How to Use a Condom Properly

Updated on September 30, 2021
how to use a condom properly

Disclaimer: We earn commissions if you shop through the links below.

Condoms are one of the most important ways that you can protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancies. It’s the most popular form of emergency contraception and male birth control.

Condoms work because it uses the barrier method of contraception and provides extra protection even if your partner is taking a birth control pill or even female condoms.

They are inexpensive, easy to use, and widely available. While it minimizes your risk of pregnancy, did you also know that a condom can help prolong ejaculation?

If you’re unsure how to use a condom properly, we can help you with our contraception guide. Below is a list of how you can use a condom properly every single time.

How do I put on a condom?

Be careful when putting on a condom. Don’t just pull it quickly over your penis; instead, roll down from top to bottom. This way, there will be no creases in the latex which can cause breakage.

  1. Begin by opening the condom package carefully — pull back the tab at the end of the packet. Then take out the condom itself. If you have trouble opening the packaging, use scissors to cut around the edges so you can get into the middle easier. Once you’ve removed the condom, make sure it’s clean before rolling it onto your erect penis.
  2. Hold the tip between your forefinger and thumb to make sure no air gets trapped inside.
  3. While squeezing the tip, gently push the condom over your erection and begin to unroll it slowly.  If you’re uncircumcised, be sure to pull back the foreskin first. Once you’ve rolled the condom all the way down, unroll it again until you reach the tip of your penis. Now fold the rest of the condom over the head of your penis and hold it closed with your hand. Make sure you keep pressure on the folded part while holding the other side together.
  4. Use additional lubricant if needed, but not baby oil. The best type for this purpose would be water-based lubricant like K-Y Jelly. Don’t use oil-based lubes. Oil-based lubricants tend to damage the rubber.
  5. After ejaculation and before your penis gets soft, gently hold the rim of the condom as you carefully pull out from your partner. To remove the condom, simply peel it off, wrap it in a tissue, and throw it in the trashcan. Don’t flush it down the toilet! Constantly flushing condoms down your toilet will most likely cause a buildup of latex in your pipes and septic tank, which may lead to clogs and a failing septic system.

What size condom do I need?

Condoms typically come in three sizes for you to choose from: 

  • Snug (for widths less than 1.75 inches and length of 7 to 7.8 inches)
  • Standard (for widths between 1.75 to 2 inches and length of 7.25 to 7.8 inches)
  • Large (for widths greater than 2 inches and length of 7.25 to 8.1 inches)

The sizes are determined by your penis length and width. These measurements are based on the size of an erect penis. To determine the most accurate length and width of your erect penis, here’s what you need to do to ensure the correct condom size:

  • Width or girth: With a piece of string or soft measuring tape, wrap it around the thickest part of your erect penis. Measure the length of the circumference.
  • Length: Hold one side of a string or tape measure from your pubic bone to the tip of your penis.

Now that you have the proper measurements, you can check condom sizes from different brands to find one that most closely matches your erect penis size.

What should I look for in a good-quality condom?

There are many different types of condoms available today. Some are made specifically for oral sex, others are designed for vaginal intercourse only, and others are meant for anal penetration. When choosing a condom, consider its intended use, cost, availability, and personal preference.

There are several things to look for when buying a new condom:

  • Quality – Look for a brand-name condom that has been tested for safety and effectiveness. Also, check the expiration date. A quality product won’t expire quickly.
  • Size – Choose a type of condom that matches your anatomy. A condom that is too large for you may slip off. One that is too small can break and minimizes your protection from pregnancy. Larger condoms also provide better protection against STDs.
  • Material – Consider whether you want an extra thin or thick material. Do you want a latex condom or a polyurethane condom? Thicker materials offer greater comfort but also add bulkiness. Thin condoms are usually less expensive. Since most condoms are latex, you should not use them if you have a latex allergy.
  • Lubrication – Most condoms require little or no lubrication. But if you find yourself having difficulty inserting the condom without lubricating it, choose a thicker variety.
  • Cost – There are plenty of cheap brands on the market. They often contain chemicals that aren’t safe for human consumption. This would not be an effective birth control method. Quality condoms typically run between $5-$10 per pack. 
  • Availability – Many stores carry both regular and flavored varieties. Check their websites to see if they sell online too. You can also purchase great quality condoms online from a place like The Enhanced Male.
  • Personal preferences – Try different kinds of condoms to determine which feels right for you.

Some Condoms Do’s

  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Put your condom on before having sex.
  • Check the expiration date.
  • Be sure there are no tears or defects in the condom.
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place—away from direct sunlight.
  • Use latex or polyurethane condoms.
  • Prevent breakage by using water-based or silicone-based lubricant.

Some Condoms Dont’s

  • Avoid storing condoms in your wallet since heat and friction may cause damage.
  • Never use nonoxynol-9 (spermicide) because this can cause irritation.
  • Stay way from oil-based products such as baby oil or petroleum jelly because these will cause the condom to break.
  • Don’t double up on a condom. In fact, use only one condom at a time.
  • Finally—never, ever reuse a condom! Always use a new condom every time you have sex.

The bottom line is that condoms offer great protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases but still allows you to have a pleasurable experience with your partner.

So, enjoy and be safe! 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.