What You Need to Know about Condoms

Why Should I Use a Condom?


  • It’s good for your health. If you use a condom correctly every time when having sex, you can greatly lower the risk of sexually transmitted disease (STDs), and transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Condoms are widely available and inexpensive. A condom is sold at any supermarket or drugstore. It is also in vending machines at airports, and even in the bathrooms of many restaurants.
  • Condoms are easy to use. It takes little effort to master condom use.


Male & Female Condoms

There are two main types of condom, a male condom and a female condom. Generally, the word condom refers to a male condom.

  • A male condom is a thin covering that fits over a man’s erect penis. The covering prevents semen, the fluid that contains sperm, from entering a woman’s vagina.
  • A female condom is a lubricated polyurethane (plastic) tube that has a flexible ring at each end. It fits inside a woman’s vagina. There is only one female condom approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration - the FC2 female condom.


How to Choose a Condom?

Condoms come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors. Most of the features do not affect their effectiveness at preventing STDs. They are designed to suit different personal preferences and enhance pleasure. However, you may want to consider what the condom is made of when you are buying one.

  • Latex condoms. Most condoms are made of latex, a type of rubber. Latex condoms are the most effective condom at preventing STDs.
  • Polyurethane condoms. Some condoms are made of polyurethane (a type of plastic), which are mainly useful for people who are allergic to latex.
  • Natural Condoms. Natural condoms are made of animal membranes (lambskin). Although they are more expensive, they offer no protection against STDs, because they have larger pores or holes.
  • Latex condoms are best at preventing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


How to Use a Condom?

It is important to use condoms correctly and consistently.

  • Open the package carefully. Do not tear the condom with your fingernails or teeth. Make sure that the condom has not passed the expiration date.
  • Put the condom on the tip of the erect penis with the rolled side out. Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis, and remove any air bubbles. If the penis is not circumcised, pull back the foreskin before rolling on the condom.
  • After ejaculation, grip the rim of the condom and carefully withdraw. Then gently pull the condom off the penis, making sure that semen doesn't spill out.
  • Dispose of the condom in the trash. Don’t flush condoms down the toilet.
  • If the condom breaks at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, withdraw, remove the broken condom, and put on a new one.


Other Tips


  • Use a condom during any sexual activity, whether you have vaginal, oral or anal sexual contact.
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place. Exposure to air, heat and light will make a condom more easily to break.
  • Use only water-based lubricants, such as Astroglide and K-Y jelly. If you use latex condoms, don’t use oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, baby oil, cooking oil or lotion. They can weaken a latex condom and may cause it to break.