Getting pregnant with a condom: myth or real danger?

Condoms are one of the most popular ways to protect yourself from unplanned conception and sexually transmitted diseases. However (despite the abundance of useful information), many still believe in myths about condoms that can harm a person’s health and life.

Many people ask the question – is it possible to get pregnant with a condom? The purpose of this article is to discuss the risks of pregnancy when using a condom, as well as to find out the factors that reduce the effectiveness of condoms. 

Condom effectiveness and Pearl index

In the article on contraceptive methods, we have already said that condoms are far from the only way to protect yourself from pregnancy. Despite the high level of effectiveness, no condom can 100% protect a person from disease or protect a woman from unwanted conception.

A condom is not a guarantee of safety!

There is the so-called Pearl Index (also called the failure rate). It is a statistic that demonstrates the effectiveness of various methods of contraception. The lower the index, the lower the risks of getting pregnant and the higher the reliability of the chosen contraceptive. According to this table, the index of condoms (we are talking about male condoms, not about female ones) is 2. That is, out of 100 women who have had sex with a man wearing a condom, 98 women are most likely not to get pregnant, and two are at risk of becoming pregnant. … Or so: if one woman had sex 100 times using a condom, then out of these 100 times she has a risk of becoming pregnant twice. The sad conclusion: there is still a risk of getting pregnant when using a condom.   

Reasons for the popularity of condoms

As you can see, according to the Pearl Index, condoms for men are not the most reliable contraceptives. Why exactly they remain the most popular among the population? There are a number of reasons for this.

1. Condoms are the most affordable contraceptive that is easy to buy at any time.

2 Condoms don’t just protect against pregnancy. When it comes to STDs, Rubber Product # 2 remains the leader in safety.

3. Condoms are easy to use, unlike hormones and other contraceptives.

4. Condoms are healthy. Unlike the same hormonal drugs, which are not suitable for everyone. Exception: rare allergic reactions to condom material or lubricant.

5. Condoms are relatively cheap compared to tubal ligation or vasectomy.

6. In the vastness of the post-Soviet space, the promotion of the protection of intimate health among women is poorly developed. Men are more likely to buy contraceptives than women.

