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Quiz: The Naked Truth About Condoms

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What’s the most common condom mistake?

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What’s the most common condom mistake?

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We get it: You may be a little distracted when you’re handling condoms. Take a few seconds to make sure everything is in place, though. 

 

Most often, people start to put the condom on inside out and then turn it over. That’s according to Condomology, an American Sexual Health Association project funded by Trojan condoms.

 

The second and third most common mistakes? Putting it on too late and taking it off too soon.

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When it comes to condoms, size does matter.

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When it comes to condoms, size does matter.

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Regular-size condoms will be fine for most men.

 

It’s important, though, to find a condom that fits well and that’s not too short, too tight, or too big. 

 

A condom can only protect what’s covered. One that’s too short could allow diseases to be passed on. A condom that’s too big could slip in the heat of the moment.

 

What’s right for you? If you or your partner measures more than 7 inches long or is more than 4½ to 5 inches around, you may need a larger size.

Condoms were invented by the Earl of Condom, King Charles II’s doctor.

Condoms were invented by the Earl of Condom, King Charles II’s doctor.

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When and how condoms came about is a bit of a mystery. One story says a Dr. Condom supplied sheaths to King Charles II to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But most experts don’t believe it.

 

Some people have said that ancient Egyptians wore condoms in different colors.

 

But the earliest description of the condom appears in 1564. An Italian anatomist claimed he invented a linen sheath, then had 1,100 men try it to guard against syphilis. He said none of them got the disease.

In a pinch, is baby oil a good lube? 

In a pinch, is baby oil a good lube? 

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You’re smart to use a latex condom, but oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly and baby oil damage latex.

 

Be sure to use only water-based or silicone-based lubricants like K-Y jelly, Astroglide, or even water or saliva.

 

If you're concerned about getting it right, buy a condom that’s already lubricated.

The FDA tests condoms for holes.  

The FDA tests condoms for holes.  

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Condom makers and the FDA want to be sure that the latex condoms you buy are going to work.

 

FDA inspectors check a sample of condoms by filling them with water to see if they leak. An average of 996 out of 1,000 condoms must pass the test. Manufacturers do similar testing.

 

Word to the wise: Never try that kind of test on condoms you plan to use. It weakens them.

All condoms give you the same amount of protection.  

All condoms give you the same amount of protection.  

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The three main kinds of condoms -- latex, polyurethane, and animal skin (lambskin) -- all help prevent pregnancy. But protection from disease is another story.

 

Organic or animal-skin condoms are often made from the intestinal lining of sheep. These won’t prevent sexually transmitted infections. Viruses can get through tiny holes in them, even though sperm can’t.

 

Latex condoms are the most popular and usually the most inexpensive. Polyurethane condoms are good for people with latex allergies. They are thinner but tend to feel looser.

Condoms are the most popular form of birth control in the U.S.

Condoms are the most popular form of birth control in the U.S.

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Condoms have a lot going for them: They're easy to use and find, and you don’t need a prescription for them.  Plus, the condom is the only form of birth control that lowers the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

 

But they’re the second most popular contraception behind the birth control pill for U.S. women ages 15-34.

 

The typical American woman uses condoms when she first starts having sex. Then she switches to the pill until she wants her first child. Later on, many women have their tubes tied (with a surgery called tubal ligation) when they're ready to stop having kids.

 

But more and more people are choosing condoms for birth control. Before 1985, only 34% of women who had pre-marital sex used a male condom on their partner when they first did it. As of 2008, 72% said they did.

Using two condoms together gives you twice the protection. 

Using two condoms together gives you twice the protection. 

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Doubling up won’t double your protection -- or your pleasure. Double-bagging with two male condoms can cause friction between them and increase the chance that they’ll break. Using male and female condoms together could make them stick together and slip out of place.

 

If you’ve never used a female condom, they can be put into place up to 8 hours before sex. It’s a plastic pouch that works by creating a barrier between the cervix and semen.

If used right, condoms are this effective: 

If used right, condoms are this effective: 

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They have a great track record when used correctly. But, factoring in human error, they’re typically about 85% effective.

 

Tips: Put on a new condom before any sexual contact. If it doesn’t have a reservoir tip, gently pinch the tip of the condom as you roll it on. That way you can leave a little space between the tip of the penis and the end of the condom. This will catch the semen. Don’t pull it all the way snug on the tip.  

 

Also, be careful during withdrawal and when you take the condom off. You don’t want the condom to slip off and semen spill out.

The best place to keep a condom is:

The best place to keep a condom is:

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If your partner pulls one out of his wallet or glove compartment, make a quick trip to the closest pharmacy or grocery store to buy new ones.

 

Condoms are more likely to break down when they’ve been exposed to air, heat, and light for a long time. A cool, dry storage place where they won’t get folded is ideal.

 

Check the expiration date on the wrapper before you suit up. Most condoms are good for 3 to 5 years. If a condom is dry, sticky, or stiff when you take it out of the package, grab a new one.

 

If you want to carry a condom with you, it’ll be OK in a front pocket or bag for a few hours.

How should you open a condom wrapper?

How should you open a condom wrapper?

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In the heat of the moment, resist ripping into the wrapper with your pearly whites, sharp scissors, or fingernails. You could tear the condom. Be sure to unwrap it carefully.

 

Tear one? Throw it away and try a new one.

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Looks like you learned some good stuff about condoms. Stay safe out there!

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