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PublicBlast
07-18-2001, 03:00 AM
Tried searching the archive, nothing related, so here goes:

This Thursday marks my seven-month wedding anniversiary. The wife and I have chosen condoms as our contraceptive method, and, well--we've gone through several dozen of them in our time together. Many dozen? Many several dozen? Anyway, lots and oodles of them.

And not a single one has broken. A couple of high-energy sessions made us afraid of breakage, but subsequent testing of the condom (i.e. running water into it) suggested that even those highly-stressed condoms hadn't sprung a leak. Without going into any more gory detail than I already have, suffice it to say that I'm a fairly "average" guy and thus our condoms are probably not under stress from being over-filled. :rolleyes: But is that enough to account for their seeming indestructibility?


So here's the question: what kind of idiocy and/or insane acrobatics are required to break a condom? Or is it just that 'Brand X' condoms break easily, while brand-name Trojans are indomitable?

blur
07-18-2001, 03:06 AM
I would think they could break from not properly putting it on. Also, if they have dried out a little, they could break. Those are the only two reasons I can think of right now.

Redboss
07-18-2001, 03:10 AM
In the training I had in HIV/AIDS education we were told that non-water based lubricants (vaseline, sorbolene, cold cream etc) can have a "perish" effect on the latex, which can lead to tearing.

[HIV educator] That's why you use KY jelly or Lubofax or any of the other water-soluble lubricants with condoms. [/HIV educator]

But yes they are very strong. They're made to be.

Redboss

Mr2001
07-18-2001, 04:19 AM
I had a polyurethane condom (Trojan Supra) break once. We weren't doing anything especially athletic, and I don't think there was an issue with lubrication. Just random chance.

sewalk
07-18-2001, 04:27 AM
It probably helps that you keep them on the nightstand next to the bed and not in your wallet or glovebox, where they can easily be abraided or dried out.

Cap'n Crude
07-18-2001, 11:18 AM
In my experience, it's a question of materials. I've never broken a latex condom. The new non-latex ones, though, have been a problem. Maybe I just got a bad batch, but I experienced a 75% failure rate with them. One incident required my partner to take a morning-after pill 'coz I hadn't noticed the damn thing broke.

Maybe I should have noticed. It was the only good sex that weekend. :rolleyes:

mongrel_8
07-18-2001, 11:18 AM
To sum up what others have touched upon; there are a couple reason that a condom would break. Friction would be a major cause. If the vagina is not fully lubricated then there would be a lot of friction that could damge the condom. As sewalk said if they are stored properly so that they aren't ask risk of being dried out or rubbed. Finally, if you read the instructions for using a condom (yes, I have done this, there are some neat pictures.:))they warn to make sure you don't trap air in the end because they will rip easier. So now you have been through Comdom Breakage 101.

Sublight
07-18-2001, 11:41 AM
Had a latex one break a few years back. It was fairly fresh (no wallet storage), we weren't using any lubrication, and it broke almost as soon as we had started, so I guess we just happened to get a bad one.

Since then, I've devoted myself to a lifetime of freelance condom testing (under real-world conditions), and I've yet to have a second one break.

--sublight.

gtzaskar00
07-18-2001, 01:05 PM
I have actually broken condoms of several brands and types. The non latex ones break very easily actually. My girlfriend and always use lubed condoms. The only ones I have never broken are the Trojan Magnums. To me it is a matter of size and therefore strain. The non latex ones (if they don't cut off circulation) have almost always broken after just a few strokes.
I have asked friends and family, and my brother has the same problem (must run in the family), but none of my friends have ever broken one. The only problem one of them has seems to be having them slip off.

Phoebestar
07-18-2001, 03:17 PM
A few years ago, I was in a play. I was given a gift by my two best friends, and the card was filled with wrapped condoms. The idea was that I would open the card in the restaurant where they gave me the gift, and they'd fall out and embarass me. I'm smarter than that, so it didn't happen.

However, since they were for the purpose of a gag, my friends had bought cheap condoms, namely, Class Act. Since I had no need for them (at the time), I gave aforementioned "friends" the condoms. Several of the condoms broke under what I assume were normal conditions. Don't worry: no one got pregnant or got an STD, but they were unhappy nonetheless.

Lesson: Don't buy cheap condoms if you don't absolutely have to.

False_God
07-18-2001, 03:34 PM
I've had quite a few of them break on me, but this was usually due to them being too tight, or, in some cases, old/cheap. Condoms were available for free on each floor of my residence in university, but they were stupid Lifestyles colored (AND spermicidally lubed, which can cause severe irritation and infections). Only once did one break and my partner and I not notice. That was a scary week, indeed.
More often, they would either break on insertion (weird angles may have had something to do with this) and we'd catch it then. Sort of feels like a water balloon popping.
I switched to Avanti several years ago, and haven't had one break yet. They're also polyurethane, so you can use both water and petroleum-based lube with ease.

