Condoms are a great and convenient (and certainly popular) way of preventing pregnancy. However, to further prevent little oopsies, such as condom breakage or using an old condom, here are tips on how to properly care for and use condoms to make them as effective as possible when you use them.
The FDA claims that condoms are expected to break about 2% of the time, yet up to 15% of women can get pregnant over a year’s time of condom use. Why? According to Lillian Yin, director of the division in the FDA regulating condoms and other birth control options, there is a claim that in a national survey on heterosexual adults with multiple partners done by the FDA, only 17% were found to be using condoms every time they had sex. Yikes!
The number one reason for people refusing condom use is trust in their partners, according to a survey done by the National Institutes of Health. But the NIH warns that even a trusted partner can unknowingly have an STD, so condoms should be a must. Here is how to properly care for and wear a condom, according to the FDA:
Don’t store a condom in your wallet, glove box, or even your purse. You want to keep condoms in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight to keep them at their best ability to prevent breakage, brittling, and lack of moisture on the condom itself. This means keep it out of your pocket as well.
Obviously, don’t ever re-use a condom, and be careful upon opening the condom to make sure that you don’t tear it with your teeth, nails, or via ripping the condom when you tear open the packaging. Upon opening the condom is a great time to inspect the condom for flaws, such as being brittle, being sticky, or having discoloration. Also, use a condom within 5 years of the manufacturer’s date and never beyond the expiration date if there is one.
The best way to apply the condom is on an erect penis prior to intercourse (duh), via placing the condom on the head of the penis and gently rolling the condom down over the shaft of the penis. Of course, leave room at the head of the condom for semen, and any excess air should be pushed out via pressing air down the shaft and out at the base of the penis where the condom ends. This way, the condom should fit properly and not cause discomfort for either partner and/or slip off.
After ejaculation, hold onto the base of the condom and gently pull out, then remove the condom after the penis is entirely out of the vagina to prevent getting ejaculate inside the vagina as much as possible.
Also, the FDA suggests lubrication if it is needed beyond the condom, but to stay away from oil-based gels, like baby oil, massage oil, petroleum jelly, cooking oil (do people really do this?!) or body lotion, as this weakens the latex in the condoms. Wouldn’t body lotion burn inside a female? Just wondering…
Basically, a condom is needed, every time you have sex, and a decent condom at that. In knowing how to better care for your condoms and how to apply them properly, you better protect you and your partner from unwanted pregnancy or STDs, so long as you use condoms correctly.