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Home > Knowledge Base > Safer Sex: Related Resources > Common Condom Problems
Some Solutions to the Most Common Condom Problems
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Condoms feel tight

Use larger brands like Trojan Magnum, Maxx, Pleasure Plus, or Durex. These bigger brands can fit anybody, regardless of size, since the ring at the base is not any bigger. Put a drop of water-based lube inside the tip to help conduct heat and help the end to move around more. Lube also reduces friction and risk of breakage. Make sure the ring is completely unrolled to the base of the penis. In order to unroll the condom all the way, unroll it with your fingers before putting it on the penis. Then put it on like you would a sock or tights. Be careful not to tear the condom with your fingernails.

Can't feel anything

Try a thinner, higher quality condom such as Maxx or Kimono. Try condoms and lubes without nonoxynol-9 spermicide. Nonoxynol-9 can irritate the lining of the vagina or anus and cause numbness, and it tastes and smells awful. For the same reasons, use lubes without spermicide. For those of us who grew up with the older, thicker type of condoms, it's no wonder we hate condoms. Condoms are a lot better nowadays. They are not only thinner, they are more reliable. More than anything, a drop of lube in the tip will make it feel more natural. Water conducts heat better than latex, and more play in tip means more sensation on the most sensitive part of the penis.

Condoms break

Make sure you don't leave any air pockets in the tip of the condom. There should be a loose little reservoir at the tip. To make a reservoir, pinch the tip as you unroll it and work out any air bubbles by rubbing the shaft down. Use a few drops of lube in tip before you put the condom on. Use good quality condoms known for their reliability. Avoid keeping them in a warm place and always check the expiration date before opening the package. If you're having a marathon session, check that the condom is holding up and change it once in a while.

No condoms around when I need them

Keep them in a handy place in your bag, coat pocket, and by the bed. Don't keep them in your car or wallet since exposure to heat will weaken your condoms. Think ahead if you are going to drink or use drugs to make condoms easy to find. Don't worry about your reputation just because you carry condoms around with you. Your partners will just as likely be relieved that you thought of protecting both of you and even more impressed that you had the good sense to bring it up before having sex.

I might be allergic to latex

Allergies to latex are increasingly common, but even more common is an allergy to the spermicide (nonoxynol-9) found in most spermicidal lubricants. Try condoms and lube without spermicide. If you still suspect an allergy to latex, you might want to try Avanti condoms, which are made of plastic and very thin, and can be used with oil-based lubes. Much like the "female" internal condom, the plastic Avanti condoms are not stretchy like latex so they tend to get baggy and slip off. Use Avanti as a last resort because they have a higher breakage rate than latex condoms.

If I ask him to use one he'll go limp again

This problem is usually due to a break in the momentum when one of you goes to find condoms or has trouble getting the thing on. Nerves also play a part, especially when you're with a new partner. Condoms can also be a turn-off at first because we have so many bad associations with them. The best way to get over this kind of safer sex performance anxiety is to practice by yourself (yeah, that's right) so you can get used to the feel and learn different ways to put it on (rolling it down or pulling it on like a sock). Get your partner involved in getting the condom on to make it more fun (a third hand is always useful to squeeze the tip to keep air out). Just because you or your partner got soft in a condom once, doesn't mean that that's it for condoms. Talk it over with each other and try it a different way. Practice makes perfect. Remember that your brain is your biggest sex organ. Make condoms a habit and put your mind at ease.

Condom slips off

Hold the base of the penis when pulling out. There is a brand (Mentor) of condom designed for heavy duty use and has an adhesive at the base. Don't linger inside your partner once you come -- pull out before the condom gets loose and slips off.

Should I use Condoms For Oral Sex?

This is controversial. A few men have been infected from sucking and swallowing the cum or pre-cum but such cases often involve cofactors such as throat infections, bleeding, or trauma to the lining of the throat. If you don't let your partner cum in your mouth, then you are already having safer oral sex. This is just one good strategy. You can also avoid sucking the tip of the penis, or use a non-lubricated condom like Lifestyles Kiss of Mint. Oral-vaginal sex (cunnilingus) with someone of unknown HIV status is also relatively low risk. The risk of infection with STDs is higher if there is menstrual blood or an unusual vaginal discharge. Make your partner a Saran Wrap panty or use a latex dental dam with a harness for even safer oral sex. Take good care of your teeth and gums in general but don't brush or floss right before sex. Use mouthwash to freshen your breath instead. One clever suggestion for a barrier comes from a client: Place non-lubed condom inside out like a little cap over the head of the penis. Whatever method you try, avoid getting cum in your mouth. Arrange with your partner to pull out before and finish the job with your hands. If you get cum in your mouth, the idea is to "swallow or spit, just don't let it sit."

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