by Mandisa Ndaba
1. Not checking for visible damage. Nearly 75% of people never bother looking for tears or holes — even if they use their teeth to open the packet (don’t!) or snag the con_dom on their jewelry or fingernails.
2. Not checking the expiration date. Yes, that little date printed on the wrapper is news to 61% of users. Con_doms last very long – up to 5 years for plain ones, though only 2 years or so for those with a spe_rmicide, which gradually breaks down the latex. If a con_dom is sticky or brittle, toss it.
3. Putting it on late in the action. About 43% of students in a se_x-behavior study donned the con_dom after pene_tration had already occurred. Presumably they didn’t know that some spe_rm can be released before the final fireworks, posing pregnancy and STD risks.
4. Not leaving room at the top. It’s apparently news to four out of 10 con_dom users that before putting it on, you need to gently squeeze the tip of the cond_om to remove any trapped air and leave space for the sp_erm. Otherwise, the co_ndom’s more likely to break.
5. Putting it on wrong. Don’t you hate when that happens? About 30% of people put it on inside out and don’t realize that an inside-out cond_om is more likely to slip off. The safest thing to do? Start with a new one. The right way: The con_dom should look a little like a ski cap with the bottom edges rolled up (not under). The cap should fit over the pe_nis so that the brim unrolls easily down the shaft.
6. Slipping off during se_x. To find a good fit, buy a variety of styles and sizes (there really aren’t that many choices) and try them at leisure. Remember, natural lambskin sounds nice and can prevent preg_nancy, but it doesn’t protect against the viruses that cause AIDS, hepatitis, and herpes. Only latex can do that.
7. Taking the cond_om off too soon. Not a good idea. For the 15% of men who report doing this, losing an ere_ction is a big reason. But ere_ctions can come and go during se_x; besides, eja_culation can occur without an ere_ction, bringing with it all the risks of pregn_ancy and STDs.