking back to their last sexual encounter, 11.2 per cent of women and 8.8 per cent of men had begun intercourse before the condom was unrolled all the way.
Exposure to sharp object
Between 2.1 per cent and 11.2 per cent of people had opened condom packets with sharp objects. The problem: If it’s sharp enough to rip the wrapper, it’s sharp enough to rip the condom. Duh.
Failure to check for damage
When removing the condom from the package, 82.7 per cent of women and 74.5 per cent of men reported that they fail to check for damage before use. What to look for: Make sure the wrapper isn’t worn down or ripped open, keep your eyes peeled for expired dates, and check for visible imperfections while unrolling.
Between 16 per cent and 25.8 per cent of people reported using condoms without lubrication. The trouble? If you’re having sex for an extended period of time, the condom is more likely to tear without lubrication. (Just make sure you use the right kind: Oil-based lubes cause latex condoms to deteriorate. Our pick for safer, more pleasurable condom sex: Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant.)
Roughly 3.2 per cent of women and 4.7 per cent of men reported using an oil-based lube with a latex condom. That weakens the latex, which can make it prone to breakage. (Check out our lube guide to find The Best Lube for Condoms.)
Nearly 31 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women reported that (post-sex) they failed to promptly and properly withdraw after ejaculation. No matter what the Cranberries sang, guys, this ain’t a time to let it linger.
Reusing a condom
Between 1.4 per cent and 3.3 per cent of people reported reusing a condom at least twice during a sexual encounter. Gross.
Between 3.3 per cent and 19.1 per cent of people in the studies had stored their condoms in conditions that did not comply with the recommendations on the package. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or your wallet—both can degrade the latex.
Not wearing one at all
This wasn’t actually part of the study, but we should add that #15 is this: Not using one at all. According to the (most recent) National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, only 45 per cent of men ages 18 to 24 used a condom with their last sexual partner. And as the age groups increased, the stats only got worse: Only 29.3 per cent of men ages 25 to 34 used condoms and 21.3 per cent of men between ages 35 and 44.