Female hands holding condom on pink background. Top view. The concept of sexual preservation

5 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Condoms

If you’re sexually active, chances are you’re probably using condoms as a form of contraception, or at least a form of protection against STIs. Realistically it only takes a few seconds to pull out a condom and put it on, so how hard can it be to get it right? The truth is, when you’re in the heat of the moment there’s probably a few important measures you’re skipping to make sure it’s being used properly.

If you want to avoid leakage or breakage when using a condom, don’t make these 5 mistakes:

1. Not checking for damage or expiration dates
It may come as a surprise to you, but condoms don’t last forever despite how long they remain in the package. They do become less effective overtime and eventually expire, which can potentially leave you and your partner in a pickle if used past the expiration date.
The expiration date should be printed on the wrapper of the condom and can easily be checked before use. You can also be proactive about this by checking the expiration date on the box at the store before you buy it.
While checking the expiration date, you can also easily check for any damage to the condom by inspecting the wrapper for any holes or tears. If you visibly can’t see anything wrong with the wrapper but open the condom and find it to be dry or have an unpleasant odor, throw it away and use a new one to be safe. Expired or damaged condoms can dry out, lose flexibility and become brittle which can cause it to break during sex.
The average lifespan of a condom is between three and five years from the manufacture date. Lifespans of condoms differ depending on the material that they’re made of and how they’re stored. Generally latex or polyurethane condoms last up to five years, polyisoprene condoms last up to three years, and lambskin or sheepskin condoms last up to one year.
2. Using condoms that are too small or too large
Condoms that are too large can slip off, and condoms that are too small can break. Both can increase the risk of pregnancy or exposure to STIs, so it’s worth putting in the effort to find the perfect fit.
Ideally a condom should be snug (but not tight), cover the entire length of the penis when erect, and leave at least half an inch of space at the tip. Different brands may size their condoms differently, so having exact measurements may come in handy if you’re testing out different types of condoms to find your favorite.

It’s perfectly normal if your man doesn’t fit in the largest condoms you can find at the store (nor does it make him less of a man). For condoms to work effectively, it’s important to find the perfect fit. Finding the right condom size is like finding the perfect pair of jeans… They fit snug (not too snug, but just the right amount), hug you in all the right places and extenuate your curves.

3. Putting the condom on too late
Not everyone was taught about pre-cum in high school health class (or paid enough attention), so it’s important we talk about it now. One of the most common mistakes that sexual partners make is waiting too long to put a condom on. In order to fully protect against pregnancy or STIs, condoms should be put on before sex starts.
If condoms are the only form of contraception that you’re using, pregnancy prevention can’t be guaranteed if the condom isn’t put on before penetration starts. Studies have shown sperm is often present in pre-cum, which means if you and your partner wait until midway through sex to put a condom on, you may be putting yourself at risk for pregnancy.

STIs can be spread through any type of sex including oral, anal, or penetrative. Either way, you are risking transmission of certain STIs when you don’t use a condom. Condoms aren’t an absolute guarantee of STI prevention, but they can certainly help, so it’s best to always use them whether you’re in a committed relationship, a “situationship” or just casually hooking up.

4. Incorrectly storing condoms
Storing condoms incorrectly can greatly decrease their efficacy and lead to possible breakage during sex. It’s best to store condoms in a dry, cool, dark place such as a drawer next to your bed or even simply in the box that you bought them in. To prevent condoms from failing when it comes time to use them, avoid exposing them to excessive heat, light, moisture or friction.

This means whether you’re male or female, you shouldn’t carry condoms in your wallet because this can leave them susceptible to excessive heat or friction which can weaken the material or even tear it. There’s no shame in going out prepared, but if you do, make sure to store the condom properly and don’t forget to rotate it out with a new one every once in a while.

5. Using the wrong lube
Lube makes everything more fun during sex, but only when it’s safe to use with your preferred choice of condoms (and sex toys).  Water-based or silicone lubes are generally safe to use with any type of condom. Oil-based lubes, vaseline or lotions can break down or they cdamage condoms which can cause them to break.

Some people who are more sensitive to lubes on the market will use more “natural” lubricants like coconut oil or olive oil. If you do choose to go the more natural route, remember to do your research and verify how it will interact with condoms so you can find something that is safe, but still enjoyable for both you and your partner during intercourse. If you’re searching for the perfect lube that’s long-lasting, sensitive and latex safe, consider trying VeeSlide!

Final Thoughts

Assuring you’re using a condom correctly is likely the last thing on your mind during sexy time. However, it’s important to keep in mind if you want to avoid any damage being done to the condom that could potentially lead to an unwanted pregnancy or STI.

If you’re using condoms as your main form of contraception, it’s worth taking the few extra seconds to make sure it’s in good condition and being used correctly for the sake of both you and your partner’s safety. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your partner about safe condom use to make sure you’re both on the same page. As they say, if you’re going to party, don’t forget the balloons!