Condom Top Tips

Get a reminder of the good old basics and check out our guide to using condoms

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If you’re not sure how to use a condom, or you want to make sure that you’re doing it right, follow this advice:

  • Condoms are made of latex (very thin rubber) or polyurethane (very thin soft plastic), and they are made to fit over an erect penis.
  • Whichever kind you’re using, put it on before you make any genital contact with your partner, or put it on a sex toy before use. This should reduce the risk of STI transmission including genital warts, sypillis and HIV.
  • If you have multiple partners, always use a new condom when you have sex or use a sex toy with a different partner. Some STIs such as LGV can be transmitted if you use the same condom for two passive sexual partners.
  • If you're not confident about using condoms, practise when you’re alone. This will help you get used to putting on a condom and cumming (ejaculating) while wearing one.
  • You can also ask any staff member at Yorkshire MESMAC, a community contraceptive clinic, or a sexual health/GUM clinic to show you how to use one.
  • Don’t use two condoms together. This is commonly known as "double-bagging" and will make them less effective. Using one condom over another means that the two will rub against each other, causing them to break more easily.
  • To reduce the chances of the condom breaking and to increase the comfort of being penetrated, use water based lube over the condom before penetration. If you use oil based lube it can reduce the strength of the condom material and increase breakages. This includes lotion, baby oil and olive oil.
  • Change your condom after 30 minutes of sex because friction can weaken the condom, making it more likely to break or fail. If you are having rough sex, you should check more often.
  • Always buy condoms that have the CE mark or the kitemark on the packet (shown below). This means that they've been tested to high European safety standards and that they are safe for anal sex. Condoms that don't have these marks won't meet these standards, so don't use them.

1. When the penis is hard, and before there's any genital-to-genital contact, carefully take the condom out of the packet and check the expiry date. Be careful not to tear the condom.

2. If the penis has a foreskin, gently roll it back before putting on the condom.

3. Before you put the condom on the penis, unroll the condom a little bit to check that it’s the right way round and will unroll properly.

4. Squeeze the tip of the condom to get rid of any air, and then place it over the tip of the penis. If there is any air inside the condom, the air pressure will make it more likely to break.

5. Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis. If it won’t roll down, it’s the wrong way round. Throw this condom away because there could be pre cum or cum on the tip of it, and start again with a new one. Rolling the condom all the way down ensures it doesn't come off easily and reduces the chances of an STI being transmitted.

6. If you’re using lubricant, make sure that it’s water-based and you are putting it on the condom itself. Do not apply lubricant before you put the condom on.

7. Check during sex that the condom hasn’t slipped off (you should be able to feel it with your fingers at the base of the penis).

8. After sex, withdraw carefully while the penis is still hard. Hold the base of the condom to stop it coming off and to prevent any sperm from leaking.

9. Wrap the condom in a tissue and put in the bin. Don't put it down the toilet because this can cause a blockage.

10. If the condom has broken and the active partner hasn't cum yet, replace the condom with another one and start again. If the condom has broken and the active partner has cum inside you or the bottom, and you think that you may have been exposed to HIV, it is recommended that you request PEP from your local sexual health centre or A&E to prevent HIV infection. For more information on PEP, please click here.

When you don't use enough lube, or use the wrong kind, the likelihood of condom failure is increased, making transmission of HIV and other STIs possible.

You should use:

  • Water-based lubes (e.g. K-Y, Wet Stuff and ID Glide) 
  • silicone-based lubes (Eros Bodyglide and Liquid Silk).

You shouldn’t use:

  • Oil-based lubricants like cooking oil, moisturisers, sun lotions, baby oil, butter, Crisco, Elbow Grease, etc 
  • It can also cause latex condoms to break
  • However, they can be used with non-latex condoms, like Durex Avanti, Mates Skyn or Pasante Unique
  • Don’t use spit as it dries up quickly and increases the chance of your condom tearing.

Information from GMFA

Tom Uses Oil Based Lube

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