My partner's condom keeps coming off inside me — Why?


Quite often when my boyfriend and I have sex, the condom disappears into my vagina. As you can imagine, it is extremely mood killing and a little disconcerting for me to have to reach up there and find it. I read your response to another couple with the same problem, and we'll definitely make sure to hold onto the condom before pulling out. I use Depo-Provera (so the condom is used just to be extra sure), so I'm not particularly worried about pregnancy. What I would like to know, though, is why this happens to us so often? I've never lost condoms with any other partners. I also have the feeling sometimes that it might be coming off before ejaculation. This seems to happen quite frequently (one out of every two or three times we have sex). It's kind of frustrating. Is there anything else we could do differently?

Dear Reader, 

A condom that continuously slips off can be quite frustrating, especially if it keeps killing the mood. External (also called male) condom slippage can be caused by a few different factors, such as condom size (length and width), lubrication, and how they're used. Next time your partner puts on a condom, you might want to check the fit. Is the condom snug around the shaft of his penis? Did your boyfriend roll the condom down all the way down? Is there extra material hanging or bunched up? They don't call it a "love glove" for nothing. So be sure that the condom “fits like a glove” and doesn't slide around on him while he's sliding around in you. It’s wise to keep in mind that brands and styles of condoms are varied. Perhaps sampling a few to see which ones provide a better fit may be helpful. Additionally, if you and your partner feel that external condoms simply aren’t for you, you may want to try internal condoms (also known as female condoms), which are inserted into the vagina or anus before sex. 

Secondly, while wet can be wild, using too much lube could be your problem. If you're putting lubricant inside the condom, you could try putting just a drop or two in at the tip or go without lube on the inside altogether. You may also want to consider buying un-lubed condoms and using lube only on the outside. Moreover, since you mention you’re on the birth control shot, it's possible that vaginal dryness (commonly experienced by people using that method) could cause a pulling effect on the condom as you and your partner are moving back and forth. If this is the case, more lubrication could be in order. 

Another factor to consider is your position during sex. Have you noticed that the condom escapes only when you and your partner are in certain positions? If he were on his back when you make love, for example, would the condom be less likely to come off? Trying several positions to see what keeps the condom in place may not only help you diagnose the problem but also could spice up your routine as well. 

Condoms are made to fit tightly on an erect penis, so another factor to check is whether your boyfriend is keeping his erection during sex. Erections can come and go (perfectly normal, by the way); if this is the case, the condom may loosen its grip and slip off. Holding the condom when he goes to remove his penis from you may help it stay on as he pulls out. 

Lastly, although it can be challenging to talk about these topics, the best way to figure out what's going on with your boyfriend down there may be asking him what he thinks is causing the issue. It's possible that he knows what the problem is but is embarrassed to tell you or assumes you already know. It’s wise to keep in mind the power of open, honest communication! 

Hopefully your sleuthing will be successful, and you'll enjoy the detective work in the meantime! 

Last updated Apr 30, 2021
Originally published Nov 16, 2001

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