Condom guidelines

In theory, “item # 2” has a fairly good Pearl coefficient, but in practice, the number of pregnancies with a condom is much higher than the cold statistics. Why it happens? The fact is that the Pearl coefficient does not take into account the errors born by the human factor – the mistakes that people make. “Errare humanum est” – it is human nature to make mistakes, as the Latin proverb says. Let’s brush up on the main rules for using a contraceptive. 1. Condoms should be purchased only at reliable points of sale (in sex shops, pharmacies, on the websites of the official manufacturer, etc.). It is strictly forbidden to buy contraception in small street kiosks and other questionable retail outlets that do not have a license and quality control, as well as there are no special premises for storing contraception according to the manufacturer’s requirements. 2. When buying a pack of condoms, you should always: check the expiration date, make sure the packaging is intact. 3. Condoms should be stored according to their instructions. It is not recommended to store products in the first aid kit in the bathroom (and this is the most popular storage method among the population). Constant temperature fluctuations and moisture can reduce the quality of condoms. It is best to store them in your bedside table, avoiding direct sunlight and away from heating appliances. 4. If the condom is difficult to put on, it does not cover the penis completely or dangles on the penis, then its size is not suitable for a man. The effectiveness of such a condom is significantly reduced. Condoms should be individually sized. The downside is that stores and pharmacies often have a limited selection of standard sizes. However, in the modern world there are many sex shops with a much larger selection. 5. Hands should be washed before removing and putting on a condom. 6. If the condom is not worn correctly, remove it, dispose of it and put on a new condom. It is forbidden to turn an incorrectly put on condom inside out for further use! 7. Open the condom package carefully. Do not tear the packaging with your teeth. 8. Before putting on a condom, make sure to put it on with the inside of the penis. 9. The condom should be put on gently by hand. It is forbidden to put a condom on the penis by mouth. This technique looks very tempting, but a condom put on with your mouth is already rubbish, not contraception. Even if we are talking about oral condoms for blowjob, it is better not to put them on with your mouth, because the purpose of these rubber bands is to protect. In the meantime, the girl will pull on the condom with her mouth, she will repeatedly touch the man’s genitals with her lips and tongue. Again, what is the use of protection then? 10. The condom should be replaced with a new one if ejaculation has occurred and the couple plans to continue intercourse. 11. It is recommended to use lubricated condoms or use a special lubricant suitable for their material. Lubrication reduces friction, and therefore the risk of breaking a condom during sex is reduced. 12. If the condom falls off the penis during sex, it should be replaced with a new condom. 13. Condoms must not be washed or reused! You are amazed at how cunning the need for invention is, but stupid attempts to save money can cost health. I was shocked to learn that some people wash disposable condoms. We do not live in the Victorian era, where this practice was due to the high cost and difficulty in buying condoms. Today’s condoms are mostly disposable. Have you used it once? Throw away and take new ones. 14. It is advisable to buy widely advertised condoms on the manufacturer’s websites. The more popular the brand, the higher the risks of stumbling upon its fake. And this applies not only to contraception, but also to any other goods. And therefore, back to point number 1 – under no circumstances should you buy condoms in small shops or from your hands. Not only can counterfeit condoms be sold to you in unverified outlets, their quality can decrease due to improper storage, or they turn out to be expired. 15. Do not put several condoms on the penis at once. Some people are so afraid of unplanned pregnancies and STDs that they think that wearing two (or more) condoms will increase protection. In fact, they only run the risk of spoiling the material of the contraceptive. More is not better. 16. Condoms should NOT be carried in the back pocket of your pants or in your wallet. Friction caused by walking and sitting can damage the condom in your pocket. And the wallet is a different story altogether. Not only are condoms rubbed there, but they also lie near the money. Money is the dirtiest thing in the world. I am without pathos, but in fact: money passes from hand to hand of millions of people and microbes and bacteria that can harm their health remain on them. They will fall on the package, which you touch when opening the condom, and from there they will go to your hands, and from your hands they will fall on the condom, and from it will fall on the genitals. Transport condoms in special sturdy cases. By the way, some brands already release their contraceptives in such boxes that protect products from light, friction and temperature extremes. For example, the English brand MAXUS produces condoms in compact metal cases that protect the product from damage and negative factors. And on my own behalf, I will add one more rule: keep condoms away from strangers . There were enough stories in life when people deliberately spoiled condoms because the child wanted his parents to give him a younger brother. Or because the mother-in-law, you see, is tired of waiting for her daughter and son-in-law to make her a grandmother. Sounds crazy? You just never found a person poking a needle into your condoms …  

The most common factors that reduce the effectiveness of a condom

Let’s summarize the above rules and remind ourselves of what will ruin the quality of a condom. Anyone – even the highest quality, expensive and from a well-known brand.

The main reason for the ineffectiveness of condoms is their misuse.

1. Wrong size. Often I have come across topics on sex forums where men shyly and bitterly complained that they could not put on a condom. It is regrettable, but many “advisers” in such cases mock the suffering, belittling their manhood (in every sense of the word). Give them a belt on a soft spot! Never bully someone for information about contraception. Support, praise for curiosity and give good advice. And in this problem, the advice, first of all, is to look for condoms of a more suitable size. 2. Friction. No need to fiddle with condoms and how to tear their packaging. Do everything according to the instructions. And I will not tire of repeating: stop carrying condoms in your pockets. 


3. Improper storage: too high or too low temperature, direct sunlight and other factors will spoil the material. Observe the storage rules (they are always indicated on the insert in the condom packaging). 4. Oils and fats. Remember when we talked about not putting on condoms by mouth? Oils and fats are also found in lipsticks, gloss, and lip balms. So do less erotic show off – do not put on a condom with your mouth. In addition, you can still damage its material with your teeth. 


