Condoms are not something people like to talk about. A conversation about condoms with your partner, your doctor, or your teenage children can be awkward. But condoms are the only contraceptive option that can help prevent both pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). And, when used correctly, they are 98% effective.
Are You Making These Common Mistakes with Condoms?
- Wrong lubricant. Oil-based lubricants can break down latex. Choose a water-based solution instead.
- Putting it on upside down. Putting condoms on can feel awkward, and it’s easy to get confused. Be sure they unroll downward easily. If not, you might have it on upside down. If you’ve already put it on partway, toss that one and start over.
- Opening the condom wrapper with a sharp object. Do not use your teeth, scissors, or any other sharp objects to open the wrapper. Use only your hands. Even if you think you cut just the wrapper, you can never tell for sure!
- Expired. Condoms only last a few years and don’t work if they’ve been exposed to extreme heat or cold. Check the date on yours and make sure to keep it someplace cool.
The Talk With Your Kids
If you are a parent in a monogamous relationship, you might not be worried about using condoms. But now it’s time to think about talking to your kids about them. While health class might cover some of the basics, it’s important for you to make sure all the messages came through. Plus, your child may not have asked a question out of embarrassment. The American Sexual Health Organization has a page with information on best approaches for this discussion.