More needs to be done to master condom use – talking about it can help

Condoms have been around for literally hundreds of years – and some version of them even longer. Even after all this time, as a group, humans still seem to struggle with knowing how to use condoms properly (and therefore, effectively) to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Recently the largest ever collection of condom use studies from around the world were analyzed and the results published in the most recent edition of the journal Sexual Health, identifying all kinds of condom use problems in real-life situations.

In the United States, problems include not wearing the condom all the way through sex, or putting them on inside out. Interestingly, one of the researchers pointed out the need for better communication between partners to move toward effective use of condoms. Richard Crosby – a University of Kentucky professor and central to the study said:

“We chronically underestimate how complicated condom use can be,” he said. “It involves the use of a condom, while negotiating the condom use and sex with a partner all at the same time. There is a complex triad of the sex act, condom use and partner dynamics that must constantly be navigated by condom users.”

beforeplay.org couldn’t agree more – we all need to talk more about these issues – with our partners, friends, family and health care providers. The more we all talk these issues, the more comfortable we’ll all be about taking the best steps to protect health. Conversation starters can help.

In the near term, check out our birth control method selector for a refresher on putting on and taking off a condom so it works. And while you’re there, check out some other options that may work well for your birth control needs – remember, though, that condoms are great for preventing the spread of STDs.