Lubricants are a way to improve the effectiveness of a condom

Lubricants have many functions: they facilitate penetration, reduce pain, and may contain spermicides (which further reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancy). Above, we talked about how lubricants further reduce the risk of damaging the condom during sex. However, everything is not so simple: you cannot apply the first lubricant that comes to hand on a condom.

Important! Oil-based lubricants are strictly forbidden to be applied to latex condoms. Fat breaks them down, increasing the risk of transmission of STDs and pregnancy. In this case, it is best to use a water-based universal lubricant. 

Always read the instructions for condoms. They indicate with which lubricant a particular contraceptive can be used, and which lubricant destroys it. 

Why is protection so important?

The sexual revolution happened a long time ago, and questions of an intimate nature ceased to be taboo. Thanks to the availability of information (given by the Internet), any modern person can easily find any information and answers to questions of a sexual nature that concern him. Nevertheless, the availability of information can be negative, because it allows not only correct information to spread, but also silly stories about contraception. For example, by contributing to the myth that you can put two condoms on top of each other.

We live in the 21st century – an era of high awareness in the field of sex. However, the world is still full of myths about contraception, methods of conceiving a child and methods to protect against unwanted pregnancies. Let’s solve this problem together – together. Ask questions of your attending physicians, take care of contraception. It must be remembered that each individual is a part of a larger society. And if one person does not protect his health, gives birth to unplanned children (which he has nothing to support), then the consequences of his misconduct will eventually affect other people.
Refusal of contraception or improper use of it leads to: 

  • to the growth of diseases,
  • an increase in unplanned pregnancies,
  • to the growth of orphans and abandoned children,
  • to an increase in the number of forced marriages (and then to divorces),
  • to the growth of unemployment and poverty,
  • to the growth of alcoholism and drug addiction,
  • to an increase in suicide,
  • to the growth of crime and other disorders,
  • to a drop in the standard of living in the country.

All these factors are interrelated. As the great writer said: the bell is ringing for you. The trouble of an individual always turns into trouble for society. Do you want to live in the cozy world of the future? Then let’s do our bit by learning how to properly protect yourself. 

Who is to blame for an unplanned pregnancy? 

How many times have you heard the complaints of those who become pregnant that, they say, the man is to blame for everything – it was he so-and-so did not want to put on a condom. Dear ladies, enough to get into a pose, quite the infantilism. Once we have grown up to have sex, it means that we have grown to be responsible for the consequences of sex. It is for us – women – to give birth or go through the agony of abortion, not men. Therefore, we first of all need to think about protection from unwanted pregnancy. And don’t just blame the man, if she herself also agreed to unprotected sex.

Of course, I do not relieve men of responsibility, I just sincerely do not understand women who refuse to admit their responsibility. Two people took part in the process and two are responsible for the consequences. And not only two, but all of us. It would be more correct to say not “she is to blame” and not even “both are to blame”, but “we are to blame – a society in which there is no normal sex education.”

In defense of lovely ladies, I will say that every year the number of conscious women who care about contraception is growing. More and more girls are buying condoms. However, there is a catch: there is no universal condom suitable for any guy in nature. That is why it is better to buy this product for a man individually – according to his size. There are many other contraceptives for women. What if the partner stubbornly does not want to protect himself, because he “feels not the same”? You will find good advice for this case in our article on what to do if a man does not want to put on a condom.    

Should teenagers buy condoms?
Dear parents, if you think that ignoring the issue of sex will guarantee you that your children will not start having sex, then you are deeply mistaken. It is important to talk to children correctly about sex by answering their questions. And do not hope that they will figure it out themselves by surfing the Internet. It is important to educate them about contraception. Moreover, it is important to provide them with access to this very contraception. It is better to buy condoms for a teenager today than to find out with horror about the pregnancy of a minor girl. As one wise man said: “To save the world, you must first save yourself.” Take care of your health and the health of your partner, give a new life only when you are mentally ready to become good parents and can protect and provide for the little man. PS Dear readers, if you know some useful rules for using condoms (which we may have forgotten about), please share this information in the comments.  

event_note October 3, 2021

account_box Dr. John Provet

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