9 Steps to Follow When Using an External Condom for Protection
Using a condom correctly is vital for preventing unwanted pregnancies and protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Proper use extends beyond just rolling it on—it involves the right way to open the package and disposing of it after use.
If it’s your first time using a condom, or if you’ve never practiced the correct method, it can seem a bit daunting. But with consistent and correct use, condoms can serve as a reliable method for contraception and STI prevention.
This guide provides a step-by-step tutorial on the correct way to use a condom, accompanied by illustrations to highlight dos and don’ts.
Check the Expiration Date
Before you use a condom, it’s essential to ensure it’s still in good condition. Always inspect the expiration date printed on the condom’s wrapper.
Condoms deteriorate over time, especially if not stored correctly. The weakening of the latex can compromise its effectiveness, potentially leading to unwanted pregnancy or STI exposure.
Additionally, ensure the packaging is intact. Discard the condom if the wrapper shows any signs of damage, tears, or wear, even if it hasn’t reached its expiration date.
Feel for the Air Bubble
A good indicator of a condom’s integrity is the presence of an air cushion within its package.
Manufacturers include this air cushion to safeguard the condom from potential damage. If you can feel it, it’s a good sign that the packaging is free from holes and the condom remains undamaged.
You can identify this air cushion by lightly pressing the package between your thumb and index finger.
Open the Package Carefully
While condom wrappers are designed for easy access, it’s crucial to open them with care.
Start by cleaning your hands, especially if there’s a chance they might be covered in bodily fluids from prior intimate activities. This step ensures the condom remains uncontaminated.
Next, gently tear the wrapper from the designated corner or edge (usually indicated on the packaging). Avoid using sharp objects like fingernails or scissors, as they pose a risk of accidentally damaging the condom itself.
Preserving the Mood
Concerned about maintaining the romantic ambiance while putting on a condom? Familiarizing yourself with the process in advance can help you do it swiftly and seamlessly. Additionally, involving your partner and incorporating it into the foreplay can add an intimate touch to the moment.
Find the Correct Side of the Condom
When holding the condom, ensure that the side meant to cover the penis is positioned correctly.
The rim or edge should be facing outward, ready to be rolled down, not folded inwards.
If necessary, you can slightly unroll the condom to verify its orientation. Ideally, you shouldn’t need to insert your fingers inside the condom to determine this.
The condom is positioned correctly if it effortlessly rolls down the length of the penis.
Should you mistakenly place the condom inside out, discard it. Since the exterior might have touched bodily fluids, it’s best to use a new one.
Make Room and Put the Condom On
Hold the condom’s tip between your fingertips and position it atop the penis.
This action creates a small space to accommodate the fluid released during climax, reducing the risk of the condom rupturing.
It also aids in preventing air from being trapped within the condom. Many condoms come equipped with a reservoir tip specifically for this reason.
(Note: If you’re using the condom on a sex toy, this step may not be necessary.)
Unroll the Condom All the Way
Once positioned, ensure the condom is unrolled to cover the entire length of the penis.
This is crucial for minimizing the transmission risk of STIs that spread through direct skin contact, like syphilis. A fully unrolled condom also provides better grip and reduces the likelihood of it slipping off.
If the condom doesn’t cover the penis’s entirety or feels constricting, it might be too small. Using an ill-fitting condom—whether too small or too large—heightens the chance of its malfunction.
How Do I Determine the Right Condom Size?
Selecting the appropriate condom size for you or your partner is crucial. A well-fitting condom not only ensures comfort but also enhances its efficacy, reducing the chances of it slipping off. Often, finding the perfect fit requires experimenting with several sizes.
Check for Trapped Air
If the condom’s tip resembles a puffed-up balloon, there’s trapped air. This increases the risk of the condom rupturing during intercourse.
To release the trapped air, encircle the penis with your hand and gently smooth the condom from the tip to the base.
