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Condom Efficacy and Pregnancy

Updated on January 14, 2011

How effective are condoms, really? I'm not talking about the statistics you see on the box, or the stats the latest clinical laboratory puts out on the newest model of condom -- I'm talking about the effectiveness of condoms during everyday use between everyday couples. The answer might scare some of you, and it probably should. Ever wondered how couple ends up pregnant despite using condoms every single time? Well, by the time you're done reading this article, you'll understand why that happens far, far more often than you'd think. Read on to learn more about the true effectiveness of condoms.

Condom Effectiveness According to the Box

If you take a gander at the official stats on a quality condom made from latex or non-latex materials, you'll see that the manufacturer is proud to inform you that the perfect-use efficacy rate of preventing pregnancy is somewhere around 98%. Government reports will concur with these stats and most people will go on the use them thinking they've got a minuscule chance of being in that 2%. Well, if you happen to be a couple who uses condoms absolutely perfectly, then yep, you're probably okay in thinking such things. But the truth is, some 10-20% of y'all are NOT that couple who uses condoms correctly every time, and that's why the real life efficacy rate of condoms can be as low as 80-85%.

Why Condoms Fail

Now, don't go getting the idea that I'm bashing condoms. On the contrary -- I encourage everyone who isn't in an STD-free / monogamous relationship and wants to get pregnant to use them religiously. But using them improperly is pretty silly, no? The key here is using them correctly every single time. So let's look at why they fail, so you can make sure you don't go down that route.

  • Using old condoms: The expiration date is there for a reason. The materials can and do degrade after a certain period of time and this can lead to anything from obvious breakage to tiny tears that you can't see, but can still allow the boys to get through the defensive line, if you know what I'm saying.

  • Slippage: This can happen at any time but if it happens after the boys have been let out, well, you can do the math. If you're going to use a condom, the size is important. Don't try to impress her by buying the extra large condoms if you're not that size -- she definitely will not be impressed if she winds up pregnant due to slippage. Buy the size that's meant for you and keep it safe.

  • Doubling Up: This doesn't increase your protection, it reduces it greatly because it ups your chance of condom breakage.

  • Using the wrong lubricants: Some lubricants cannot be used with latex condoms -- it will break the condom down and increase your chance of breakage.

  • Improper application: You must make sure there is an adequate reservoir at the tip of the condom before use -- failure to do so can result in all sorts of issues. 

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