photo of a bad banana Image: Joe_Potato/iStock

If ever there was a story that should encourage lovers to use only safety-approved condoms from official retailers of sex products, then this is it.

The Sun has been reporting on a story about an unnamed 30-year-old man, who was tempted into buying condoms that promised "extended pleasure" and to decrease the likelihood of premature ejaculation.

So far, so good, you might think. He was acting responsibly in preventing unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, plus he was giving himself the chance to really show off his sexual prowess to his partner.

Unfortunately, that's where the positives ended, because the condoms the man had purchased contained a local anaesthetic suspending ingredient called benzocaine.

Not only does this sound potentially dodgy by anyone's standards, but the unlucky guy was also allergic to the medication and went on to suffer an extreme reaction.

After his penis started to swell up and parts went black, the man rushed to hospital for emergency treatment - where it was discovered that he had severe contact dermatitis and the beginnings of gangrene.

A team led by a doctor named Dr Ashish Sharma had to administer antibiotics and operate to cut away the rotting tissue, as well as carrying out further skin grafts - all because of a single condom.

"This is believed to be the first ever documented case of allergic contact dermatitis and subsequent penile gangrene due to benzocaine-containing latex condom," Dr Sharma commented n his case write-up.

It's worth saying that this all happened in India, where regulations and safety standards are far more lax than over here, but it just goes to show the horror stories that can occur if you use products that haven't been safety-approved.

In fact, some of the promotional condoms given out at events such as university fresher's weeks and club openings are even marked 'do not use' because they haven't been checked and so can only really be labelled 'toys' - something many people who don't check the small print are likely to be completely unaware of.

If you're buying condoms, always check for two things: the Kitemark, a registered trademark owned by the British Standard Institution as a sign of reliability, and the CE mark, a European Economic Area symbol of licence approval.

These logos mean condoms have met rigorous standards of production and testing and are therefore safe to use.

You should also buy only from good-quality retailers such as mycondom.com, where you can be assured of proper safety standards.