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Condoms

Updated: Mar 19

Condoms are a type of barrier method used during sex to prevent pregnancy and/or protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI).



Condom Basics


Condoms are typically made of latex, but those with latex allergies can opt for non-latex condoms (e.g., polyurethane condoms).


Remember that size matters.


Condoms come in different shapes and sizes so it's important to find the one that fits you. If the condom is too big, it can slip off; if it's too small, it can tear. Measure both the length and circumference before consulting the size chart of your favorite condom brand.


ALWAYS use lube.


While most condoms come pre-lubricated, use extra lube to prevent breakage. Make sure to use water or silicone-based lube. Oil-based products will cause latex condoms to break. Some non-latex condoms can be used with oil-based lube. However, always make sure to check the directions on the condom package.


Don't use more than one condom at once.


"Doubling up" does not increase the effectiveness of condoms. In fact, the friction this creates can make one or both condoms more likely to break.​


NEVER reuse a condom.


Condoms are not effective after use and can rupture.

External Condoms


External condoms are thin sleeves placed on the penis during sex. You may also want to consider using a condom on your strap-on/dildo if you use it with multiple partners. Just be careful not to use silicon-based lube with silicon toys.


How to Use External Condoms


Diagram of how to use an external condom (Image Source: PRISM FL, Inc / Sarah Bruso)
Diagram of how to use an external condom (Image Source: PRISM FL, Inc / Sarah Bruso)

  1. Check the expiration date on the package. Expired condoms are not effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs.

  2. Carefully open the package and remove the condom.

  3. Check to make sure there are no tears or defects in the condom.

  4. Place the condom on the head of the penis and pinch the air out of the tip.

  5. Unroll the condom down the shaft of the penis

  6. After sex, hold the condom at the base of the penis before pulling out

  7. Remove the condom and throw it away.


Internal Condoms


Internal condoms, sometimes called female condoms, are sleeves that are inserted into the vagina or anus during sex to prevent pregnancy and/or STIs.


While internal condoms are less common than external condoms, they are a great way to put the receiving partner in control of their choice to use protection. The FC2 is the only internal condom approved by the FDA.


How to Use Internal Condoms


Diagram of how to use an internal condom (Image Source: PRISM FL, Inc / Sarah Bruso)
Diagram of how to use an internal condom (Image Source: PRISM FL, Inc / Sarah Bruso)

  1. Check the expiration date on the package. Expired condoms are not effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs.

  2. Carefully open the package and remove the condom.

  3. Check to make sure there are no tears or defects in the condom.

  4. Squeeze the sides of the inner ring on the closed end and insert it into the vagina/anus.

  5. Use your finger to push the condom as far up as possible.

  6. Check occasionally during sex to make sure your partner's penis hasn't slipped between the condom and vagina/anus or that the outer ring of the condom hasn't entered the vagina/anus.

  7. If this happens, stop and use a new internal condom.

  8. After sex, twist the outer ring and pull the condom out of the vagina/anus

  9. Remove the condom and throw it away.


Internal Condoms and Anal Sex

It's also possible to use an internal condom like an external condom. To do this, remove the inner ring from the internal condom and place it on the penis/dildo before inserting it.


However, do not remove the ring if you're using the condom as an internal barrier method. Doing so can increase the risk that the condom will twist and break inside the anus.


Condom Care


To prevent damage and tearing, which in turn prevent STIs and/or unwanted pregnancies, it's important to store your condoms safely and securely.


Where not to store a condom:


  • In a wallet or pocket

  • Loose in a bag

  • In a car


Where to store a condom:


  • In a condom case carried in a bag

  • In hard, sturdy cases like mint tins or gum containers

  • On a nightstand or in a drawer


Other Barrier Methods


Condoms aren't the only methods of protection and prevention! Check out the articles we have on other barrier methods to learn more.



 

References



Internal Condoms | Female Condoms. Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/internal-condom.


Kelvin, E. A., Mantell, J. E., Candelario, N., Hoffman, S., Exner, T. M., Stackhouse, W., & Stein, Z. A. (2011). Off-label use of the female condom for anal intercourse among men in New York City. American Journal of Public Health, 101(12), 2241–2244. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2011.300260


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