I only have a few pet peeves in this life: milk carton crusties that fall into your cereal, people who say they prefer “The Colbert Report” to “The Daily Show” and people who say condoms are bad because they always break on them. Got news for you, bro. You’re using them wrong.

And you’re not alone! Two-thirds of adults use condoms incorrectly. Even worse, people with a history of condom failures tend to become distrustful of the condom’s effectiveness rather than reflecting on what they might be doing wrong. More bad news — if a person learns to use condoms incorrectly, they’re not likely to unlearn their fucked-up method. What can I say, people are stuck in their ways. But I’m gonna take a crack at it anyway! Here are some ways to solve some common condom mishaps.

Breaks

Seriously, I once had a friend who would need to pick up Plan B at the pharmacy nearly EVERY weekend because she would always turn to the guy humpin’ away behind her to discover the condom had magically, mysteriously broken. And every time she relayed the story, I’d look at her quizzically. She’d shrug her shoulders and say, “I dunno. Condoms just suck, I guess.”

Being the friend that I am, I sat her down and asked her to show me how she puts on a condom. Turns out she was using it all wrong, but I venture to guess her technique is how most people use condoms.

The first oversight is to forget to pinch the tip of the condom. Insertive condoms have a little reservoir at the tip and most people assume that’s all you need. NO! You need at least a half inch to an inch of space in the tip to reduce the friction of the latex rubbing right up against the skin of the penis or material of the toy. Pinching the tip also squeezes out any excess air that could otherwise get trapped and cause a bubble that is ripe for poppin’.

Second lapse in judgment is not using lube. How many people do you know who use lube with their condoms? Probably zero. How many condoms are supposed to be used with a couple extra drops of the slippery stuff? ALL OF THEM. It’s in the freakin’ directions! Add a drop or two of lube inside the tip of the condom before it’s put on and rub a small squirt to the outside before squeezing it into any sex holes.

Bonus benefit for these two steps is that it also makes the condom feel better during sex in addition to increasing effectiveness.

Slip-offs

Not going to lie to you readers, this mishap has actually happened to me. Twice. With the same person. Who also happened to be a sexual health educator. *Face palm.* So I’m right there with you with the whoopsies. Luckily, this dude also happened to be a student of medicine and got down gynecological-exam style to fish the condom out of me.

Lube, size, coverage and position are all contributing factors to condom slippage. I know I told you to use lube, but too much, especially on the inside, can cause the whole thing to slip right off and float away. A “snugger”-sized condom or small, stretchy cock ring secured at the base can also help.

The lovely lady lips of down there or a tight butthole sphincter can also squeeze or slide condoms off, so be mindful of positions, especially ones in which legs are kept closed together. The latex ring at the base can also get caught up to the point where it gradually pulls the condom off, so make sure to roll it all the way down to the shaft before inserting.

Boner killers

Lots of people with penises report that the ring at the base of a condom can be constricting to the point where it pushes blood flow right out of their peckers back into their bodies. Some people even use this as an excuse to not use a condom at all. Thankfully, there’s a quick fix for this. Try shifting the condom up so that the material bunches up a bit around the shaft. Now continue to roll the condom down to the base so that the latex ring becomes looser. Voila!

You could also try a different material, shape or size. Polyisoprene condoms like Lifestyles SKYN are stretchier than other ones made out of latex or polyurethane for extra comfort. I’ve also heard good things from people with extra girthy bases about ONE’s Tantric condoms. They have a flared base to accommodate tree-trunk dicks.

Last, you may want to try sizing up. All penises fit into a regular-size condom—I can fit a condom up over my elbow, so if you’re packin’ more than that, I suggest you see a doctor—but size definitely makes a difference for comfort. There are lots of condom sizes available, ranging from snugger fit to XXL. Problem is, most of those vary by length, not girth. Curious if your dick is thick enough to warrant a bigger condom? Stick a toilet paper roll on it! Sure, it’s not an exact science, but it will give you a general guesstimate. Slide a standard toilet paper roll over an erect penis. Is it a bit of a squeeze to fit it in comfortably? Try a larger size.

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