Using condoms (and therefore minimizing the risk of unwanted pregnancies and STDs wooooh!) seems pretty simple right? Pop one on the end of a penis and you're good to go? Well... not really, no. We hate to break it to you but an estimated 75% of us make major condom mistakes. Which is not good news.
Want to avoid getting pregnant or an STD? Check you're not falling prey to one of these common mistakes people make.
1. Failing to check the packet
Dude, if you haven't made sure that packet isn't damaged, you could be in for a very nasty surprise. People are always stuffing condoms in their purses or make up bags, but this can mean they can become damaged which obvs, you do not want.
2. Not checking the expiry date
Just like everything we love (chocolate, fruit, cheese) condoms go out of date. You know that feeling when you're so hungry you go into the fridge, just desperate for a slice of delicious brie? And then you unwrap it and it's blue and smells like a rotting corpse? Yeah condoms don't exactly go mouldy when they're out of date, but you get the picture. Check, check and check again!
3. Having sex for a bit, then putting a condom on
STRONG DISLIKE. Guys, you need to be getting that bad boy on before you begin, otherwise its likelihood of protecting you falls dramatically. Popping one on just before the point of ejaculation is not gonna work (haven't you heard of pre-come?). Plus, you're being exposed to all manners of potential infections.
4. Not actually putting it on properly
Bro, you've gotta hold that tip when you're putting a condom on. Squeezing the little nipple-like bit will make sure you dispel any air from inside. What happens if you don't squeeze it? The condom is probs going to break and we know no one wants that.
5. Putting it on one way (the wrong way), then trying again
You can be forgiven for putting a condom on the wrong way around (you know, where you pop it on and it won't roll down). We're only human and when it's dark, it's quite easy to stuff up. BUT, when you do this, make sure you start again with a new one. You've gotta throw the one you fucked up because newsflash: The outside will have come into contact with the penis and therefore leaves you exposed.
6. Whipping it off before you're actually done
This is all manners of wrong. Basically, you just need to abide by this golden rule: When your genital/anal (and also use them for oral sex, of course) areas are in contact, a condom should be present.
7. Using one that you've been carting around in your backpack for over a month
Having a condom in your purse or bag for more than four weeks can mean it becomes warm and damaged. Easy solution: Carry them around with you, and just replace your stash every month.
8. Failing to keep hold of the base of the penis when you're taking it off
If you don't ensure the base of the condom is firmly in place when removing the penis from whatever area it's been in contact with, it could come off. So make sure he's secure.
9. Pairing condoms with oil-based lubricants
We all love a bit of lube—the wetter the better right? Yes, but also no. Lubes can come in all shapes and forms, but oil-based ones like Vaseline can literally eat away at condoms and make them break. Go for a water-based lubricant instead.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.