Condoms: When Protection Causes Erection Problems

Condoms are universally acknowledged as one of the most effective contraceptive methods and serve as an essential protective measure against sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. However, despite their protective benefits, some men encounter immediate problems with condom use, which they may prioritize over its protective properties. A recent study involving men seeking treatment at a specialist clinic for sexually transmitted diseases revealed the most common problem associated with condom use: 37% of men reported experiencing at least one episode of erectile dysfunction related to condom use. Another study involving men aged 18-35 found that those experiencing erectile loss with condom use were twice as likely to remove the condom before intercourse and reported avoiding condom use altogether.

It appears that some men experience erectile loss due to condom use, leading them to forego consistent condom usage or prematurely remove it. One factor contributing to erectile loss during condom use is difficulty in its adaptation to the penis size. Men reporting poor condom fit were significantly more likely to experience erectile loss. Anxiety associated with condom use can exacerbate the problem, resulting in repeated erection loss during condom application. Rushing through the erection process during condom application was associated with a threefold increase in the likelihood of erectile loss compared to those who took their time. Education on correct condom use and incorporating condom use into sexual activity as part of foreplay, with the understanding and participation of the partner, can be beneficial. For those experiencing persistent issues, consulting a specialist is essential to ensure safe and enjoyable sexual experiences.

References: Graham CA, Crosby R, Yarber WL et al. (2006) Erection loss in association with condom use among young men attending a public STI clinic: potential correlates and implications for risk behavior. Sex Health 3:255-260. Crosby RA, Yarber WL, Graham CA et al. (2010) Does it fit okay? Problems with condom use as a function of self-reported poor fit. Sex Transm Infect 86:36-38.


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