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Double bagging is the slang term for putting two condoms on a single penis before sexual activity. A person who double bags attempts to protect himself further against sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy. There is no scientific evidence that wearing two condoms provides greater protection than wearing one correctly. In fact, they may reduce protection.
Double bagging in a sexual context should not be confused with other non-sexual activities that share the same name, like using two teabags for strong tea or putting two carry bags inside one another at the store for strength.
Men may be motivated to double bag if they aren’t ready to be a father or suspect that their female partners are not diligently using female birth control. They may also practice double bagging when sleeping with people they suspect may not have a clean bill of sexual health, like promiscuous women or sex workers.
However, medical practitioners worry that two condoms may wear against one another during sex and one or both will tear during intercourse. One study suggests tearing will occur one in five times during double bagging, compared to one in 50 times for regular condom use. For this reason, people are cautioned against double bagging, as well as using a male and female condom at the same time.
If you’re motivated to double bag to provide further protection against pregnancy, you may like to use a condom with another hormonal contraceptive method, like the Pill or the Patch. Spermicides can also make condom use more effective.
If a fear of breakage motivates your desire to double bag, you may like to use a personal lubricant. Personal lubricants can reduce friction against the condom which in turn makes tears less likely. Water-soluble or silicon lubricants should be used with condoms as they do not corrode the latex or latex-like material like oil-based lubricants can.