Dani Filth
07-18-2001, 03:48 PM
<sick joke>
I don't know about breaking them but... do you know how to recycle a condom? Turn it upside down and shake the fuck out of it... :D
</sick joke>

-Dani

Omniscient
07-18-2001, 04:24 PM
I'd have to say that the likely conditions for breaking a condom are 75% size (fit) and 25% lubrication. If the woman is well lubricated, naturally or otherwise, its pretty rare that a condom will breach when its in place properly, avoiding air bubbles and leaving space at the tip. Of course if the girl is not prepared (or in the case of high schoolers, completely comfortable with the idea) its likely to experience much more friction that normal and you'll simply push through the condom.

The bigger issue in more typical sex is going to be size, not all condoms are the same size, nor are men. If a condom is stretched while being worn it will break, the stretching can be from it simply being too small, or from it being pulled down too tight across the tip. There's alot of repetitive stress going on down there and if the latex is already under stress and unable to flex it will break. Its alot like engineering and construction, build something too rigid and its usually going to break. Pull a condom taut and it will probably break eventually.

Omniscient
07-18-2001, 04:26 PM
of course that should read:

(...., not completely comfortable with the idea)

Omniscient
07-18-2001, 04:30 PM
And one last thing......

Do yourself a favor and get yourselves on the pill for god sakes! The condom is unreliable in comparison, and its the realm of the uninitiated teenager and casual bar-hopping bachelor/bachelorette.

bughunter
07-18-2001, 05:15 PM
Unwrap condom
Apply to penis
Immerse penis in Liquid Nitrogen
Wait three minutes
Remove penis from Liquid Nitrogen
Hit penis with hammer

manhattan
07-18-2001, 05:40 PM
bughunter, I think I speak for everyone when I say:

Ow. Ow ow ow ow ow. Ow.

London_Calling
07-18-2001, 07:17 PM
OK, I don't get this: bughunter, how do you immerse it in any liquid when you're all geared up ? Are you crouching over some kind of isotope thing or clamouring over a barrel for an athletic dunk ?

Without knowing more, I think I might favour adopting the spread eagle position and being lowered into it on a pulley system. What's your method of choice ?

gtzaskar00
07-18-2001, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by Omniscient
And one last thing......

Do yourself a favor and get yourselves on the pill for god sakes! The condom is unreliable in comparison, and its the realm of the uninitiated teenager and casual bar-hopping bachelor/bachelorette.

It should definitely be said that, although I am sure we are all intelligent to know this, some people need to be told that while being on the pill will certainly protect against unwanted pregnancy, condoms are still the ONLY protection, aside from abstinence, from STD's. Even if my partner is on the pill, I still use condoms until we have been faithful long enough to be safe on the STD side of things as well.

MaceMan
07-18-2001, 10:40 PM
In my experience, condoms are pretty durable things. In fact, I tried to stretch one to the point of breakage with my finger, and it felt like my finger would break before the condom would! My recommendations to avoid breakage:
Don't use teeth or scissors to open condom
Never store in wallet or car or warm place like bathroom...heat destroys latex
Do not expose to sunlight...UV light might break chemical bonds
Avoid scratching with fingernails
Use water-based lube only
Never use past the expiration date

did I forget anything?

My university also had cheap spermicidally-lubricated condoms. I really hate these, because spermicide actually increases the risk of contracting STDs, as shown by several recent studies. (plus, I seem to be allergic to it) I believe one study looked at AIDS infection rates in sex workers. IIRC, spermicide actually increased infection rates over using nothing at all.

Hippy144
07-18-2001, 11:02 PM
I just have to say it because I heard it so many times in school that if I don't I'll go nuts (no pun intended). condoms are the only protection from STD's, BUT they don't do their job effectively all the time (i.e. herpies can still be transmitted.)
Does anyone have a recomendation for a brand?

galt
07-18-2001, 11:15 PM
So far, I've only had one break that I know of...and it happened to be the one time my girlfriend and I used the "novelty" condom (that was flavored) that someone gave her as a gag. Har, har, har. No more of those.

Also, friendly advice regarding spermicide: if you are wearing a condom with spermicide on it, do not lick things it has been rubbed on. It's got an awful taste, and being worried about why your tongue is numb can distract from the activity at hand. :)

Badtz Maru
07-19-2001, 07:43 AM
Also remember that wearing two at once is NOT safer than wearing one.

One possible cause of condom failure is mischievous teenagers deliberately puncturing them at the store by sticking hatpins through the box. Ah, the simple joys of youth...

