this has probably been asked before, but i've been unable to find it, so i'll go ahead and ask :-)
i found elsewhere on the site that condoms have a failure rate of 10-15%. this doesn't seem very reliable to me, however, lots of people seem to be all for using them. so, my main questions are: does this include condoms used incorrectly, or only used correctly? and what exactly does condom failure entail-- i realize the obvious (breaking), but does it also include slipping off the penis while inside? anything else?
and, finally, (i'm almost done, really!) is there any way to increase a condom's effectiveness?
Most condom failures are due to misuse of condoms- this includes not using enough lube, using the wrong type of lube (oil based lubes like vaseline are a BIG no-no) using expired condoms, using condoms that have not been stored in conditions with a stable temperature and indeed, cases in which the condom slips off the penis before the conclusion of coitus. All of these sorts of failure are included in the 10-15% statistic.
In terms of increasing a condom's effectiveness, the answer is LUBE, LUBE, LUBE!!! Many of the staff and volunteers here really like Astroglide, but there's also KY Jelly and a number of others. Also, remembering to use your condoms for fellatio (and dental dams for cunnilingus) is important- no good protecting yourself from STDs during coitus if you're putting yourself or your partner at risk through oral sex!
If you're talking in terms of reducing pregnancy risk, then the best thing to do is to use a back up method of birth control, such as the pill, or if that is not an option, to avoid coitus around the time of ovulation- but only do this in conjunction with using condoms!
[This message has been edited by Beppie (edited 06-23-2002).]
Lubrication is really important. Condoms have a high rate of success, but that rate drops when they aren't used properly, and one of the easiest ways to break a condom is by letting it get dry. Buy some lubricant when you buy condoms. Not only will it help them work better, well-lubricated sex is more enjoyable sex for both you and your partner. Do NOT use butter, oil, Vaseline or ANY lubricant other than lubricants intended for use with condoms. If you could buy it in an aisle in the store where food also is, it probably isn't the right kind of lube.
Be SURE the lube you use is WATER-BASED. Other lubricants can destroy condoms.
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