As modern-day Nostradamus Lil’ Wayne once waxed: “Safe sex is great sex / Better wear a latex / ‘Cause you don’t want that late text / That ‘I think I’m late’ text. Heh-heh: So wrap it up.” Sounds simple enough. Except that according to a recent study published by Indiana University, it’s anything but. After analyzing 16 years worth of data in 50 separate studies on condom usage, researchers compiled this list of common mistakes made by well-intentioned fornicators. So grab your notebook and a functional writing utensil, muster your utmost attention, and learn yourself how to properly prevent nasty things like venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies.
Here are a few of the most common prophylactic snafus, as well as suggestions for preventing them:
- Late application: While the old adage “better late than never” certainly holds true with condom usage, we advise wrapping up for the duration. That “pre-ejaculatory fluid” stuff you giggled at in middle-school sex-ed class: turns out, not a myth, according to a 2011 study (which was the first study to actually show that pre-ejaculatory fluid could be fertile). Regardless, you don’t want an STD, right?
- Early removal: Between 13.6 percent and 44.7 percent reported taking it off early…which is as good as not wearing one at all. The fact that you can’t keep it up probably has less to do with the condom and more to do with your lack of sobriety, in which case you might want to consider post-boning until the morning.
- Failure to remove air: Pop quiz: is a balloon more likely to explode when it’s A) inflated, or B) deflated? The same theory applies to condoms, so be sure to decompress any excess air stuck in the reservoir before doing your dizzle.
- Exposure to a sharp object: Condom wrappers tear easily for a reason. Namely, so that you use your fingers to open them instead of, say, your teeth. Or a Swiss Army knife. Save the Bear Grylls impersonation for your next camping trip.
- Reusing a condom: I wouldn’t think this merits an explanation, but apparently 1-3% of you actually regard it as an acceptable practice. It’s not. If there’s even a remote chance of getting lucky when you leave the house, you should probably arm yourself with multiple condoms. Breakages happen — as do second and third instances of getting lucky. Plan accordingly.
- Incorrect storage: Most men stow condoms in their wallets. The reasons are twofold: one, we don’t carry purses, and two, we don’t want women to see the telltale outline of a condom wrapper in our pocket. It’s a bad look. However, storage in a space as confining as a wallet degrades latex — and accordingly, the efficacy of a condom. My proposed solution: make sure you remove unused condoms from your wallet upon returning home from the bar (or house-party, or church potluck) and dispose of them if they’re still left wanting after a handful of outings.
For more on faulty condom usage, check out this instructional video, starring Steve Carell: 40 Year Old Virgin – Safe Sex.