Patient Information: Birth Control
How to Use a Condom
Prepared by the editors of Medical Aspects of
Human Sexuality in collaboration with Reed Adams,
PhD, Emanuel Fliegelman, DO, and Alan Grieco, PhD.
Sexual abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and sexually
transmitted disease, including AIDS. If you do decide to have sex, correct
use of a condom will help you to protect yourself and your partner against
these risks. This guide tells you how to use a condom for maximum protection.
|Do buy a supply of latex, reservoir (nipple) end, lubricated type condoms. They're available in different colors, textures, and sometimes in two different sizes. A good quality condom is the most important feature for safer sex.
Do check expiration date on outer package.
Do check name of lubricant:it should contain nonoxynol-9, which provides a chemical barrier against sexually transmitted diseases.
Do store in a cool dry place.
Do carry a condom with you at all times
|Don't buy condoms made of any material other than latex. (Only latex prevents passage of harmful germs.)
Don't buy old (outdated) condoms.
Don't store condoms in hot glove compartment of car. Heat can damage the condom.
Don't carry in hip wallet for long periods of time - this shortens shelf life.
Don't be shy about buying condoms - 40% are sold to women.
How to Put the Condom On
|Do remove rolled condom from package. |
Do roll condom down on penis as soon as it is hard, before you start to make love (foreplay).
Do leave 1/4-1/2 inch extra space at tip of condom to catch the ejaculate if the condom has no nipple.
|Don't unroll condom: instead, carefully roll on all the way toward the base of the penis.
Don't put condom on only when you are ready to enter your partner - it may be too late. Drops of semen may ooze from the uncovered penis before ejaculation, and may infect or impregnate your partner.
Don't twist, bite, or prick condom with a pin - this will damage it and allow fluid to leak out, possibly infecting your partner.
How to Take the Condom Off, Special Points
|Do hold the condom at the rim; remove soon after ejaculation. |
Do keep used condom away from partner's genitals and other areas of the body as well.
Don't let penis go soft inside partner - condom may drop off and protection is lost
Don't tug to pull condom off - it may tear.
Don't allow semen to spill on your hands or body. Wash hands or body parts if contact occurs. Wrap condom in tissue and dispose of safely.
Don't allow semen to come in contact with a skin break, cut, or open wound.
- If you buy unlubricated condoms, you may need to buy a lubricant. Use only water-soluble lubricants such as spermicidal jelly or water.
- Don't use oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly or vegetable oil with latex condoms, since they can damage the condoms
- Never use a condom more than once.
Correct use of condoms increases comfort, and promotes a sense of security in having safer sex.
|How to talk about condoms with a resistant, defensive, or manipulative partner.
|If the partner says:
||You can say:
||If the partner says:
||You can say:
|"I'm on the Pill, you don't need a condom."
||"I'd like to use it anyway. We'll both be protected from infections we may not realize we have.
||"What kinds of alternatives?"
||"Maybe we'll just pet, or postpone sex for a while."
|"I know I'm clean (disease-free): I haven't had sex with anyone in X months."
||"Thanks for telling me. As far as I know, I'm disease-free, too. But I'd still like to use a condom since either of us could have an infection and not know it."
||"This is an insult! Do you think I'm some sort of disease-ridden slut (gigolo)?"
||"I didn't say or imply that, I care for you, but in my opinion, it's best to use a condom."
|"I'm a virgin."
||"I'm not. This way we'll both be protected."
||"None of my other boyfriends uses a condom. A real man isn't afraid."
||"Please don't compare me to them. A real man cares about the woman he dates, himself, and about their relationship."
|I can't feel a thing when I wear a condom; it's like wearing a raincoat in the shower."
||"Even if you lose some sensation, you'll still have plenty left."
||"I love you! Would I give you an infection?"
||"Not intentionally. But many people don't know they're infected. That's why this is best for both of us right now."
|"I'll lose my erection by the time I stop and put it on."
||I'll help you put it on - that'll help you keep it."
||"Just this once."
||"Once is all it takes."
|"By the time you put it on, I'm out of the mood."
||"Maybe so, but we feel strongly enough for each other to stay in the mood."
||"I don't have a condom with me."
||"I do." Or "Then let's satisfy each other without intercourse."
|"It destroys the romantic atmosphere."
||"It doesn't have to be that way."
||"You carry a condom around with you? You were planning to seduce me!"
||"I always carry one with me because I care about myself. I have one with me tonight because I care about us both."
|"Condoms are unnatural, fake, a total turnoff."
||"Please let's try to work this out - an infection isn't so great either. So let's give the condom a try. Or maybe we can look for alternatives."
||"I won't have sex with you if you're going to use a condom."
||"So let's put it off until we can agree." Or "OK, then let's try some other things besides intercourse."
|Adapted from the article "Cutting the Risks for STDs" by Alan Grieco, PhD, which appeared in the March 1987 issue of Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality.
Hospital Publications, Inc., 500 Plaza Drive,
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Peer Review Status: Internally
Peer Review Date: 2004