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Condoms: Papal Pontifications, a Quicker Quickie and CCCCs (Common Condom Complaints and Conundrums), Part Two

By Bob Frascino, M.D.

December 17, 2010

CCCC #1: Condoms break.

Many folks writing in about HIV-transmission risk often tell me their condom broke, when in reality they actually never used one. It is just less guilt inducing to report their risk as a condom failure rather than a judgment failure. When used properly, condoms very rarely fail.

I just did a quick survey of the folks posting questions to my inbox over the last few days claiming to have had a condom break. There were over one hundred! I'd be willing to wager that if I cross-examined this group or gave them a dose of Professor Snape's Veritas potion (truth serum from the Harry Potter series), the vast majority would admit they never used the condom. So point number one: condoms will always "fail" if you choose not to use them!

What about those rare instances where the rubberized raincoat does spring a leak? The number one cause by far is user error. For instance, using expired condoms. If you've been carrying that glow-in-the-dark condom in your wallet since the Reagan Era, chances are it's well past its prime and about as trustworthy as Reagan's memory during his second term.

Condoms have expiration dates. So if you only get lucky infrequently, you'll need to keep an eye on when to replace this critical item in the goody drawer of your bedside nightstand. You also might reconsider the urge to purchase the economic jumbo pack at Costco. Really dude, look how long it took you to use the giant-sized jar of mustard you bought there. Do you really think you are going to use 300 condoms in the next few months?

Other tips to help avoid condom catastrophes:

  1. Don't leave air pockets in the tip of the condom.
  2. Make sure there is a loose reservoir at the tip to catch the baby batter. Just pinch the tip of the condom (not your tallywhacker) as you roll it down.
  3. As you unroll it, work out any air bubbles by stroking the shaft in a downward direction. (Yes, you all know how to stroke the shaft, but it needs to be done in the downward direction.)
  4. Use a few drops of your favorite latex-compatible slippery stuff before applying the condom to help reduce friction and the risk of breakage.
  5. Avoid keeping condoms in warm places, like the glove box of your car or your wallet.
  6. For marathon Cialis-enhanced sessions, check your tallywhacker's rain slicker to make sure it's holding up as well as your pharmacologically-stiffened stiffy. You should consider changing your condom periodically. Remember that warning about "if an erection persists for more than four hours, call your doctor"? Well that applies to changing condoms as well, even if you don't call your doctor.

CCCC #2: Condoms are never around when I need them.

I hear this frequently and often wonder: Dude, exactly where are you having sex? While attending ten o'clock mass at the cathedral? While skydiving? While scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef? Chances are if you keep a handy supply in your bag (gym bag, briefcase or whatever), coat pocket and bedside nightstand goody drawer, you should be "covered"! Don't keep them in your car or wallet, as heat exposure can weaken the latex. Think ahead! If you're going to drink and/or party or wind up at a strip club or massage palace, bring some condoms with you! Frevinsakes! Stop worrying about your reputation just because you carry condoms! It's shocking that 90% of women carry lip protection in their purses, but only 10% carry HIV protection (condoms).

CCCC #3: Condoms feel too tight.

Well hello Mr. Big! Condoms are supposed to be tight. If they weren't, they wouldn't stay in place once the ol' in-and-out gets into full swing (particularly if you're fond of certain positions like the reverse cowgirl/cowboy). For Italians and those built like them, there are longer-sized condoms available (Trojan Magnum, Maxx, Pleasure Plus or Durex). These really do fit those with "bigger" needs. Yes, dear reader, that even includes your anaconda-sized trouser snake. The ring at the base remains the same size to assure even these bigger brands stay in place. I'd suggest you unroll these size XXX-long condoms all the way before installing them on your throbbing tallywhacker. You can then put them on like you would a sock.

CCCC #4: I can't feel anything, so I don't like using them.

Well, if you don't "like" condoms, let me assure you you'll "hate" having HIV/AIDS much more.

