A new review of condom research reveals some surprising findings: many people use them incorrectly.
"We chronically underestimate how complicated condom use can be," University of Kentucky professor Richard Crosby, who coauthored the study, said in a statement. "It involves the use of a condom, while negotiating the condom use and sex with a partner all at the same time."
According to the study published last week in the journal Sexual Health, some of the most frequent mistakes include putting a condom on partway through intercourse, using oil-based lubricants which degrade latex condoms, failing to leave space at the tip of the condom for semen, and failing to look for damage before use.
To reach their findings, researchers from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University and other institutions pulled together 50 studies from 14 countries, though western nations predominated.
In the study, between 17 percent and 51 percent of people questioned said they had put on a condom partway through intercourse, which negates protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Up to 25.3 percent said they unrolled the condom before putting it on, rather than unrolling the condom on the penis. Between a quarter and almost half of respondents said they had neglected to leave room at the tip of the condom for semen. About 75 percent of men and 82 percent of women didn't check condoms for damage before using them.
According to a survey from condom-maker Durex last December, Americans engage in unsafe sex more than other countries, with six out of ten American men and women reporting that they didn't use any form of protection against sexually transmitted infections when they lost their virginity.