Condoms are very effective at preventing most STIs and unplanned pregnancy if you’re having sex with a penis (or a toy). Learn how to use them here.
Condoms prevent most STIs and are excellent at preventing pregnancy. So if you’re going to have entry sex with a penis they’re a really good idea. However they only work if you put them on (obvs) and if you don’t put them on properly they can break. So here’s the BISH guide.
They can be pretty fiddly so it’s a good idea to practice on something before you start having sex (if you have a penis, your penis).
They are more likely to break if they get dry, so if this happens to you you might want to have some water based* lubricant with you too. Clinics give this away for free with condoms and can be great for masturbation too. (* things like baby oil and moisturiser can break condoms)
1. Open the packet
Put the condom on before the penis touches anyone. Hold the condom away from the edge and tear the packet using the jagged edge (to help you get it open). People often find this really difficult. Relax! It’s just like opening a bar of chocolate!
If you find it tricky getting condoms open, read this about making using condoms easier.
2. Get it the right way round
Hold the condom carefully (nails can tear condoms). Make sure the condom is the right way round before it touches the penis (the roll should be on the outside – check this by rolling between your thumb and finger).
3. Squeeze the tip
When the penis is hard, put it on. Squeeze the air at the top with one hand. Squeeze the top 2cm, to leave enough space for semen. If air is trapped in the condom it can break and sperm can leak out.
4. Roll it down gently
Then gently roll it down the penis with the other hand. There should be no air trapped at the top. Keep wearing it all the way through sex – or you’re not protected.
5. Well done! Now make sure
There’s no air trapped at the top
- It doesn’t slip off (check now and again).
- It doesn’t get dry (use water based lubricant or saliva).
- The condom is on when pulling out.
- You bin it after use (don’t re use).
Sometimes condoms break, usually if they aren’t used properly or if they get dry. If you are worried about an unplanned pregnancy, you can take the emergency contraception pill . This needs to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex to be effective but you have up to 72 or 120 after sex to take it.
Here’s me showing you how to use condoms in an amusing video. No you can’t touch my beard.
Find out more about different kinds of condoms
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© Justin Hancock, 2022
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. He’s a member of the World Association for Sexual Health.