How to use condoms properly

Condoms are very effective in preventing pregnancy and some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, as long as you use them properly.

Find out more about using condoms to prevent pregnancy in the birth control section.

Condom storage and safety tips

  • Condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Purses, backpacks. bedside drawers are all good spots for them! Wallets inside clothes’ pockets and glove compartments are definitely not.
  • Condoms can only be used once and one at a time. Don’t ever use 2 condoms together – this only increases the chance of them breaking.
  • Never let Vaseline or oil-based products come in contact with latex condoms. Oils put microscopic holes in the latex.
  • Everyone should carry their own supply of condoms. If you’ve carried it, you know how it’s been stored.
  • Make sure to check the expiry date on the package and squeeze the package to see if there is still air inside the package before opening it.
  • If the condom looks damaged, brittle, or discolored, use a new condom.
  • Keep extra condoms on hand in case one is expired or damaged, or you make a mistake trying to use it.
  • Using a drop of lube inside the  dome of a condom can increase pleasure and the strength of the condom.

Condom instructions

Follow these ten simple steps for proper condom use.

Step 1: Check expiry date and package

Step 1: check expiry date of the condom

Every condom has an expiry date printed on the package. Before using a condom, make sure it has not expired. Check the package for any holes or signs of damage. Don’t use damaged condoms!

Step 2: Erection

Step 2 of condom use: erection

Condoms should be rolled onto the erect penis before any genital contact.

Step 3: Take condom out of package

Step 3: Take condom out of package

Be careful not to snag the condom on the package, your nails, or other objects.

Step 4: Squeeze air from tip of condom

Step 4: Squeeze air from tip of condom

A 1/2” space should be left at the end of the condom to collect semen after ejaculation. Many condoms have a reservoir at the end for this purpose. You can put a small drop of lube in this reservoir to increase feeling and strength. you can also add more lube to the outside of the condom.

Step 5: Roll condom down to base of penis

Step 5: Roll condom down to base of penis

If you accidentally try to put the condom on backwards and it won’t unroll, throw it away and use a new condom. The clear pre-ejaculate fluid on the end of the penis could contain sperm and can carry infections; once a condom has touched the penis you can not safely flip it over.

Step 6: Intercourse

Step 6 of condom use: Intercourse

Always use a new condom if changing from anal to vaginal or oral intercourse.

Dry condoms are more likely to tear, so use a water-based lubricant outside the condom to keep it slippery.

Step 7: Ejaculation

Step 7 of condom use: Ejaculation

After ejaculation, semen should stay completely inside the condom.

Step 8: Hold onto rim of condom and withdraw

Step 8: Hold onto rim of condom and withdraw

After ejaculation the penis quickly becomes smaller. The condom should be held against the base of the penis while the penis is withdrawn, to prevent any leakage.

Step 9: Loss of erection

Step 9 of condom use: Loss of erection

The penis should be withdrawn before the loss of erection, not after.

Step 10: Throw condom in the garbage

Step 10: Throw condom in the garbage

Wrap the used condom in a tissue, and throw it in the garbage. Wash your hands.

Do not try to flush condoms down the toilet! They can cause plumbing problems, come back up and cause privacy issues or end up in the ocean causing environmental issues.