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10 Steps to Using a Condom Properly

Using condoms consistently and properly is among the best things you can do to reduce the risk of pregnancy and the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection.  In fact, the condom is the only form of contraception that also reduces the risk of getting (or spreading) a sexually transmitted infection.

It is important to use condoms properly to prevent breakage.  Human error—rather than improper manufacturing— is the predominant reason why condoms break.  Common human errors include using an oil-based lubricant, using an expired condom, and not pinching the receptor tip of the condom before putting it on.

How to Use a Condom in 10 Steps

Follow the 10 steps below to avoid condom breakage or slippage.  The "How to Put on a Condom" video shows these steps.

  1. Check the expiry date.  Do not use expired condoms.
  2. Press the package between your fingers. Do not use if there is no resistance from air inside.
  3. Tear open the condom package from the corner and remove the condom.  Do not use teeth or sharp objects to open as this can damage the condom.
  4. Identify which way the condom unrolls.
  5. Pinch the receptor tip of the condom to remove air.
  6. Place the condom on the head of the penis while still pinching the condom receptor tip.
  7. Unroll the condom to the base of the shaft.
  8. Insert the penis into vagina, anus or mouth.
  9. Pull out while still erect, holding the base of the condom firmly.
  10. Remove the condom from the penis and discard.

A Bit More About Condoms

  • Store condoms away from too much heat, cold, or friction as these can damage the condom.
  • Use a new condom every time you have sex, or when the penis moves from the rectum to the vagina.
  • Use only water-based or silicone lubricants with latex condoms.  Never use oil-based lubricants such as baby oil, Vaseline, moisturizer or even butter.  Oils damage latex condoms, which makes them ineffective.
  • Don’t throw condoms into a toilet. They can clog plumbing.
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