1. You think having s ex standing up prevents pregnancy.
The Potential Damage: We couldn’t believe that nearly 1 in 5 of men buy into this, but according to a 2010 study, it’s true. Yikes. “The law of gravity is not a contraceptive,” says Debby Herbenick, PhD, the co-director of The Center for s exual Health Promotion. That’s a seemingly obvious assessment, right? Use it.
2. You blindly grab some lube.
The Potential Damage: Always, always, always check what your lube is made out of—otherwise, that co ndom might do jack. “Oil-based or petroleum-based lubricants like mineral oil or massage lotion can destroy co ndoms, making them more likely to break,” says s exologist and s exuality educator Megan Andelloux.
3. Your hands are sweaty, so one of you tears the co ndom package with your teeth.
The Potential Damage: Using items like knives or scissors—even your teeth—to open a wrapper will make it very easy to mistakenly poke a hole in the co ndom. (In one study, dudes who did so were about three times more likely to encounter breakage.) Think about it—do you really want sharp objects coming anywhere near the super-thin barrier that stands between you and fatherhood?
4. You put the co ndom on—but don’t leave any space in the tip.
The Potential Damage: If you covered up a faucet with your hand and turned it on full blast, where would the water go? See what we’re sayin’? It’s not rocket science. So leave approximately half an inch at the top of the co ndom to properly “catch” your spe rm, says Herbenick; without this wiggle room, you’re risking breakage.
5. You don’t use a co ndom because she’s on the Pill.
The Potential Damage: If you’re in a relationship, you should trust that she’s true to her word, but for a one night stand? It’s not worth the risk. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, birth control pills are between 91-99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy—but the Pill plus a co ndom gives you close-to-perfect protection. Your call.
6. You were wasted and couldn’t find a co ndom…so you didn’t use one.
The Potential Damage: Sure, it’s an understandably awkward situation if you’re about to “get it in” and can’t figure out where the hell you put the co ndom. But is it more awkward than becoming a daddy if you’re not ready for a kid? Get off your ass and search a little harder, or walk to the store and pick up an extra pack. According to the World Health Organization, with perfect use, co ndoms prevent pregnancy 98 percent of the time. That’s pretty damn good.
7. You’ve had the same co ndom hanging out in your wallet forever.
The Potential Damage: Using a co ndom that hasn’t been properly stored might get you into a situation worse than the s exual slump you just endured. According to Herbenick, extreme heat or cold can damage the latex used in co ndoms, so the best spot for stashing them is a cool, dark, dry place—like in your nightstand—or a small, hard case (think: one made for business cards). And if you’re really trying to be a douche about the whole thing, might we suggest this $200 Swarovski crystal co ndom compact.
8. You’re not putting lube inside the co ndom.
The Potential Damage: Those marathon s ex sessions you’ve been having (nice work, bro) are bound to wear down the co ndom, making it dry and prone to ripping. “Always use lube inside the co ndom. It prevents breakage and plus, it actually feels so much better for the co ndom wearer,” says Andelloux. Remember: check the type of lube before you apply, and just use a drop—too much can make the co ndom slip off.
9. You take the co ndom off before the s ex is over.
The Potential Damage: If you’re patting yourself on the back for using a co ndom in the first place… don’t. Taking a co ndom off too early on into s ex “can directly compromise the efficacy of co ndom use,” according to a recent study from The Journal of s exual Health. But you know that, silly! So if you play by the rules and keep that suc ker on the entire time, it’s 98 percent certain (see no. 6) you won’t have to worry about becoming a daddy. (Just be sure you hold the base of the co ndom during withdrawal to make sure it doesn’t slip off or l eak you-know-what.)
10. You don’t need co ndoms—you’re a “pull-out pro.”
The Potential Damage: You might think you have impeccable timing, but even if you do pull out in time, it’s still possible to get her pregnant. How? According to Planned Parenthood, your pre-cum can pick up enough spe rm left in your pipes from your last ejac ulation to fertilize an egg. Whoa. Now, urina ting between ejac ulations might help, but as they say, it’s always safer to wrap it before you tap it—and the risk-taking for your non-s exual adventures