The trickiest part of using a condom can be in removing it. If the condom leaks (a common result of improper removal), the sperm can then make their way into the vagina—and then you may be dealing with an unintended pregnancy or an unwanted sexually transmitted disease (STD). For truly safe sex, and therefore a healthy sex life, you must know how to remove a condom the right way.

Luckily, the proper removal method is relatively simple and requires only two things:

  • Either the man or the woman should hold onto the base of the condom to keep it on the shaft of the penis while the man pulls his penis from the vagina.

  • To minimize the risk of leakage, you should remove the condom before the man loses his erection entirely.

Without these precautions, semen can spill from the condom during the removal process. It is this mistake that contributes to the relatively high-risk rate of pregnancy from condoms: Of 100 women whose partners use condoms, approximately 12 will become pregnant during a year of typical use. Obviously, the more careful you are using a condom, the more protection it offers.

The biggest reason for condom failure, however, is failure to use it in the first place. In other words, a couple may say that their method of birth control is the condom, but they only occasionally use condoms. If you rely on condoms to avoid pregnancy or STDs, you must use them every time.

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