The vast majority of available literature on condom failures has focused on inconsistent condom use, ignoring the phenomenon of incorrect condom use. Researchers tend to treat consistent condom users as consistently correct condom users, which is not necessarily the case. Bleaker yet, people with a history of condom failure tend to become distrustful of condom efficacy, misattributing their own incorrect use of the product to the company that made the condom and deterring future use.
However, the data is quite consistent that the vast majority of condom failures are due to human error and not the manufacturing of the condom itself. When used consistently and correctly, male latex condoms are at least 98% effective in preventing the transmission of fluid-spread sexually transmitted infections such as HIV. Below is a list of the most common condom use errors.
- Neglecting to check for an air bubble: 83% of the time
- Neglecting to check the expiration date on the packaging: 71% of the time
- Applying the condom after commencement of intercourse: 25-50% of the time
- Putting the condom on the wrong way: 10%-30% of the time
- Applying an inadequate amount or no lubrication: 25% of the time
- Not pinching the tip: 42-75% of the time
- Not leaving excess space in the tip of the condom: 24-46% of the time
- Not rolling the condom all the way down to the base of the shaft: 15% of the time
- Removing the condom before finishing intercourse: 15% time
- Not holding on the base of the condom when withdrawing to prevent slippage or spillage: 27-31% of the time
- Other nuanced errors included unrolling the condom all the way before applying to the penis and re-using the condom: 7% of the time
[Note: “Percent of the time” refers to the collective sample pool of all condom uses by all participants in the included studies, not condom mistakes per participant.]
Most studies found that increased experience with using condoms did not improve competency. If a person learns to apply condoms incorrectly, they are not likely to unlearn their method. Others found that self-reported lack of information was a contributing factor to incorrect condom use. The CDC reported that 37% of health teachers in the United States are “inadequate” in teaching proper condom application and use. Misinformation and rumors are another source. A review of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health found that a third of youth believe that they should not leave space in the tip of the condom and Vaseline is a recommended lubrication; one-fifth incorrectly believe that lambskin condoms are more effective in preventing the transmission of HIV than latex condoms.
One major gap in the literature is the minimal acknowledgement of the social and emotional factors of incorrect condom use. “Heat of the moment” syndrome may take precedent over lack of education or information. The literature also ignores that demonstrated condom ability in the laboratory—under lights, cameras, and supervision—may present differently than in the bedroom.
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“It’s like throwing a hotdog down a hallway!”
“Can you let me stretch that pussy out or nah?”
Vaginas vary by person; and having a loose or tight one, or one in-between, is neither a good nor bad thing. However, many people associate having a “loose” or “stretched out” vagina with having a lot of sex, and use this as a way to shame people with vaginas for having lots of sex, which is very not okay.
So, it’s pretty important to establish that, contrary to popular belief, having an active sex life does not permanently loosen the vajayjay at all! And here’s why:
You see, the vagina is a fibromuscular, tubular canal, meaning that it is made out of a tightly folded, elastic muscle. When the vagina is resting (in its normal, usual state) the vaginal muscles remain tightly folded. When the person with the vagina is anxious, the vagina tightens even more, hence why sexual first-timers, first-time tampon users, etc., are usually so tight (because these can be anxiety-producing things). However, when the vagina is relaxed or sexually aroused, the muscles loosen in order to make way for whatever’s coming!
But, after the deed is done, the vagina reverts back to its original, resting, tightly coiled state.
Think of it sort of as a mouth: if we were to take our index fingers, pull the opposing corners of our mouths and let go, what happens? It goes back to its original state! Whether we do it one time, or 50 times. Our mouths and our vaginas, go back to their original state, every time.
I won’t lie to you and say that the vagina can never permanently loosen, ever. Muscle fibers tend to lose their elasticity over time, so old age does cause the vaginal muscles to loosen gradually. Now, the first time a young person (late teens/early twenties) gives birth, the vagina is likely to revert back to its original size after the birth. However, in combination with aging, the vagina does tend to gradually loosen after giving multiple births.
That’s it, Badgers. The only natural occurrences that have the potential to actually loosen the vagina: old age and multiple births, NOT intercourse. So, unless we’re inserting and exerting an infant-sized dildo/dick/finger/toy/cucumber into our vaginas, we have nothing to be concerned about when it comes to our tightness. So, let’s all make an effort to debunk this myth! Disassociate lots of sex with vaginal muscle loosening and love and accept all vaginas, mmkay? Love to all! 😀
P.S. Just because old age and multiple births can loosen our muscles, doesn’t mean we can’t take matters into our own hands if we want to. If we, for ourselves, want to take control of our tightness, then we have the natural option of doing Kegel exercises! These exercises involve the clenching and unclenching of our P.C muscles, which we find by peeing and then stopping midstream. We can clench and unclench rapidly, or clench and hold for 8-10 seconds, and/or use Kegel balls! Whatever feels most comfortable to us. Happy vaginas, everyone!