PublicBlast
07-19-2001, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by Omniscient
And one last thing......

Do yourself a favor and get yourselves on the pill for god sakes! The condom is unreliable in comparison, and its the realm of the uninitiated teenager and casual bar-hopping bachelor/bachelorette.

You know how that little informational insert that comes with the pill? The one that says that it works great for most people, but 1 out of 10000 women or so has something horrible happen to them? My wife was that 1 out of 10000. :eek:

Suffice it to say that the Pill, Depo-Provera, and all other hormone-based contraception is out. Latex may be less reliable, but it doesn't pose any threat besides early child-rearing, either.

Big G
07-19-2001, 03:07 PM
My wife is in the same boat as AkashJ's. There are terrible, life-threatening consequences if she takes any pill type contraceptives. We haven't had any sucess finding any acceptable alternative besides the good old condom.

Oh, and just to make this post relevant to the OP, I have had a condom break. It was the second time I had sex, the day after I got married. It didn't do a whole lot to instill confidence in condoms, ya know:)

Myrr21
07-19-2001, 05:35 PM
I don't get this: bughunter, how do you immerse it in any liquid when you're all geared up ?
Actually, liquid nitrogen will sit for a surprising amount of time in a mug-sized dewar. Now, I can't say as I've tried, but I'm sure getting certain delicate bits into a mug can't be all that hard.

OpalCat
07-19-2001, 06:09 PM
Originally posted by Phoebestar
A few years ago, I was in a play. I was given a gift by my two best friends, and the card was filled with wrapped condoms. The idea was that I would open the card in the restaurant where they gave me the gift, and they'd fall out and embarass me. I'm smarter than that, so it didn't happen.

Heh. Lesson #412 in How To Be Normal.
If someone had pulled this 'gag' on me, it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that I was supposed to be embarrassed... I'd have probably piled them on the edge of the table and continued reading the card, figuring they were just saying "hope you get some!" or whatever.

I've never had a condom break, but I did want to ask a question. I once had a boyfriend accidentally get those sheep kind... and they had spermicide in them... anyway we couldn't finish. We ended up just laughing about the "reeking sheep butts" and throwing the damn things away. Do all spermicide condoms smell that bad, or was it the rotting sheep flesh thing that made them stink?

OpalCat
07-19-2001, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by Myrr21
I don't get this: bughunter, how do you immerse it in any liquid when you're all geared up ?
Actually, liquid nitrogen will sit for a surprising amount of time in a mug-sized dewar. Now, I can't say as I've tried, but I'm sure getting certain delicate bits into a mug can't be all that hard.

When my doctor froze my mole off, he had liquid nitrogen in a plain styrofoam coffee cup. The white disposable kind. I didn't see any difference in the amount in the cup after 15 minutes or so.

Amazing Tiki God
07-19-2001, 06:53 PM
I've had experiences with condom breakage. I've had ohh 3 or 4 break on me in the last 3 years or so. One was a cheap lifestyles kind and the other were trojans. Although condoms don't really work to well with me they are really uncomfortable (yes I'm putting them on right and yes the girl is into it!). They just seem to be way too tight around my privates. So I guess I'm just lucky and have them break on me. Well okay I'm back on subject now all I can say is I guess don't get cheap condoms and use the right lube.

MrDeath
07-19-2001, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by Myrr21
[QUOTE]Now, I can't say as I've tried, but I'm sure getting certain delicate bits into a mug can't be all that hard.

Well if the delicate bits aren't all that hard, why are you bothering with the condom?

Phoebestar
07-19-2001, 08:09 PM
Originally posted by OpalCat
Originally posted by Phoebestar
A few years ago, I was in a play. I was given a gift by my two best friends, and the card was filled with wrapped condoms. The idea was that I would open the card in the restaurant where they gave me the gift, and they'd fall out and embarass me. I'm smarter than that, so it didn't happen.

Heh. Lesson #412 in How To Be Normal.
If someone had pulled this 'gag' on me, it probably wouldn't have occurred to me that I was supposed to be embarrassed... I'd have probably piled them on the edge of the table and continued reading the card, figuring they were just saying "hope you get some!" or whatever.

Well, at the time I was.. um.. younger, and notably inexperienced (with no inclinations to change that... ok, I was sort of a prude.) I was being made fun of. Although, I'll be honest. Even now that I'm older and um... more experienced, I'd still be embarassed to have a stack of prophylactics fall out of a card for me at our local Perkins.

(Did I mention they also got me two pair of thong underwear? Lovely friends.)

Just to get this post back on topic... I've never had a prophylactic fail, either. The people that have posted that they have had a prophylactic fail mostly seemed to have fit problems. Maybe that's the biggest factor (HA! no pun intended) in whether or not condoms do their job?

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