Applying a small amount of lubricant inside the condom’s tip before wearing can help minimize air entrapment.
Hold the Condom When Withdrawing
Once ejaculation has occurred, it’s essential to remove the condom with caution before the penis becomes semi-erect.
When pulling out from the vagina, anus, or mouth, firmly grasp the condom’s base to retain the semen inside. If the condom gets left inside your partner, seal the condom’s open end by twisting it before extraction.
Neglecting these steps can lead to the condom slipping off or spilling its contents.
Throw Away the Condom
Condoms belong in the garbage, not the toilet, as they can block plumbing systems.
Wrapping the used condom in tissue or paper towel helps contain potential leaks and offers a more discreet disposal method.
Here are some well-known condom brands on the market today:
- Trojan: Trojan is one of the most recognized condom brands in the United States. They offer a wide range of condom varieties, including classic latex condoms, ultra-thin options, ribbed and textured condoms for added stimulation, and various sizes to ensure a comfortable fit.
- Durex: Durex is a globally renowned condom brand known for its quality and innovation. They offer a diverse selection of condoms, such as ultra-sensitive, flavored, and extra-large options. Durex also provides lubricants and other sexual health products.
- Lifestyle Skyn: Lifestyle Skyn condoms are notable for being latex-free and made from a synthetic material called polyisoprene. They are an excellent choice for individuals with latex allergies or sensitivities. Lifestyle Skyn condoms are known for their natural feel and sensitivity.
- Kimono: Kimono condoms are recognized for their ultra-thin design, which allows for a heightened sensation during intimate moments. They are made from high-quality latex and are known for their snug fit and minimal odor.
- ONE Condoms: ONE Condoms is a brand that emphasizes fun and variety. They offer a range of unique condom designs and flavors, such as glow-in-the-dark, flavored, and textured options. ONE Condoms also support various social causes through their products.
- Okamoto: Okamoto is a Japanese condom brand known for its advanced technology and high-quality materials. They produce ultra-thin condoms designed to maximize sensitivity and pleasure while maintaining durability and reliability.
- Lifestyles: Lifestyles offers a variety of condoms tailored to different preferences. They have options like ribbed, studded, and flavored condoms, providing choices for those looking to enhance their sexual experiences.
- Sir Richard’s: Sir Richard’s is a brand committed to social responsibility. They offer all-natural latex condoms free from harmful chemicals and additives. For every condom purchased, Sir Richard’s donates one to a developing country in need.
- Crown: Crown condoms, produced by Okamoto, are renowned for their ultra-thin design and sensitivity. They are often considered one of the thinnest latex condoms available, providing an intimate and natural feel.
- Glyde: Glyde is a vegan and ethical condom brand that focuses on sustainability. They offer latex condoms made from natural and fair trade rubber. Glyde condoms are free from animal by-products and harsh chemicals.
Remember that it’s essential to choose a condom that suits your preferences and needs, whether you prioritize sensitivity, size, texture, or specific materials. Always read the packaging and follow the instructions for proper use to ensure protection and safety during sexual activity.
Condoms serve as a crucial contraceptive tool and a straightforward method to prevent disease transmission. Their effectiveness, however, hinges on correct usage.
Consistently inspect the expiration date and the state of the packaging before use, and handle the wrapper with caution during opening. As you wear it, ensure there’s space at the tip for the semen and be certain you’re unrolling the condom with the correct orientation. Secure the condom’s base when pulling out post-intercourse, and responsibly dispose of it afterward.
Adhering to these guidelines maximizes the efficacy of the condom in use.
A Word From Verywell
Condoms are instrumental in ensuring a safer sexual experience. Their presence can often infuse an added layer of comfort and ease, potentially enhancing the intimacy and enjoyment between partners.
The market offers a diverse range of condoms, featuring an array of colors, textures, and even flavors to elevate the experience.
It’s also worth noting that internal condoms exist, and acquiring knowledge on their proper use is beneficial for all.