Latex condoms work really well in stopping most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from being passed from an infected partner to another when they are used consistently and correctly every time a person has oral, vaginal or anal sex. Consistently and correctly means that a person makes sure they use a latex condom every time they have oral, vaginal or anal sex and put it on and use it the right way.
Some people are allergic to latex condoms, so there are polyurethane (plastic) condoms that also protect against STIs. Lambskin or animal-skin condoms do not protect against STIs and should not be used.
Some STIs, like herpes and HPV, are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact and can be passed on areas of the genitals NOT covered by a condom. Using a condom still gives the best protection against STIs for a person who is sexually active. Of course, the only way to be sure of not getting an STI is not to have any kind of sex at all.
How to Use a Condom Correctly
Condom DOs and DON’Ts
- Do use only latex or polyurethane condoms.
- Do keep condoms in a cool, dry place.
- Do put the condom on an erect (hard) penis before there is any contact with a partner’s genitals.
- Do use plenty of water-based lubricant with latex condoms. This reduces friction (dry rubbing) and helps prevent the condom from tearing.
- Do squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom when rolling it over the erect penis. This allows room for the ejaculate (cum).
- Do hold the condom in place at the base of the penis before withdrawing (pulling out) after sex.
- Do throw the condom away after it’s been used.
- Don’t touch the wrong side of the condom to the penis, and then flip it to the right side. This can transfer semen and/or STIs.
- Don’t use out-of-date condoms. Check the expiration date carefully. Old condoms can be dry, brittle or weakened and can break more easily.
- Don’t unroll the condom before putting it on the erect (hard) penis.
- Don’t leave condoms in hot places-like your wallet or in your car.
- Don’t use oil-based lubricants, like baby or cooking oils, hand lotion or petroleum jelly (like Vaseline®) as lubricants with latex condoms. The oil weakens latex and can cause condoms to break.
- Don’t use your fingernails or teeth when opening a condom wrapper. It’s very easy to tear the condom inside. If you do tear a condom while opening the wrapper, throw that condom away and get a new one.
- Don’t reuse a condom. Always use a new condom for each kind of sex you have.
How do male and female condoms compare? How effective are they? What about the cost? What are the pros and cons? Learn more with ASHA’s handy comparison chart.
Condoms…for females? Yes! The female condom is designed to fit inside the vagina. Made out of NITRILE, the female condom consists of a soft pouch that is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse to help prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs. It can be inserted up to eight hours before sex. Some women love the female condom because it gives them control over their body even if their partner doesn’t want to use a male condom. Other women (and men) like the roominess of the pocket and think the polyurethane (plastic) feels better than latex. Also, some people are allergic to latex, so these polyurethane condoms may work better for them.
Top Ten Reasons to Use a Condom (EVERY time)
10.Condoms give you control over your body and can help protect your health.
9. You don’t need a prescription to buy condoms.
8. Condoms don’t cost a lot of money and are free at some clinics and health departments.
7. Condoms are easy to find in supermarkets, drug stores and convenience stores.
6. You don’t need your parents’ permission to buy condoms.
5. Using condoms can help a male partner last longer before ejaculating (coming).
4. Men and women can buy and use condoms whenever they need them.
3. Using condoms helps prevent unplanned pregnancy.
2. Using condoms helps prevent the spread of most STIs from one partner to another.
…and the NUMBER ONE reason for using a condom is:
1. Using condoms shows you care about your sexual health and about your partner.