Condom use errors and problems among college men

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background: An essential yet understudied aspect of condom use is whether they are used correctly. Goal: The goal of the study was to comprehensively evaluate condom use errors and problems reported by heterosexual college men (N = 158). Study Design: A cross-sectional survey, involving a 3-month recall period, was conducted. Results: Of the 158 participants, 60% did not discuss condom use with their partner before sex; 42% reported they wanted to use condoms but did not have any available; 43% put condoms on after starting sex; 15% removed condoms before ending sex; 40% did not leave space at the tip; 30% placed the condom upside down on the penis and had to flip it over; and 32% reported losing erections in association with condom use. Nearly one-third reported breakage or slippage during sex. Few participants reported errors related to lubrication, storage, and reusing condoms. Higher error scores were associated with breakage/slippage rather than with consistency of condom use. Conclusion: Condom use errors were common, and error scores were associated with breakage and slippage. Increasing the focus on correcting potential user failures may be an important public health strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-557
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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