Rubber Blunder
Jim Larkins

So you’re doing the right thing and practicing safer sex with your preferred prophylactic. But there’s a little more to wrapping your manhood than you hear about on those Trojan Man commercials.

First of all, it makes sense there would be some risk of slippage when stretching a latex sheath over a liquid-producing projectile and thrusting repeatedly into a tight orifice. So don’t let your pride get in the way of your condom purchases—XL condoms really are for the generously endowed, and if your penis isn’t fit with a snug, unyielding condom it can actually come off during sex.

Another thing to consider is the age of your rocket raincoat. Rubbers, unlike fine wines, do not age to perfection with long-term storage. Breakage can occur if they have been gathering dust on a medicine cabinet shelf for far too long, have been improperly stored or are exposed to certain oils.

“The best indication of the ‘potential effectiveness’ of a condom is the expiration date,” says Dr. Dana Nelson, pharmacist and owner of HealthPlus Pharmacy in San Luis Obispo. “Yes, condoms do have an expiration date. It’s on the wrapper.”
One of the most common problems with condoms is simply a lack of knowledge on when and how to use them. Put a rubber on prior to any insertion.

“There are substantial risks associated with ‘pre-ejaculate’ or ‘pre-come,’” says Dr. Nelson. “A guy can release small amounts of semen—which can carry infectious diseases—prior to orgasm. If the condom is not on and the semen enters the partner … well, I guess you know the rest of that story.”

Just as important as what goes in your rubber is what goes on it. For a smooth, painless ride—and to avoid condom breakage—use a generous amount of lube, but use the right stuff. Do use any of the many great water-based lubricants such as Sylk, KY gel, Wet Stuff, etc. Don’t use lubes with local anesthetics—you and your partner both need to know if it’s hurting. Also, avoid Vaseline, which is non-water based, and save the cooking oils for the frying pan, as these can cause condoms to disintegrate.

Don’t put your health in the hands of the condom company’s quality control guy, either. All products are subject to manufacturing defects, but not all products stand between you and a host of ugly sexually transmitted diseases. Granted, you may not have a lot of patience (nor good lighting) at the point when you reach for a rubber, but take the time to inspect anyway. The last thing you want to do is ‘get busy’ with a perforated prophylactic.

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