How Do I Use Condoms? in Sex

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Using condoms is the only way to protect against pregnancy AND sexually transmitted infections.

They also make oral sex safer.

Condoms can be up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy

You can get free condoms from your doctor or Sexual Health Clinic

There are latex-free condoms for people with rubber allergy

How do I use condoms?

Every condom packet has an instruction leaflet inside. Take the time to look at the diagrams and read it.

If you've never used condoms before, it's a good idea to get some practice in.

Guys - try putting one on by yourself so won't be fumbling and swearing when 'the time' comes.

Which condom should I use?:

  • choose condoms with the CE mark - a recognised safety standard
  • don't use 'novelty' condoms - they are not safe
  • use extra, water-based lubrication with your condoms for safer anal sex
  • never use two condoms together (even male and female condoms

How to use condoms:

  • Place the condom over the tip of the erect penis.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to squeeze the air out of it.
  • Gently roll the condom down to the base of the penis.
  • If the condom won't roll down, you're probably holding it the wrong way round – if this happens, throw the condom away because it may have sperm on it, and try again with a new one.
  • Use extra, water-based lubrication with your condoms for safer anal sex
  • After sex, withdraw the penis while it's still erect – hold the condom onto the base of the penis while you do this. 
  • Remove the condom from the penis, being careful not to spill any semen.
  • Throw the condom away in a bin, not down the toilet.
  • If you have sex again, use a new condom.

Using extra lubrication, as well as the lube that comes already on the condom, can help prevent bursts and tears.

Extra lubrication can also make sex feel better too.

What are female condoms?

Female condoms work in the same way as male condoms by creating a barrier against semen, bacteria and viruses. It is thought they are up to 95% effective at preventing pregnancy.

They also offer good protection against sexually transmitted infections.

The difference to male condoms is that that the woman puts them on rather than the man. They are more expensive to buy than male condoms.

Some people find them harder to use, but this is often just because people are not so familiar with them.

They can also be used with sex toys.

One major advantage of using female condoms is that it puts the person wearing them in control - you don't have to rely on a male partner using other protection methods properly.

Female condoms are available from good chemists, online shops or your GP, family planning clinic or sexual health service (GUM).

How to use female condoms:

  • Place the closed end into your vagina, squeezing the soft inner ring between your finger and thumb.
  • Use your other hand to separate the lips of the vagina (labia) and then push the condom as far up your vagina as possible, making sure that the outer ring stays outside your vagina at all times. 
  • Make sure that your partner’s penis enters your vagina inside the condom, and not between the condom and the wall of your vagina.
  • The outer ring of the condom should be outside your vagina at all times during sex. If the outer ring gets pushed inside your vagina, stop and put it back in the right place.
  • To remove the condom after sex, twist the outer ring to keep the semen inside and gently pull the condom out of your vagina.
  • Wrap it up in tissue and throw it in a bin. Do not flush it down the toilet