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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Effectiveness of condoms

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Author Topic: Effectiveness of condoms
Member # 37328

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I'm sorry if this has been answered elsewhere!

I have always wondering about what the effectiveness of condoms actually means and whether it takes into account things like the condom splitting.

For example if a condom is 98% effective with perfect use (ie. putting it on properly, taking it off properly etc) does that mean that

a) 2% will split/slip off and therefore fail?

In which case it probably hasn't been put on properly in the first place or used with lubricant therefore isn't "perfect use"?

Or b) that 2% will just not work because, perhaps, the sperm somehow gets through the condom?

I can't see how this could happen because the condom is a physical barrier through which sperm cannot pass?

So the only option I can see is that the 2% is just faulty condoms which have holes in?

Hopefully this makes sense, as I'm really interested to know, thanks!


P.S. Just additionally I've thought while we're on the subject, combined birth control pills are 99.7% effective with perfect use (ie. taking them at the same time every day, never missing a pill etc). How can 3 in 1000 women possibly get pregnant if they are truly using the pill perfectly? If it stops ovulation then you surely simply cannot get pregnant?

[ 01-31-2009, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: libertinedreamer ]

Posts: 24 | From: UK | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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That 2% is mostly about manufacturing flaws and indeed, breakage or slippage. In other words, NOT about improper use OR about latex just not working like latex does in terms of being an effective barrier per sperm and bacteria.

Per the pill, what that means is that even WITH perfect use, some women may still ovulate or have another way the pill works just not work for them. In my work-life, the women I tend to run into in these instances have often tended to have more than one method used perfectly not work for them, and it simply appears that they are just incredibly, incredibly fertile.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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