Condoms seem pretty easy to put on — and keep on — during sex, but a new series of reports show that looks can be deceiving. Improper condom use is a serious public health issue in developing countries and here in the United States.
The Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team (CURT) found that condoms breaking and slipping off were common, but that user error was to blame in most cases. According to MSNBC, not leaving the condom on during the entire sex act, not looking to see if the condom is punctured, expired or damaged prior to use, and not leaving enough room at the tip were common mistakes as well. Some other mistakes included:
—Not squeezing air from the tip
—Putting the condom on inside out
—Withdrawing one's penis too soon
—Putting the condom on too late
—Failure to roll the condom down all the way
—Using the wrong type of lubrication or no lubrication at all
—Reusing old condoms
While the World Health Organization (WHO) states that condoms have a 2 percent failure rate when used perfectly and consistently, WebMD states that the typical failure rate is much higher than that, at 15 percent.
We all know that not using condoms properly has serious consequences, consequences that African-Americans just cannot afford, including unwanted pregnancies, STD and HIV transmission. All three are disproportionately higher among Blacks compared to whites and other ethnicities.
So the question remains, do you know how to put a condom on the right way?
—Use only latex or polyurethane (plastic) condoms.
—Keep condoms in a cool, dry place.
—Put the condom on an erect (hard) penis before there is any contact with a partner's genitals.
—Use plenty of lubricant with latex condoms if you find vaginal sex is uncomfortable, or if condoms tend to rip or tear. Don’t use oil-based products with latex condoms. Water-based lubes are condom-friendly, but they might increase the risks of STIs with anal sex. Consider using silicone-based lubricants for anal intercourse.
—Hold the condom in place at the base of the penis before withdrawing (pulling out) after sex.
—Throw the condom away after it's been used.
—DON'T use your fingernails or teeth when opening a condom wrapper. It's very easy to tear the condom inside. If you do tear a condom while opening the wrapper, throw that condom away and get a new one.
—DON'T leave condoms in hot places like your wallet or in your car.
—DON'T use oil-based products, like baby or cooking oils, hand lotion or petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) as lubricants with latex condoms. The oil quickly weakens latex and can cause condoms to break.
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(Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)