Condom Breakage Survey: Let’s do some SCIENCE!

Coturnix pointed out that many people may feel too shy to just put their condom breakage experiences in the comments, but Sci is extremely curious to find out why condoms in general break in the population. So she made a SURVEY!* Please do take it, and I’ll graph up the results in a few days.
*Of course all information entered will be completely confidential. I will be using this survey exclusively for the purposes of enlightening the internet, and possibly enlightening the people who take it when they see the results. There is no obligation to take the survey and you may exit at any time.
Also, please let me know if there are any major questions I may have missed on the survey. Sci has never made a survey before, and if her first job is shoddy, she would really like to improve in the future.
The survey can be found here: Click Here to take survey
High n’s are always better! Please share with your friends! And in the comments on the survey, please try to keep it clinical. My cat reads over my shoulder sometimes.

17 Responses

  1. Perhaps make the survey more temporal, e.g., put the questions in the past tense, or even have a question, e.g., “how did you fix the problem so it does not break any more?”
    The question about fit is unclear – perhaps break it down into two, one about the fit of the condom on the penis, the other about the fit between the penis and the vagina?

  2. I think it could use a greater range of time factors.

  3. Ooooh, good points, guys.
    Coturnix: I shall add another question on fit. I shall also add a question on how they have fixed problems.
    Greg: I actually don’t know what kind of time factors I’m dealing with. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Ok, some changes have been made. I also wanted to include a question as to which brands people have found that had the worst luck with, but Survey Monkey is limiting me to 10 questions. 😦 Further suggestions appreciated!!

  5. Much better now. I think you can get a decent DaveMunger-like post out of it within a few days.
    I posted the link to this post on Twitter and FriendFeed so you may get a sufficiently large N, I hope.

  6. I tweeted it for you as well, so I hope that helps your n. For a suggestion: could you perhaps put a statement at the top on what exactly you plan to do with the data? That might help people decide on honesty in participation.

  7. Thanks guys! Grrl, do you mean at the beginning of the survey? Or do you want it stated in this post more clearly? I can do both.

  8. You can’t answer any of the questions after 1 if you’ve never had a condom break.

  9. You don’t ask for even a rough estimate of the denominator. One break out of two condoms is very different than one break out of 500. You might suggest ways to calculate this, but any way will lead to wild variation (and probably some amount of recall bias). An estimate of the total number of uses would let you get some sense of the overall frequency of breakage.
    As Jackal says, Q2-4 and Q7-9 are irrelevant if Q1 is “never”.
    I have never had a condom break in many many hundreds of uses. This is true despite the fact that regular condoms are extremely tight on me, and I have only recently switched to large-sized condoms. My experience convinces me that breakage is almost entirely due to user error, and probably to a failure to stop when lubrication is insufficient.

  10. not my real name: an excellent point. I’m not really sure how to assess percentage of condom breakage, because you’d have to ask for number of sexual encounters where a condom was used, presumably during a given time period, and I’m not sure most people would remember exact numbers. Also, I was given to understand that condom breakage is generally REALLY rare, so I guess I thought it wouldn’t be a high percentage, even in the worst case. I could be wrong, though.
    And hey, I assume that if you answer the first question “never”, then you don’t have to do the rest of the survey. 🙂 You get out of some work! And considering the survey is ABOUT condom breakage, if you’ve never had a condom break, why are you complaining?

  11. Hint: don’t use superglue to fix a broken condom, especially not whilst it’s being worn….

  12. the survey was closed so I will say this… I have never had a condom break on me. It is the only form of contraception the hubs and I use. We keep them in a cool dry place, they are never old, if the wrapper looks questionable (worn out, doesn’t have the same “flex” another one would, etc) we toss it. That’s all. I must also add, we have gone through quite a lot of them, so those are pretty good odds on my end.

  13. Hi Scicurious,
    Looks like you’ve hit your limit on number of responses to your survey. I’ve got an unlimited Survey Monkey account so if you want to continue collecting data, contact me at dsmunger — at — gmail — dot — com and we can recreate the survey on my account.

  14. Thanks, Dave!!! I will be in contact. Sorry guys, it’s my first itme using survey monkey. I am upset at its limitations. 😦

  15. Ok, everyone, Dave is graciously hosting the new version. The questions remain the same. Click Here to take survey Thanks so much for your patience!

  16. Perhaps you could just include a multiple-choice denominator question, like “Is the total number of times you have used a condom closer to, 10 50 100 250 500 1000”. You might include some guidance — e.g., once every two weeks over 20 years is about 500 — as a basis for estimating. I do think breakage is rare, but how rare would be interesting to know.
    And of course, I’m not looking for extra work! It’s more of a question of what information is available. Surely there is a lot of information contained in the histories of those who’ve never had a condom break. Your survey is more akin to a case-only study than a case-control study, and as an epidemiologist, it feels like you’re missing half the story.
    A completely different approach would be to ask only about the last one or two condom uses (or sexual experiences; not the same). You would have very few reported breaks, but much more reliable information about them if they did occur.
    Not that I’m to complicate the survey any more than you need to 🙂

  17. Good points, not my real name. Unfortunately, in the ten questions I was given, I wasn’t really sure how to add in the case control. Also, yeah, I’m not an epidemiologist, I admit. 🙂
    And yes, how rare would be REALLY interesting. Perhaps I will need to make another survey…

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