Newer types of condoms (such as Maxx or Kimono) are high-quality thinner condoms. Yes, they are reliable. Remember to put a drop of slippery stuff in the tip of the condom to increase the "natural" feel. The water in water-based lubricants conducts heat better than latex, so having some water-based lube on the tip of your big bopper makes it more sensitive and consequently also makes the bopping more enjoyable.

CCCC #5: I just got him hard and if I ask him to cover up he'll go limp again.

No doubt condoms can be a turnoff due to the many bad associations we all have with them, including becoming Mr. Softy while trying to get the damned things out of those foil packets with slippery fingers and/or trying to be cool while attempting to decide which way is right side up. Add to this the fact some folks still only have sex in the dark (what's up with that?) and the entire issue of safer sex performance anxiety, and it's no wonder your tallywhacker gets so frustrated with condoms!

The best way to get over this is to practice -- by yourself! Yes, by yourself. You need to become adept at learning how to get condoms on while you've still got it up. Then enlist the help of a cooperative partner. He, she (or they) can assist in getting your soldier ready for combat. Also, just because Mr. Softy makes an untimely appearance once doesn't mean you should forego condoms forever! If you deflate while condomizing, talk it over with your partner and try it again, perhaps using a different technique. Practice does indeed make perfect hot safe sex. Despite what you may believe, your brain is your biggest sex organ! You need to put your mind at ease by making condoms a routine habit.

I should also mention a new and possibly improved method for quicker quickies. Sensis has recently decided the centuries-old latex protector could benefit from modern technology. They have added two detachable Band-Aid-like pull-tabs for their new line of condoms. This purportedly eliminates roll-down mistakes and allows for very speedy condomizing. The new improved variety should help decrease other condom missteps, such as scratching the latex with Barbra Streisand (or drag queen) fingernails or putting the latex suit on inside out.

These are only five of the numerous "coulda, shoulda, woulda" reasons that, when it comes to the dance-with-no-pants, condoms stay in foil wrappers rather than adorning (and protecting) throbbing tallywackers. Meanwhile every 9.5 minutes another person in the United States joins the ranks of the positively charged and begins his journey of life with HIV/AIDS.

Want to get in touch with Dr. Bob? You can reach him through his "Ask the Experts" forum, by sending a message to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, or by leaving a comment for him below. (If it's a private message, or if it includes personal info such as your e-mail address or phone number, we won't post the comment, but we will send it along to him.)

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See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
Ten Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Condom Basics
More on Condoms and HIV

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Eric (Los Angeles) Tue., Mar. 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm UTC
I am in a magnetic relationship and at first we had trouble finding the right condom. We were on a mission to find one and we had a couple break. This of course scares me everytime, but that is the risk I take to be with my special man. Well to make a long story short we found the perfect condoms. The best ones are the pink ones made by Crown called "skinless" I believe. They are amazing and almost like wearing nothing and are tough as nails. I have gone a bit crazy on my poor baby a few times (he loves it) and still no break and I always finish even when I have had a few drinks. These condoms saved our love life and our relationship.
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Comment by: Paul (Johannesburg) Wed., Dec. 29, 2010 at 7:29 am UTC
A few years ago here in South Africa on the east coast area of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the local provincial government bought millions of condoms from and Indian manufacturer for free distribution at clinics. When the condoms arrived they thought it would be a great idea to staple instructions to each individual condom on how to use it properly.
Needles to say millions ended up on the rubbish dump unused. Now that IS a condom FAIL !
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Comment by: MindfulNarcLA (Los Angeles, CA) Tue., Dec. 21, 2010 at 10:46 pm UTC
Thank you for this educational yet humorous post, you're just awesome! Love you Dr. Bob, have a safe and happy holidays!
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Life, Love, Sex, HIV and Other Unscheduled Events

Bob Frascino, M.D., was President and Founder of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. He had been an outspoken, popular expert in's "Ask the Experts" forums on safe sex and fatigue/anemia since 2000. Once a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Frascino served as Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology, Rheumatology, and Allergy, at Stanford University Medical Center from 1983 until 2001. He was a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine and had also been a distinguished member of the executive boards of numerous state and regional associations.

We're inexpressibly saddened to share the news that Dr. Frascino passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. Click here to read more and to share your thoughts.

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