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The Kinsey Institute 

Condom use

Condoms are a critical public health strategy for disease and pregnancy prevention. But their effectiveness hinges on more than consistent use. Men and women must also use them correctly. Kinsey Institute’s Condom Use Research Team (CURT) fills an important gap in safe-sex research by studying the reasons condoms can fail. 

Why do we need condom research?

Condoms are the cornerstone of efforts to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI) and pregnancies. Still, one in two people will contract an STI by age 25. People under 25 also comprise almost half of new HIV infections in the US—the majority through sexual behavior. Could proper condom use prevent some of these infections?

Challenges to correct condom use

2008 study of men attending an STD clinic reported that in the previous three months

- 29% put the condom on upside down and then turned it over
- 28.4% removed the condom before completing intercourse
- 30% experienced problems with the fit or feel of the condom
- 31% had a condom break
- 28.1% had erection loss while applying the condom

Further, men who experience condom associated erection problems (CAEP) also report inconsistent condom use and not using condoms for the complete act of intercourse.

If condom use is incorrect, it won't protect. Understanding and addressing these reasons is critical to preventing STI transmission and unplanned pregnancy.


Research Methods

CURT researchers use telephone and online surveys, focus groups, and interviews to document findings. They also involve diverse groups of people, including:

- College students
- STI and family planning clinic patients
- Online survey respondents