Don’t try this at home. No, I don’t mean using condoms as water balloons. And condoms aren’t great for making balloon animals.

This information comes from an analysis of data from Stephanie Sanders and her colleagues at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University.

Remember: Condoms are a thin, thin stretchy barrier that covers the penis preventing the exchange of bodily fluids.

When you’re using condoms to prevent pregnancy or to protect against getting a sexually transmitted infection, for your own safety and that of others.


1. Be like 17-50% of people who wait until they’ve already started having penetrative intercourse, then stop and put on a condom. This is because there can already be exchange of bodily fluids and pre-ejaculation. So, get the party started WITH a condom and leave it on.

2. Forget to hold the tip of the condom pinched tight as it gets rolled over the penis to leave room at the top to collect the semen. This can lead to the condom opening up, defeating the whole purpose of using it. So hold the tip tight and roll, roll, roll.

3. Use a sharp object to open the package. Really! I know you might be in a hurry, but using a safety pin, scissors or your teeth to tear open the package can puncture the thin stretchy delicate condom, leading to leaks and the exchange of bodily fluids.

4. Be Unruly about Unrolling. That means don’t unroll the condom completely off the body and then try to stretch it and put it on. This can lead to lots of tears and leaks. Also don’t partially unroll a condom on the penis, Make sure it gets to the base. I know, I know, you’re going to say that they don’t make condoms big enough for you, but now we have super-sized condoms for every man.

5. Put the condom on inside out, start unrolling and then realize it’s on wrong, take it off and then flip it. I know it can be dark and you might be in a bit of a hurry, but grab the tip and be careful about rolling the condom on correctly the first time. Taking your time can help with delaying gratification, ultimately leading to a more intense finish.

6. Take the condom off too early and then continue having intercourse. This happens more than you might guess, with people deciding it’s better without the condom. Unfortunately, not using the condom until the happy ending can lead to…you guessed it, pregnancy and/or a STI. So leave it on and consider using a water-based lubricant if things are getting uncomfortable.

7. Forget to hold the condom securely to the base of the penis when withdrawing. If you don’t hold it against the penis, it can get left behind inside the partner spilling all sorts of bodily fluids and we don’t want that.

How to find the best condom

More on condoms from the CDC

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