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Sexual Health Sexual Health Society
Publishing on sexual health from the widest perspective

Problems with condoms may be reduced for men taking ample time to apply them

Richard A. Crosby A C D G , Cynthia A. Graham A C E F , William L. Yarber A B C E and Stephanie A. Sanders A B C

A The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Morrison Hall 313, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

B Department of Gender Studies, Memorial Hall E130, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

C Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

D College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky, 121 Washington Avenue, Suite 113, Lexington, KY 40506, USA.

E Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

F Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK.

G Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 7(1) 66-70
Submitted: 26 February 2009  Accepted: 21 September 2009   Published: 15 February 2010


Background: One potentially important antecedent of experiencing problems with condom use during penile-vaginal sex is the amount of time that men (and perhaps women) allow for condom application. To examine whether men reporting that ample time was available to apply a male condom (the last time a condom was used for penile-vaginal sex) were also less likely to report problems with condom use such as breakage, slippage and erection difficulties during that sexual event. Methods: A convenience sample of men (n = 440) was recruited via advertisements in newspapers (two urban and one small town) and a blog on the website of a condom sales company. Men completed a questionnaire posted on the website of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Inclusion criteria were that participants were: at least 18 years old; used condoms for penile-vaginal intercourse in the past 3 months; and able to read English. Results: In controlled, event-specific analyses, men reporting that they did not have sufficient time for condom application were ~three times more likely to report breakage and ~2.4 times more likely to report slippage. In addition, men who reported that they lacked time for condom application were ~2.4 times more likely to experience any of nine sexual problems, 3.4 times more likely to report difficulty with erection, 2.1 times more likely to report reduced sexual pleasure, 2.2 times more likely to report reduced sexual pleasure of their female partner and 2.6 times more likely to report that the condom irritated their partner’s vagina. Conclusions: This is the first study using an event-specific analysis to examine the effect of not having enough time for condom application on condom breakage, slippage and several outcomes related to sexual pleasure. Sexually transmissible infections and pregnancy prevention messages should include recommendations to men to take their time applying condoms.

Additional keywords: erection, men, sexual pleasure, STI risk.


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