Use a condom every time you have sex
It is important to have a conversation with your partner(s) about condom use to keep each other safe, healthy and free from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An external condom (sometimes called a traditional condom) can be used to cover the penis, or an internal condom can be inserted into the vagina or anus. See below for more on each type of condom.
No matter which type of condom you use, there are some tips that always apply:
- Condoms should be stored in a dry, cool environment and out of direct sunlight or other sources of heat which can degrade the condom. Do not keep condoms in a wallet unless you plan to use them immediately (i.e., that day/night). The best place to store condoms include: a nightstand or dresser drawer, medicine cabinet or a secure container in your purse or bag.
- Always make sure your condom is properly lubricated with water or silicone-based lubricant. Silicone-based lubricant is safe for any condom and while often more expensive than water-based, less lubricant is needed because it does not dry up as quickly. Oil-based lubricant should NOT be used with latex condoms and is not recommended for use inside the body.
- Never reuse a condom—ever.
- Don’t unroll the condom first. Condoms are packaged neatly rolled up for a reason—they are easier to apply safely and intact.
- We can’t overemphasize the importance of wearing the right size condom. If a condom is too large, it will feel uncomfortable for both partners and possibly slip off during intercourse. When a condom is too small, it may rip or tear. Both scenarios will not only ruin the moment, they will leave you unprotected.
- Applying extra lubrication has multiple benefits, including increasing sensitivity and pleasure for all partners and preventing the condom from tearing from friction. While some condoms are lubricated, the amount of lube applied is minimal and may not last through an entire session. To increase sensation for the insertive partner, add a drop or two of water or silicone-based lubricant to the inside of the condom before putting it on. Then apply a lubricant to the outside of the condom for extra glide.
- Never use oil based lubricants with condoms! Oil based lubricants can break down the materials from which condoms are made (especially latex!) Be sure to always use water or silicone-based lubricant instead.
IF THE CONDOM BREAKS OR SLIPS
It is rare for an external or internal condom to break or slip if you’re using it correctly. If the condom breaks or slips during use, either partner may be at a higher risk of infection. A sexually active person, even one in a committed relationship, should be screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every year. However, if a condom breaks or slips, it’s a good idea to get tested more frequently.
External Condom Directions
Putting on an External Condom
- Carefully tear open the foil along one side. Do NOT use sharp objects (including teeth, jewelry or long fingernails) to open the foil because it may damage the condom.
- Put a drop or two of water-based lubricant inside the condom.
- Put the condom on after the penis is fully erect and before intimate contact. If not circumcised, pull back the foreskin before rolling on the condom.
- Pinch the air out of the tip of the condom with one hand while placing over the tip of the erect penis.
- Unroll the condom all the way to the base of the penis and smooth out any air bubbles. Leave a bit of extra room at the tip to collect semen.
- Use plenty of water-based lubricant. Do NOT use oil-based lubricants because they can damage the latex.
Removing an External Condom
- Immediately after ejactulation, hold the rim of the condom in place and withdraw the penis while it is still erect to avoid spilling the semen.
- Throw the condom away.
- Do not put it into the toilet.
Internal Condom Directions
Internal condoms, or sometimes referred to as female condoms, are a great alternative to traditional condoms and allow the receptive partner to have more control over whether or not a condom is used. These condoms can be used for vaginal or anal sex.*
* Internal condoms also can be used for anal sex, except the “insertion” (inner ring) MUST be removed to avoid potential complications with intestinal obstruction.
Inserting an Internal Condom
- Rub the outside of the pouch together to be sure the lubricant is evenly spread inside the pouch from the bottom to the top.
- Carefully tear open the package. Do NOT use sharp objects to open because it may damage the condom.
- To insert for vaginal sex use, squeeze the “insertion” (inner) ring in the middle, making an 8 shape, then insert pinched portion into the vagina. For anal sex, REMOVE the inner “insertion” (inner) ring to avoid potential complications. Insertion for anal sex can easily be done by placing the condom on the partner’s penis or sex toy and then being slowly inserted by penetration.
- Next insert finger(s) inside the condom to place further into the vagina or anus and secure. This can be difficult to do, so you may have to try several times. Be sure the condom is not twisted. When inserted properly, about one inch of the outer ring will hang outside the body, then intercourse can begin.
Removing an Internal Condom
- Squeeze and twist the outer ring and gently pull the condom out.
- Wrap the condom in the package or tissue, and throw it in the garbage.
- Do not put it into the toilet.