and female condoms provide excellent protection against HIV and most other
sexually transmitted infections. To be effective, they need to be used correctly.
male condoms are made of latex, a form of rubber. Some people are allergic to
latex, and polyurethane (a type of plastic) condoms are a safe alternative.
Female condoms are usually made of polyurethane or nitrile rubber; a more
recent version is made of latex.
possible, choose a condom with a quality kitemark.
use old condoms or ones that have been left in direct sunlight for any length
a male condom correctly:
come in a plastic or foil wrapper. When opening the wrapper be careful not to
tear the condom.
the condom on after the penis is hard, but before penetration begins. Once the
penis is hard, unroll the condom down the shaft of the penis, right the way to
come with a teat or a plain end. In either case, it is important to allow
enough room for the semen to be able to fill the end of the condom. Make sure
there is no air in the condom, by holding the teat or end between your thumb
and forefinger as you roll the condom on. If you leave air in the end of the
condom, it may break when you ejaculate into it.
a lubricant with condoms makes breakage less likely and can also increase the
comfort of the person being penetrated. Apply a lubricant to the outside of the
condom. Reapply during sex if necessary. A water-based lubricant should be used
with condoms, as oil-based ones, such as baby oil, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or body lotion, can weaken
condoms very quickly, making breakages more likely.
you lose your erection, the condom may slip. This is the biggest single cause
of condom failure. Holding the base of the condom will help it stay in place.
the condom slips or breaks, withdraw immediately and use a new one.
ejaculating, withdraw the penis promptly, before it goes soft. Hold on to the
base of the condom as you withdraw.
re-use condoms. Don’t use two condoms at once, as the friction between them may
cause them to split.
you are having penetrative sex for a long time, the risk of the condom breaking
increases. It is safest to change the condom every 30 minutes.
and some other countries, HIV prevention professionals used to recommend
extra-strong condoms for anal sex, but recent research has found that standard-strength
condoms work just as well.
The female condom is a plastic pouch
that you insert before sex. It has two flexible rings: the ring at the closed
end holds it in place in the vagina. The ring at the open end should remain
outside the vagina during sex. Sexual health clinics and HIV clinics provide
female condoms for free, although they are not as widely available as male
condoms. You can also buy them from a pharmacy or from websites.
Some women prefer the female condom
because they can be in control of both contraception and protecting themselves
and their partner from HIV. You can put a female condom in several hours before
having sex. Some people also prefer them because of their thinness and
sensitivity, which can improve sensation.
Using a female condom correctly:
- To insert
it, find a comfortable position. You can stand with one foot on a chair, sit on
the edge of a chair or bath, lie down, or squat.
together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the female condom and
insert it into the vagina like a tampon.
- Putting a
finger inside the female condom, push the inner ring into the vagina as far as
it can go.
- Pull out
your finger and let the outer ring stay outside the vagina during sex.
- Use your
hand to guide your partner’s penis into the female condom (make sure his penis
doesn’t slip between the condom and the side of the vagina).
- The female
condom is loose-fitting and will move during sex. That’s fine as long as the
penis stays inside it.
- You don’t
have to take it out immediately after sex.
When you do remove it, squeeze and
twist the outer ring to keep semen inside the pouch. Gently pull it out of the
Don’t flush used condoms down the
toilet, as this can cause blockages in the sewerage system.
and sexual health clinics provide free male and female condoms, and, in some
cities, free condoms can also be obtained from gay venues.