Condom discomfort and associated problems with their use among university students

Richard Crosby, William L. Yarber, Stephanie A. Sanders, Cynthia A. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


In addition to consistent use, condoms must be used correctly. The purpose of this study was to identify prevalence and types of condom-associated discomfort among university students, the outcomes of this discomfort, and the role of discomfort in condom breakage. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 206 students attending a private university in the southern United States. We assessed 3 potential outcomes: breakage, not using condoms throughout sex, and low condom-use motivation. Nearly one third reported discomfort, including tightly fitting condoms, vaginal irritation, and loss of sensation. Discomfort was associated with breakage (p = .0001), incomplete use (p = .0001), and less motivation to use condoms (p = .018). Gender moderated the latter 2 findings. Adjusted findings indicate that students reporting discomfort were 3.6 times more likely to also report breakage (p = .0009). Continued investigation of this topic is warranted. Prevention education may benefit university students by promoting several key practices, such as adding lubricant to condoms before they dry out and acquiring condoms that fit properly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-147
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Breakage
  • Condoms
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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