How to use condoms

How to use condoms — 10 simple steps to getting it right

1. Resist the urge to buy extra large condoms — if a condom is too large, it will be too loose on the penis and is more likely to slide off. Be realistic and buy a size that fits securely on your erect penis.

2. Open the package carefully and don't use sharp objects like scissors or your teeth to open the wrapper. Take care that the condom is not damaged with fingernails, jewellery etc.

3. Press out the air at the tip of the condom before putting it on — an air bubble in the condom could result in the condom tearing or falling off. Make sure the foreskin is pulled back before you put on the condom.

4. With the rolled rim on the outside, put the condom over the erect penis — don’t waste your time trying to put a condom on a flaccid penis. Be careful to put the condom on before there is contact with your partner’s vaginal area.

5. Unroll the condom down over the entire erect penis. If there is a reservoir tip, first squeeze out the air. If there is no tip, leave a half-inch space at the end for semen and squeeze the air out.

6. Smooth out any air bubbles and check that the condom fits securely.

7. After ejaculation, but before the penis is soft, hold the condom firmly at the rim and carefully withdraw from your partner. This is to ensure that semen is not leaked.

8. Don’t even think of re-using a condom. Equally, if you put a condom on backwards and it doesn’t unroll easily, don't just flip it over. There may be semen in the condom, so use another.

9. Store condoms in a cool, dry place. Extreme temperatures and body heat weaken condoms, so don’t store them in your wallet, trouser pocket or glove compartment for more than a couple of weeks. Oil-based jellies and creams, such as Vaseline, will damage condoms. However, water-based lubricants such as KY Jelly are safe.

10. Condoms do not get better with age — throw them away if they're past the expiry date or four years past the manufacturing date.

For further information on condoms, contraception and safer sex, check out our sexual health section.

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