Condoms can be an excellent form of birth control — when they're used correctly, that is. If you know how to put on a condom correctly, and you do so every single time you use one, then condoms are a whopping 98% effective at preventing pregnancy, according to Planned Parenthood. However, sometimes people make mistakes, and when you take human error into account, condoms are only 82% effective.
So, to help you reduce the risk of STI transmission and unwanted pregnancies, we've rounded up seven of the most common mistakes people make when using condoms. While a few of these tips are semen-specific, remember that it's also important to use condoms on any shared sex toys (they can't get you pregnant, but they can spread STIs). And if standard latex condoms don't work for you, just know that there are other sexual barrier options out there, like dental dams and female condoms.
The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.