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You think you are doing the right thing by having protected "safer sex" with a condom, and then the next thing you know, the condom breaks. Many women are then fearful of pregnancy, and this has led me to wonder: how often do condoms break, what causes this, and how can we prevent condoms from tearing?
The good news: only 2-5 percent of condoms "break" or tear during use. The majority of these failures are caused by human error, which can include: not using enough lubrication, or creating small tears from rings or fingernails. The majority of failures caused by being used improperly is good news because: this is preventable with a few easy steps!
Basically, condoms can fail to prevent pregnancy when they are:
* Not used correctly
* Not used consistently
* Torn during sex
* Manufacturing failure
We hear often: "condoms, when used correctly and consistently, are up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy." What exactly does that mean, and what would "incorrect" or "inconsistent" condom use look like?
Incorrect use of a condom includes: "unrolling a condom backwards, not unrolling the condom to the base of the penis, not leaving a half-inch of empty space at the tip of the condom, and not holding the rim of the condom down along the base of the penis when removing the penis after ejaculation."
Inconsistent condom use means: "not using a condom every time you have sex, or not putting the condom on soon enough -- such as right before ejaculation instead of at the beginning of intercourse -- before the penis comes in contact with your partner's genitals. To be extra safe, a man could put on a condom at the very beginning of sexual play, rather than wait until you're ready for penetration."
It is important to remember that it takes some practice to use condoms correctly and consistently, no matter how experienced you are in the bedroom!