How to Use a Male Condom

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How to Use a Male Condom

Topic Overview

Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Even if you are protected against pregnancy by birth control pills or another method, use a condom to prevent STIs.

Use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex unless you know that you and your partners are STI-free.

Condoms are most effective when you follow these steps before using them:

  • Buy latex condoms sold in Canada or the United States. These condoms meet strict safety standards and are unlikely to break or leak.
  • Keep the condom in its package until you are ready to use it.
  • Check the condom for its expiration date. Throw away condoms that have passed the expiration date.
  • Avoid storing rubber (latex) condoms in any hot place (such as the glove compartment of a car). Heat can weaken the rubber and increase the chance that the condom will break.

Follow these steps to use a condom properly.

  • Unwrap the condom carefully to avoid poking tiny holes in it with your fingernails.
  • Put the condom on as soon as your penis is hard (erect), before you enter your partner. The condom can be put on as part of lovemaking.
  • Pull down the loose skin from the head of the penis, if you have not been circumcised.
  • Hold the tip of the condom and squeeze out the air. This leaves room for the semen when you ejaculate. Also, the condom is less likely to break if all the air has been squeezed out.
  • Keep holding the tip of the condom. Unroll it onto the erect penis, all the way down to the pubic hair.
  • Use a lubricant on the outside of the condom once it is on completely. Use lubricants like Astroglide, Slippery Stuff, or K-Y Jelly, which do not contain oil. Never use Vaseline, grease, hand lotion, baby oil, or anything else with oil in it. Oil can weaken latex rubber and cause the condom to break and may irritate your partner's vagina. Read the label to be sure that a lubricant does not have oil in it.
  • Press on the bottom of the condom (by the pubic hair) after you ejaculate and pull out while your penis is still hard. This will keep semen from spilling out of the condom.
  • Take the condom off and throw it away. Use a new condom each time you have sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex.
  • Wash your hands after handling a used condom.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 15, 2011

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