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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » finally grasping it...

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worriedwoman
Neophyte
Member # 30641

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I think I'm getting my worries under control. (You'd have to read my previous posts to understand the fears I've been facing.)

I think I have been misinformed about condoms my entire life. Growing up in a strict Christian family, going to strict Christian prep schools and colleges, and also having a conservative doctor who scares the crap out of me about using condoms has definitely influenced me. Using hormonal contraception was never an option for me, health-wise, so condoms have been the only alternative (or withdrawal, which more than likely got me pregnant), and I guess I just saw them as the more "tainted" sole form of BC.

Can someone break down the facts about condoms with me? I read so much varying information now -- almost to an obsessive degree -- and some praise them excessively, while some make them sound WAY scary and risky.

Mainly I just have this question:

If you know that a condom was used for all genital contact, from start to finish, and that the condom didn't break or bust, all the semen was in the tip, and your partner pulled out almost immediately after ejaculation, there really is nothing to worry about, right?

But on the risk assessment it says that you have a very low risk of pregnancy, not a zero chance.

Can someone please tell me what that small risk could be from? I know that it means nothing NOW, in regards to my pregnancy (again, most likely from the withdrawal method), but I would really like to know just for educational purposes.

Thank you, Scarleteen! [Smile]

Posts: 14 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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No problem.

quote:
If you know that a condom was used for all genital contact, from start to finish, and that the condom didn't break or bust, all the semen was in the tip, and your partner pulled out almost immediately after ejaculation, there really is nothing to worry about, right?
Yep.

Now let me explain some things about birth control effectiveness statistics.

There are two types: typical use and perfect use. Typical use statistics include not using a method correctly AND not even using a method at all. In other words, the effectiveness stats for condoms (or any other method) in typical use are for everyone who reports that condoms are their method, and so that would include condom users who say they use them but never remember to put them on.

Perfect use means those who use the condom perfectly, every time, as directed. Perfect use rates for condoms are very high.

So, how can we get a failure even with perfect use?

Well, for starters, that rate doesn't presume all you've said above. It just presumes a conom was used correctly for all contact. In that scenario, there's a risk for manufacture problems where it does rip or break. There's a risk that it slips off, even when used perfectly. There's a risk that it's used again, etc.

Yes, if you were not using condoms consistently and using withdrawal it was most likely the withdrawal responsible (or rather, the person who didn't wear the condom and withdrew) for your pregnancy.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
worriedwoman
Neophyte
Member # 30641

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That actually makes a LOT of sense. I thought the 2-3% perfect use failure rate in condoms meant that even if you did things perfectly, that SOMEHOW, without you knowing, a pregnancy would occur anyway. Which was really scary to contemplate -- sounds like a horror movie. So, if you are saying that that 2-3% failure rate means that a condom will sometimes break, even when you take necessary precautions, but you will more than likely REALIZE it (since I was sober and looking intently), well...that clears a lot of things up.

I hope I interpreted you correctly. Thanks SO much, Heather. This website has been a lot more direct and helpful than ANY I have found. (And in my paranoia, I've gone through a ton of them.)

Posts: 14 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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