(Reprinted with her permission)
Over the counter contraceptives are not perfect. Let’s face it, condoms can break and tear during sex. When condoms break, semen can leak out, so the use of vaginal spermicides with condoms can help to increase your pregnancy protection should condom failure occur. (Typically, 2 - 5% of all condoms tear during use. This can generally be prevented by making sure that you use condoms the correct way. If you have any questions about your birth control method, please contact your doctor. You will lower your chances for birth control failure if you have a proper and thorough understanding of how to use your contraceptive.
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- Read the directions.
- Before use, inspect the condom for any obvious tears.
- Put lubrication inside the condom. (See Dawn's note below about proper lubricants to use anywhere near a condom.--Marysia)
- Make sure you are putting the condom on the right way by leaving room at the top and rolling it on in the proper direction.
- Lubricate the outside of the condom. Make sure to use only water-based products intended for use with condoms (such as KY jelly, Astroglide, etc). Any oil-based or petroleum-based products will compromise the integrity of the condom.
- After ejaculation, make sure to take the condom off properly by holding the rim firmly, withdrawing penis, and sliding the condom off (away from the vagina).
- Tie the condom in a knot - away from the vagina. Then throw it out in a garbage can.
- Don’t use condoms once their expiration date has passed.
- Make sure to store condoms properly (not in hot places).
- Watch out for fingernails and/or jewelry which can also cause tears in the condom.
A final note about condom failure, sometimes, no matter what you do, a condom will break. It is always possible that the condom could have been damaged sometime during or after production. Remember, no method is 100% effective!
For the rest of Dawn's reprints:
- Tips for Contraceptive Success (introduction to the series)
- What Leads to Contraceptive Failure?
- How To Prevent Condom Failure
- How To Respond to Men's Excuses for Not Wanting to Wear a Condom
- How To Prevent Diaphragm Failure
- How To Decrease Failure with the Fertility Awareness Method
- How To Prevent Oral Contraceptive Failure
- Medications and Inhibitors that Lower Hormonal Contraception Effectiveness
- How to Prevent IUD Failure
To learn more about contraception, please visit Dawn's work on About.com.
Or you can consult the Nonviolent Choice Directory's extensive Pregnancy Prevention resources. The Nonviolent Choice Directory also sells nonprescription family planning and safer sex items through our website.