On Condom Failure

On Condom Failure

I have always thought that sex ed and statistics should be the same course. There’s no better way to show how vital stats is to your every day life than to look at statistics. Probabilities are so easy to misunderstand, and there are a lot that go into understanding the outcomes of sexual activity.

There’s a ton I didn’t get into here…like that a common trap is that, in a pinch, one might have unprotected sex with no negative outcome, and that makes it /feel/ much safer for future times. Which, I think, is a common trap people fall into.

There’s also the fact that a 2% chance sounds pretty tiny, but it really does mean that, on average, if you have 50 couples using condoms perfectly, one of them is going to get pregnant in any given year. That’s gonna seem weird and surprising and improbable and unfair to that couple, but statistically, it’s exactly what we expected. Probabilities eventually collapse into reality, and then that couple no longer has a 2% chance of probability, they have a 100% chance, because they’re pregnant, and everyone else has a 0% chance.

Being one of the two percent isn’t that weird.

Here’s the video I made on probability in 2010 that I’m actually pretty proud of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpvE0Co66nU

Most of the information used in this video came from the AMAZING AND WONDERFUL Guttmacher institute: https://www.guttmacher.org/

Contraceptive Use in the US: https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/contraceptive-use-united-states

Unintended Pregnancy Rates: https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states

IUDs Cause Decrease in Unintended Pregnancies: https://www.vox.com/2016/3/2/11148108/unplanned-pregnancy-larc-iud

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20 Responses

  1. Harvey Rain says:

    pretty sure im a condom failure

  2. Robert Molloy says:

    Hey Hank! Thank you for doing this! As a sex educator this really helps πŸ’•

  3. WateverWatever04 says:

    Whoa I thought this was gonna be a really weird way of Hank announcing a second kid πŸ˜…

  4. Elijah Nelson says:

    I see you 3blue1brown shirt.

  5. marie mac says:

    “Get those broken condoms off the couch”
    “Honey don’t call the kids that”

  6. Thoughts And feels says:

    John: has a upload schedule mostly about the same things in his life.
    Hank : talks about whatever but today about sex

  7. Chae Howard says:

    Dr. Lindsay Doe would be so proud, Hank.

  8. nmartin60 says:

    Raw data πŸ˜πŸ˜‚

  9. Thomas Clifford says:

    *shudders*….. Hank talking about statistics ewwww

  10. Sandra de Vries says:

    Wait wait, why is sex-ed in the US taught by basket ball coaches?

  11. Katie Jones says:

    Hank, you may find it interesting to know that I didn’t even get statistics in my sex Ed class! My state has a mandatory abstinence only policy. So we got discussions on how to properly take people on dates and not have sex with them.

  12. Clifford Bryan john Wilson says:

    This is why I really wish that Scishow Statistics was a thing. Even a Scishow Sociology for which Stats is a pretty major part of it would be cool. O well, I guess I’ll just wait on the Nerdfiteria census and following Hankschannel vid.

  13. Reggie LovesLife says:

    Something that’s always made me uncomfortable is the stereotypes around birth control. So I’m 16 and I’m on the pill but I’ve never had sex. I take the pill because because I’m anemic and I need to keep as much blood in my body as I can. I use it control my period. My friend has an implant in her arm. She isn’t currently active but her and her mother say better safe than sorry. Both of us try to tell as little people as possible. When I first stared the pill I had a smuggle it into church camp so they won’t yell at me for having sex (that I wasn’t) can people who have birth control in place not be called rude names and assumed to be as hank would say “humping the town”

  14. vlogbrothers says:

    I’m pinning this comment to answer some frequent questions I’ve seen down in the comments below.

    1. So what are the official per-use rates of unintended pregnancy with condoms?
    There aren’t any! When researchers study this, they look at sexually active couples that use only condoms and then report the rate of unintended pregnancy. They do not report how many times those couples have sex. Using separate data on how often the average couple has sex (which varies tremendously) I calculated that between 0.01% and 0.005% of properly encondomed boinks result in unintended pregnancy. That’s between 1 in 10,000 and one in 20,000. The wide range is because it’s unclear how much people have sex and rates of unintended pregnancies also have a range.

    2. How are condoms so frequently misused?!
    Usually it’s that use is inconsistent. People may put them on half way through, they might think they’re not at a dangerous time of the month, they might just take a risk when there isn’t a condom handy. Also, proper use requires that you use plenty of water-based lubrication, with the proper size, and that your condoms aren’t expired.

    3. How do people get pregnant when using a condom properly?
    Condoms break. It really does happen. You don’t ever think it will until it does!

    4. What’s the difference between an unintended and an unwanted pregnancy?
    Many people want a baby, they just don’t want it exactly 9 months from now. So when one of those couples gets pregnant, it’s usually referred to as “mis-timed” because, like, they 100% want the baby. Mis-timed and unwanted pregnancies are lumped together as “unintended” and I think that’s fair.

    5. Why did a basketball coach teach you sex ed?

    Leave more questions below and I’ll try to answer!

  15. Jonny B says:

    Where can i get that shirt?

  16. buggibat says:

    Also the statistic doesn’t account for the relative fertility of either party. For example, my parents “didn’t try but also didn’t try not to” have a baby and were married for 10 years before my mom got pregnant with me. Likelihoods of getting pregnant are highly individual.

  17. MrNicoJac says:

    Wait, what is the difference between an implant and an IUD?

  18. GigaBoost says:

    Sponsored by Durex without telling us, boo

  19. 3Blue1Brown says:

    Nice shirt πŸ˜‰

  20. MythicalRedFox says:

    Please do a follow-up video on STI transmission probabilities, because as you said that and pregnancy are two different jobs condoms do and that statistic only measures one. As a gay man, I appreciated this video but did not find it to be useful information.

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