How To Avoid 6 Common Condom Problems

Image from Bedsider

Image from Bedsider

Condom trouble? First, don’t give up. Second, make sure you’re using the right condoms the right way.

Condoms are incredible little devices. They are one of the most effective forms of birth control and the only form of protection against many STIs. With correct and consistent use, condom are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, taking into account common misuses of condoms, researchers estimate that with “typical use” condoms are 85% effective.

In the article below, Bedsider and Melissa White team up to explain what exactly are those common condom mistakes that reduce condom effectiveness. Turns out, much of it has to do with condom size and people wearing the wrong condom.

There are many ways to reduce the risk of condom malfunction. The first step is to be aware of those common mistakes:

  • Condoms breaking? Check the expiry date. Store them properly. Did you leave room at the tip? Are they too small? Are you using lube?
  • Condom leaking? Are you pulling out and removing the condom promptly after ejaculation? Is the condom too big?
  • Condom slipped off inside you or your partner? It’s probably the wrong size condom.
  • Lost the erection? Sounds like you need a more tailored condom. Or you might need to add some sexy tips to your condom repertoire.
  • Itchy and irritated? You may be sensitive to latex.
  • And please, never use anything (like a plastic bag) to substitute a certified condom.

This article was originally published here.

BY BEDSIDER | Bedsider.org

We’ve all been there. Things are heating up and you both know exactly what you want to happen next. One of you whispers those five crucial words: “Do you have a condom?” and the other produces one (or, better still, several) triumphantly. You’re happily getting it on when you realize the condom tore or slipped off…

Condoms are easy, cheap, and offer protection against STIs and accidental pregnancy. Here’s the thing—they only work if you use them the right way. To help you do that, we’ve teamed up with Melissa White, CEO and founder of Lucky Bloke, to tell you how to avoid the six most common condom problems.

1. Help—the condom broke!

The good news is there are many ways to reduce the chance of a condom breaking. If you find yourself dealing with a broken condom situation, here’s what to do.

What now? If you realize right away (before anyone has gotten close to climaxing) that the condom broke, you can throw out the broken condom and try another one. Before you start again though you should make sure there isn’t something wrong with your condoms. Are the packages intact? Are your condoms expired? Were they exposed to extreme heat or cold? If not, you can use a new condom and just watch out for breakage.

If there’s a possibility of preejaculate or ejaculate, the safest thing to do is take emergency contraception (EC). You can take EC up to five days after you have unprotected sex but most kinds work better the sooner you take them. Here’s how to get some. You may also want to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you’re not sure of your partner’s status. (And remember, you definitely can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking!)

So it doesn’t happen again: Condoms can work very well when you use them right. If you’ve had a condom break, here are a few things to check to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Size. When someone repeatedly has experiences with condoms breaking, it may mean the condom is too small. This doesn’t always mean a guy requires a large condom, though. A different kind of standard (or medium) size may work.
  • Lube. Using lube can make using a condom a lot more pleasurable. Pro-tip—apply a small amount of lube to the penis before applying the condom. (If you are using the proper size condom, this should not cause the condom to slip.) Use a generous application of lube to the outside.
  • Packaging. It’s important to make sure you’re opening the condom package carefully. We know you may be tempted to rip it open or use your teeth to get things going asap, but opening the package the wrong way can tear the condom.
  • Putting it on. To make sure you put the condom on correctly, be sure to pinch the tip while rolling it on. It’s important to leave room room for the finale!

2. Uh oh…looks like the condom leaked.

If you notice semen anywhere outside the condom during sex or after, it’s time to take extra steps to make sure you don’t get pregnant.

What now? Again, taking EC as soon as possible is the best way to reduce your risk of accidental pregnancy. Getting tested for STIs is a good idea if you don’t know your partner’s status.

So it doesn’t happen again: If a condom is leaking from the base it’s probably too big. This happens more often than one might think, as 35% of men require a smaller than standard condoms. Smaller condoms are rarely available at your local store but you can get them through websites like Lucky Bloke, Condomania, and Condom Jungle. By simply switching to a condom that fits properly you will avoid this situation in the future. If you’re using a standard condom, try small. If you’re using a large condom, try standard.

