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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Condom Question

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Author Topic: Condom Question
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I was reading the New Report on Sex by the Kinsey Institute which was written in the early 90s, and in it they said that oil-based lubricants and having a condom in a wallet can both create microscopic holes in the condom. I know both of these things make it more likely for the condom to break, but I've never heard this. Is this outdated information or is this actually true? I thought the whole microscopic hole thing was just a false idea spread by abstinence-only people.

Oh, and another thing, is it safe to use oil-based lubricants with sheepskin condoms or do the same rules apply?

[ 09-30-2012, 07:58 AM: Message edited by: Roxie102 ]

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Scarleteen Volunteer
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Do you have a quote from the Kinsey report? I can't speak to what was said there ten years ago, but here's what we know now: there are things that can make a condom more likely to break, such as leaving it in a hot car in the summer, or using it with lubricants that are not condom-safe. That doesn't mean, however, that the condom may be damaged in "invisible" ways and be less effective. Either it breaks, or it doesn't. It just may be more likely to break if you aren't careful. So, there no microscopic holes in condoms regardless what you do to them (unless you're poking at them with a needle, which is obviously inadvisable [Smile] ).

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Peer Ambassador
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here's one quote (it speaks of this two different times).

"Petroleum jelly . . . baby oil, or any other oil-based cream, lotion, or jelly, will erode a condom or diaphragm and should not be used as a lubricant. Within sixty seconds these products can make microscopic holes in condoms or diaphragms big enough for the AIDS virus and other STD organisms to pass through and soon afterward the holes are big enough for sperm to penetrate."

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Executive Director & Founder
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I'm off today, but to be clear, when latex erodes, erosion means -- as it does with anything -- it gradually wears away.

So, that means that areas of the material are going to get thinner and thinner, which will start out - or result in -- "holes." It's not exactly the best wording, but my sense is it's the way some folks find it easier to explain in short order to laymen.

[ 09-30-2012, 12:21 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Robin Lee
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We'll do a little more research into this. As Joey said, we know that oil-based lubricants and exposure to heat (including prolonged exposure to body heat such as in a wallet or pocket) can compromise effectiveness, but the way we know it does this differs from this quote.

In answer to your other question: Oil-based lubes are not known to negatively impact the effectiveness of sheepskin condoms. However, sheepskin condoms are not effective protection against STI transmission. Oil-based lubricant can be used with other non-latex condoms (such as polyurethane) with no negative impacts, and these other condoms do provide high levels of protection against STI transmission.


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