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Condom Breakage


I’m e-mailing you because something happened last night that I genuinely need advice about.
Boyfriend and I were having sex yesterday and really enjoying it, but all of a sudden we looked at each other, both thinking ‘Umm…that feels different’.
Anyway we had a look and it turns out the condom had completely split.
He asked me if I wanted to carry on, I did, so he put on another one and carried on.

I’m not on any other method of contraception. So now I’m quite concerned. I’m not in an utter state of panic, because I know that whatever happens, Boyfriend will be supportive and everything, but I’m still a little concerned.

I’m aware that there are big STD risks with condom breakage, but that’s not what I’m concerned about (he’s been tested between partners, and before me).
I’m concerned that there might be a pregnancy risk, and I’m wondering how big that risk is.
I’ve read on Scarleteen that there’s about a 4% risk of pregnancy, as with the withdrawal method…but I guess I kind of wanted advice from a real, alive, responding person. I know that’s a bit weird but yeah…

This has seriously dented my trust in condoms. I was planning to go on the pill anyway as a backup, but until I do, I’m nervous of having intercourse. This sucks because we both love sex together. We’ve used condoms right from the start and never had any problems but…I don’t know I feel anxious. What if that happened again and we didn’t notice?

I’ve had condoms break too, it really sucks.

There are a few ways that you can assess your actual risk of getting pregnant in a case like this. Had he recently ejaculated? If no, then there’s a decreased risk that there were any live sperm lingering in his plumbing. Where were you in your menstrual cycle? If you’ve got a regular cycle and you either had your period in the last week or two or are about the have your period, there’s a decreased chance that you have a live egg in your system.

You’re probably fine, but to ease your mind, there is a morning after pill that you can get from your doctor (or your pharmacy, depending on where you live); it will cover you for slip-ups like this if you take it within 72 hours of the scare. (Obviously this isn’t really something you should be relying on on a regular basis.)

Not everyone does it, but it is a good idea to try to use multiple forms of birth control at once – the pill is pretty effective, but if you miss a dose or didn’t take it within the correct window of time, you might want to use a condom too, just to be safe. Until you decide if you’re going to use the pill, you can feel more protected using condoms by adding a spermicidal lube or foam, that way if it does split again and sperm do escape, they’ll likely be killed. :)

5 comments to Condom Breakage

  • True. We probably should use more than one method. At the moment, we’re not, I have to admit.

  • Sem

    My wife can’t take birth control pills, so condoms have been our only form of birth control for years. She used to complained about pausing to put on the condom, so I began starting bare until I could grab the condom and open the wrapper (STDs aren’t a concern for us and preventing pregnancy wasn’t a high priority). During the years that I did this, she never got pregnant. And it’s not that were an infertile couple. When trying to get pregnant, she got pregnant in the first month all three times. So, I guess that’s just one person’s anecdotal evidence to not worry so much.

  • Sem

    Not to say that all you young kids should do like me. I’m in a healthy, happy monogamous marriage. I’m just saying you may not have to worry so much about the slip up.

    On the flip side, in a relationship I was in during college, the condom slipped. We panicked. My girlfriend and I decided to go for the morning after pill. After that, our sex life fizzled and so did the relationship.

  • Shay

    Sem, there’s also the stories about people who started off bare and then got pregnant – so people really shouldn’t take a risk based on one person’s story about how they managed to play the odds and “win”.

  • Or do like a lot of people are doing now and get an IUD. It doesn’t prevent STDs but it’s certainly a very dependable birth control method. No chance of it ‘splitting’, or forgetting it. I’m glad that I have mine; no more worrying if I remembered to put on my patch (note that I’m married so the STD problem isn’t something I worry about at this point)

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