If the condom is leaking from the top or the middle, it could have a tear—see the section above on broken condoms.

3. The condom fell off…and got stuck!

This one can be scary, especially if you have trouble finding and retrieving the condom. Don’t panic.

What now? If the condom falls off, once again it’s time to take EC and go for STI testing. If it gets stuck inside you or your partner, here’s Cosmo’s advice: “lie back, relax, and insert one or two fingers inside of you and try to pull it out”. Don’t panic if you have trouble getting the condom out—hopefully it will come out on its own after a bit. If it doesn’t, head to your health care provider to remove it.

So it doesn’t happen again: This is another situation where the condom is probably too big—try a smaller size.

4. The condom doesn’t feel good and he can’t get hard.

If a condom is too tight or uncomfortable, he can lose his erection. It’s not you, it’s the condom, so don’t feel embarrassed—you can still save the night!

What now? There’s always the classic midnight condom run to get a different kind of condom, but if that’s not an option, opt for a cuddle and a movie and next time you hang out, come prepared.

So it doesn’t happen again: Again, it’s all about the fit. Even if a condom is not too tight, sometimes the fit is just uncomfortable. A good way to avoid this is to try out different kinds of condoms. (We like the sound of that!) Lucky Bloke has a “Not Sure What Size to Buy” condom sampler if you think size could be the issue. They also offer lots of other samplers if you just want to explore your options. You can also get variety packs through a bunch of other online retailers like Amazon, Condom Jungle, Sustain, and Condomania.

5. I think we’re allergic to condoms…

If you’re getting down and dirty and one of you starts getting itchy and irritated, it may be an allergic reaction to the condom you’re using.

What now? Give it a rest for the time-being and ditch the condom you’re using—no one wants to feel irritated! Go see your health care provider to find out what’s going on down there.

So it doesn’t happen again: If you’re allergic to latex, there are some great alternatives out there that protect from STIs and pregnancy and offer amazing sensitivity, heightened feeling, and heat transfer. Note that lambskin condoms, while in the non-latex category, are not ideal for everyone since they protect against pregnancy but not against STIs like HIV. Other non-latex condoms provide dual protection from pregnancy and STIs.

6. But won’t this cling wrap do the same thing?

Everybody knows someone who knows someone who used a plastic bag that one time. This is not a good idea. It seems like a no-brainer, but if you are turned on and can’t find a condom anywhere, cling wrap starts to sound more appealing. If you find yourself facing a spontaneous decision about whether to use anything for a condom other than a real condom, here’s what to do.

What now: Stop right there. Any material other than an actual condom will not work to prevent pregnancy and protect you from STIs. Go on a spontaneous condom run—you’d be surprised where you can find condoms!

So it doesn’t happen again: Your best bet for preventing this problem in the future is to carry condoms with you. They’re easy to tuck away into pockets and purses and it’s sexy to be prepared. Just make sure you don’t keep them too long in a pocket or purse or expose them to extreme temperatures.

What we’ve learned…

Most of these mishaps could be avoided by using the proper size condom. If your partner needs a snugger-fit condom, you might feel uncomfortable about approaching the subject. “I’d always suggest focusing on the pleasure aspect—you both will benefit.” says Melissa. “If you are using a condom that fits, your focus will be on each other and not on the condom.”

If you are having condom woes, a better fit condom—or a higher-quality condom—is going to be the solution in most cases. And if you’re looking to explore your condom options, Lucky Bloke is offering a 25% discount for all their products with the coupon code BEDSIDER.

Unsure what size

bedsiderBEDSIDER is an online birth control support network for women operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy. Bedsider is totally independent (no pharmaceutical or government involvement). Honest and unbiased, Bedsider’s goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that’s it.
Find Bedsider on twitter @Bedsider

What Is It Like to be Tested? STI/STD Testing in 5 Simple Steps

Easy-button

With all the stigma and fear surrounding sexually transmitted infections (STIs), going out of your way to specifically get tested can seem like a burden. According to the CDC, less than half of Americans ranging from 18 to 44 years old have never EVER been tested for STIs. This is a serious obstacle that cannot be overlooked when talking about sexual health.

