Q. After having sex, I found a hole in the condom
After the intercourse,
I found the condom had two tiny holes in it
that could leak water from inside.
I don't know the HIV status of my partner.
How are my odds of getting infected?
- The Body, HIV Resource media, anonymous
A. Advice from Dr. Rick Sowadsky
In 1999, the question above was featured in the well-known HIV information platform “The Body” in the USA. The story of the questioner testing the used condom for any leaks after filling it with water is what we know today as “the water balloon test”. Condom users 23 years ago wanted to check their used condoms afterward, just like us, and used water to test them.
The first sentence in reply to this question is as follows:
“You should never test a condom yourself to see if there are any holes in it.”
Why did Rick Sowadsky, a public health doctor and expert in infectious diseases, answer so firmly?
Dr. Sowadsky added, “this is, of course, assuming you used the condom correctly” after the warning.
In summary, what’s most important is to know how to use the condom correctly to make sure there are no tears, and the water balloon test is not recommended since it is not a reliable test and there is a risk of infections.
How to do the water balloon test safely
Not all experts are pessimistic about the water balloon test. Jung Soo-yeon, the author of the sex education book “The Truth About Your Vagina,” introduces this test in a positive light and suggests trying the test.
Because the test does have the advantage of being able to check visibly the sturdiness of the condom and put your mind at ease. But don’t overlook the potentially dangerous factors.
If you want to try the water balloon test, be sure to follow the safety rules below.
- Before the test
Remove the condom properly. You shouldn’t remove it too fast or too slowly. While holding on to the root of the penis, the condom must be removed carefully to prevent any contents from flowing out.
- During the test
Be sure to avoid semen or other fluids getting on your body. It’s important to control the water pressure when filling the condom with water. When you search for the water balloon test online, you can easily find stories of being at a loss because the condom broke while filling it with water.
- After the test
Wash the area that came in contact with the condom. You should not touch the other parts of the body in case the bodily fluid remains on your hands. Tie the tested condom tightly and throw it in the trash bin.
What’s even more important than the test
Just as Dr. Sowadsky said, it’s best to learn how to use the condom properly to prevent it from getting torn in the first place.
It could mean that the condom was too small if it tears or breaks during sex, or it could mean that it was too big if it comes off. The condom needs to fit perfectly to prevent it from moving around freely.
🖤 Check for any damages
Before and while putting on the condom, see if there is any damage and check for any abnormal areas by examining it with your hands. For example, you could regularly check the condom when changing positions during sex.
🖤 Check the expiration date
The latex of a condom whose expiration date has passed could become damaged and has a higher chance of tearing due to being too dry. Be sure to check the expiration date as it can vary depending on the brand and type of the condom.
🖤 Don’t put it on too late
It is extremely dangerous to put on a condom around the time of ejaculation while having penetrative sex without a condom. A very small amount of semen can be discharged before ejaculation, and penetration without a condom can lead to the transmission of STI’s.
🖤 Don’t reuse or use for a long time
Friction can cause the condom to wear and break easily. Changing to a new condom is recommended to continue having intercourse if it’s been 30 minutes or more. And never reuse a condom.