When used properly, condoms are 98 per cent effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies. They are also the only form of contraception that protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
However, condoms can break if they’re not used properly. If you want to make sure you use this type of contraception safely, take a look at this brief guide. It covers some of the main reasons why condoms fail.
If you’re not careful when you put condoms on, you increase the risk of them breaking. For the best results, it’s important to ensure there is no air bubble at the end. Also, if you find the condom won’t roll down because you’ve got it on the wrong way round, throw it away and get a new one. There may be semen on the tip.
Applying the wrong lube
Be careful in your choice of lubricant too. A bit of additional lube can make sex more pleasurable, but if you opt for a version containing oil, you could run into problems. These products can dissolve condoms. Steer clear of Vaseline, hand cream and baby oil and stick to water-based lubes instead.
Using out of date or substandard versions
Using condoms that are too old is also a mistake. These products don’t have an indefinite shelf life and if they are past their best, they are more likely to break. There is an expiry date on the packets. If you’re not sure whether your condoms are in date, check
Also, ensure the condoms you use have the relevant CE marking. When you see this symbol, you can be certain that the products have be thoroughly tested and are safe to use.
Wearing more than one at once
It might seem logical to think that using two condoms at once doubles your level of protection. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. By wearing more than one condom at once, you increase the risk that the items will split. This is because you will create more friction. Instead, it’s best to stick to one good quality condom.
What to do if an accident happens
If you find that your condom does split, your partner may have to use emergency contraception. Depending on the type of contraception used, this must be taken within either three or five days. However, the earlier it is taken, the better.
Also, if you think you’re at risk of STIs, make sure you book yourself in for a check-up at your GP surgery or a sexual health clinic.