Jenelle Marie, founder of The STD Project, takes on this social fear of getting clinically tested by demonstrating just how easy (and shame free!) it really is. She walks us through her real-life experience of going to the clinic (with her boyfriend):

Here are key points to learn from her STI testing experience:

  • Health practitioners don’t test for all STIs. You need to ask for specific test to be done, particularly for those which do not always show symptoms, like HPV, Gonorrhea and Syphilis.
  • STD testing is available for free!
  • Test results are strictly confidential. In most states, once you are 13 years old, you can get tested without a guardian’s involvement. The clinic cannot share your identity and results with anyone.
  • Depending on the STI, you may be asked to give a blood sample and a urine sample.
  • No single procedure or test will detect all STIs.
  • Getting tested is simple, quick (depending if it’s walk-in or appointment) and the trained staff do not make moral judgement on your sexual behavior.

This article was originally published here.

BY JENELLE MARIE | theSTDProject.com

Are you wondering what it’s like to be tested for STIs/STDs?

 Step One: Decide whether to schedule an appointment or go on a ‘walk-in’ day (wait is usually much longer, so patience is a virtue should you choose the latter) – I made an appointment as I have little patience 🙂

Step Two: Fill out some paperwork (this is the government we’re talking about) – HIV testing is the only test they can do completely anonymously (if they do rapid-tests onsite) where they do not require a name (they give you a number) or a lot of other information – this health department did their HIV tests on-site (which means results in 15 minutes), but I was also testing for 3 other STDs, so the paperwork was still required.

For those clinics that do not have rapid-tests, HIV tests will only be confidential. Confidential testing means you must fill out your name and birthday and answer questions about your sexual experiences. This DOES NOT mean they will call your parents or your partners and tell them your test results – test results are strictly confidential. The health department asks that you tell all future partners but does not make you retro-actively tell people, because, presumably, you wouldn’t have known you were positive for an STD until now.

Also, it is very important you answer the questionnaire with complete honesty – depending on the type of sexual activities in which you engage, they may do STD testing for additional types of STDs or they may test different areas of your body for STDs – chlamydia and gonorrhea can both be in the throat or anus, for example.

Lastly, the women my boyfriend and I met made no assumptions or judgments about the types of activities we enjoy – they simply share the risks and make sure you’re safe in all directions (your mind is whirling now, I’m sure). 🙂

Step Three: When your name gets called, a nurse takes you back, asks some additional questions, sometimes does a little preventative counseling and starts the tests by giving you a finger prick.

The finger prick begins the rapid blood test for HIV which is complete 15 minutes later.

Next, a traditional blood sample is taken from your arm for Syphilis testing. The Syphilis is sent to a lab and results are available 7 business days later along with your Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test results.

Step Four: Pee on your hand while attempting to pee into an impossibly small cup for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing (you do this in a private bathroom, so no one has to watch you wonder whether to pull up your pants with pee on your fingers or waddle over to the sink for washing – pants still at your ankles).

Important to note: the longer you hold your pee, the better – anything over not having urinated in an hour should be good.

The nurse said chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria flush out and are harder to detect when having urinated recently; however, after a longer duration of time, they come back again.

Unfortunately, peeing profusely will not make your STD go away. Dang it!

Step Five: Meet the nurse back in the testing room, get your HIV results, and your FREE CONDOMS!!!! YEY!!!

Who doesn’t love free condoms?!?!

I say, you might as well go get STD tested just for the free condoms!!! (I’ll say anything – obviously – to convince you STD testing is totally harmless and will make you feel much much better!)

condom ad condoms too tight

1533882_446848112083407_2051712922_n THE STD PROJECT is a multi-award-winning independent website and progressive movement eradicating STD stigma by facilitating and encouraging awareness, education, and acceptance through story-telling and resource recommendations. Fearlessly led by Founder, Jenelle Marie, The STD Project is committed to modern-day sexual health and prevention by advocating for conscientious and informed decisions. Find them on twitter @theSTDProject