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Why Condoms Break and Slip Off

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Reproductive System related image Photo: Getty Images

When people refer to “old reliable” it usually means someone or something that they can depend on. Based on studies and information available, one could dub condoms or rubbers with that nickname. It is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to fight STDs and/or HIV. The success rate for birth control for condoms is 85 percent.

That’s not to say that condoms are failsafe. We’ve all heard of them slipping off, falling into the vagina or actually breaking. Research indicates that rubbers slip off 1-5 percent of the time during vaginal intercourse. It is found that they slip off because the condom may be too large or the loss of erection. Two condoms out of 100 will break due to the condoms itself. More specifically, breakage happens when the rubber may be too old, have been stored improperly, lubrication is not used, the wrong kind of lubricant is used (lubricants containing oil such as Vaseline or baby oil weaken the rubber); when the rubber is too small or too tight, or your partner may be too tight (use extra-strength condom or more lubricant). Since it seems that some are having problems, what is the proper way to put on one on? Avert.org gives the following directions:

“Condoms must be used consistently and correctly to provide maximum protection. Consistent use of condoms means using a condom from start to finish with each act of intercourse. Correct condom use should include:

"Use a new condom for each act of intercourse

"Put on the condom as soon as erection occurs and before any sexual contact

"Hold the tip of the condom and unroll it onto the erect penis, leaving space at the tip of the condom, yet ensuring that no air is trapped in the condom’s tip

"Adequate lubrication is important, but use only water-based lubricants on latex condoms.

"Withdraw from the partner immediately after ejaculation, holding the condom firmly to keep it from slipping off.”

There once was a time when actual laws were enacted to prevent the sale and delivery of this product. At present, however, you can purchase condoms openly and without condemnation from others. In fact, you’ll probably get a look of approval for being responsible. Even if you want different sizes or desire rubbers of a certain type of material, of various colors or even flavors -- it’s not a problem. So even though there are many other birth control methods, it would seem that “old reliable” ain’t going anywhere soon.


Condoms: Effectiveness, History and Availability

Sexual Health, Birth Control, and Condoms

Reviewed August 16, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer and avid blogger. Check out what she has to say at: http://redtoenails.wordpress.com/

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EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the article. Much of condom related problems relate to improper usage. We, at Sensis Condoms with QuikStrips, developed our application strips (like applying a band aid) in order to minimize application errors. Application errors, such as the flip, not leaving enough reservoir space or nicking/tearing can compromise the condom.

The Flip is common where the guy starts unrolling the condom on the wrong side. Since he can only apply partially, he either throws away or he flips and unrolls completely. The problem is that what has touched his skin is now on the outside and increases the risk he might infect his parter if he has an STI.

Check us out: sensiscondoms.com

August 17, 2011 - 12:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

I just want to tell the people that you are not alone even when you have an STD! There are so many people who have the same situation as you.

Also, there are many online communities for you to find support and dating! I recommend you to read the STD inspirational stories on the largest STD support and dating site STDslove. com. Hope that you find the stories helpful and informative.

August 16, 2011 - 8:36pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.