When used correctly, condoms are highly effective at preventing unintended consequences, such as breakage or slippage. However, even when used correctly, mishaps can still occur, and the statistics on condom breakage vary widely, ranging from 1% to 30% of people experiencing this issue. Personally, I have had numerous sexual encounters, and it happened to me just once.
I've always carried condoms in my purse, with a preference for vegan and female health-focused brands, but I didn't insist on using my preferred condoms with my partners. I had them with me just in case, but if someone wanted to use their own, I was fine with it.
Earlier this year, while traveling through Europe, I decided to stay in London for five weeks to enjoy the culture (seduce every single person with a uk accent). It was during this sexy holiday that I went on a date with a man named Luke. I had already had several encounters by this point, all of which went smoothly – the only condom-related issue being the usual "we don't have to wear one if you don't want to" discussion. What is it with English men and their love for raw sex with strangers?
Luke and I had a fantastic date in Peckham, filled with engaging conversation and a shared attraction. It was obvious the date was a success, and when he invited me to his beautiful house, I accepted eagerly. After meeting his adorable dog and exploring every room, we ended up in his bed.
I don't set high expectations when I have sex with someone new. I don't anticipate mind-blowing orgasms or marathon sessions. What I do expect is that my partner cares about my pleasure to some extent, just as I do about theirs. Unfortunately, my low expectations weren't met that night.
Our encounter was mediocre, with minimal foreplay, Luke's refusal to use the condoms I offered, no interest in incorporating any kinks or toys, and the main event being a brief session of silent (!!) P-in-V sex. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy a good pounding, but if that's the centerpiece, at least make it memorable. I was left craving more.
As Luke was pulling out, he said the dreaded, "uh oh". "What is it?" I asked panicked. He showed me the broken condom, and my eyes widened. What kind of crusty old condom did this guy use on me? I wish I had pushed a bit harder to use the ones I carry. Ugh, now I have to go get tested again. Where am I on my cycle? Is there a chance of pregnancy? Do I have to take emergency contraception for the first time in my life? The thoughts came rushing as I put my fingers inside my vagina to look for the condom piece that got away.
Thankfully, I managed to retrieve it. Luke seemed uncomfortable and reluctant to discuss the matter. I understood that these things happen, and it was nobody's fault, but I would have appreciated a conversation. Instead, I watched him get dressed in a hurry and rush off to the living room, leaving me with my anxious thoughts.
I added several tasks to my mental to-do list:
Get tested for STIs.
Confirm I'm nowhere near ovulation (avoiding the morning-after pill if possible).
Have an honest conversation with Luke about his communication skills.
Find ways to prevent a repeat of this experience.
The last point was the most crucial for me. How could I ensure that people would use the condoms I offered, especially when they might trust big brands and be unfamiliar with the smaller, female health-focused brands I love? I have to consider that some people have had bad experiences with condoms that were given to them as well.
Since that incident, I've experimented with different approaches. What has worked best for me is explaining why I prefer vegan condoms and brands that prioritize excellent ingredients and female health. I asked them if they’re interested in trying this new brand and telling me what they thought. People love giving their opinion so it’s worked really well.
This experience has empowered me in my sexual journey. I've taken more control of my sexual health and made my boundaries and preferences clear. Fortunately, I haven't had any more condom breakages, slip-offs, or disappearing acts since that incident.