Condoms are one of the most common, inexpensive and accessible ways to prevent not only HIV
but also many other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs).
That’s why AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has been promoting them for nearly 25 years.
The organization has numerous campaigns that all promote the same clear message —
10 Totally Wrong Ways to Use a Condom
- 10. Get The Wrong Size.
This rule goes double for glove compartments (and anyplace else that s subject to extreme temperatures). Just like candles, red wine and oral contraceptives, condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place.
First step: Check the date on the package. If it s in the past, pitch it. Second step: Look at the condom itself. If it s dried out, sticky or brittle, it s too old to use. Throw it away.
Scissors, knives, long fingernails and basically anything else that s sharper than fingertips are also on the Do Not Use list.
A run-of-the-mill condom wrapper has serrated edges to make it easier to open, and the foil or plastic material tears easily once it s started. It s a two-handed – but zero-toothed – operation.
- Inside out: It will unroll only with extreme (and possibly damaging) difficulty, and stuff that should stay on the inside will be on the outside.
- Too tight: The end of the condom needs some space for semen to go. Up to 45% of people mess this up.
- Too airy: Friction against air bubbles makes condoms more likely to break. About 40% of people don t squeeze out the air.
- Partial unroll: A condom that isn t unrolled all the way can come off during sex – and it can t do a great job of preventing contact between people s parts while it s on.
The best thing to do any time something goes wrong while putting on a condom is to throw that condom away and get a new one. It s a pretty good reason to keep extra condoms around (as long as they re not in a wallet, in a glove box or right next to the heating vent).
Lots of rubbers are pre-lubricated but many people want it slipperier. But most of the slick substances likely to be around the house – like petroleum jelly or vegetable oil – don t mix well with condoms.
There are almost as many lubes to choose from as there are condoms, but water-soluble lubricants are the only ones that team up well with latex. Lubricants made with oil or petroleum products will weaken latex condoms, making them likelier to break.
Sadly, procrastination rarely works out well for anybody. The longer the rubber stays off, the more time people s bodily fluids have to accidentally tangle up with each other. Studies vary, but somewhere between 17 and 50 percent of people wait even later than the last possible minute, putting a condom on after starting sex [source: Sanders et al.]. That unprotected contact increases the risk of pregnancy and STI transmission. The right time to put a condom on is before sex, not during.
Immediately after ejaculation, remove the penis, holding the rim of the condom to keep it secure. Then, carefully remove the condom to avoid spilling its contents. Wrap it in tissue or toilet paper, and throw it away.
Apart from the yuck factor of reapplying a used condom, condoms just aren t safe to reuse. There s not enough scrubbing to make a condom OK to use again. Any treatment that would kill every sperm and every potential pathogen would also make the condom weaker.
Condom reuse is a bad idea. Use each one – correctly – once and only once, and then wrap it up and throw it away.