How to Use Condoms
Condom Demonstration Video:
The Crisis Pregnancy Agency would like to thank the Health Service Executive who developed this resource in collaboration with the Agency, and also the staff at the GUIDE Clinic at St James’ hospital for their assistance in developing this resource.
As well as preventing pregnancy, condoms offer protection against most sexually transmitted infections and HIV if used correctly. Here is a guide to the correct use of male and female condoms.
Male condoms are effective when they are used properly and they minimise the risk of pregnancy and protect you against most (but not all) sexually transmitted infections. It takes a little practice to use one properly – here are some tips:
- Always remember to use a condom with a quality mark (Kite or CE mark) on the pack and check the expiry date
- Be careful that condoms don’t tear when opening the packet – don’t use your teeth and be careful with long nails and jewellery
- Put the condom on before there is any genital contact or penetration – there can be semen on the penis before ejaculation
- Don’t try to put a condom on if the penis is not hard
- Hold the condom at the head of the penis
- Pinch the top of the condom to get rid of any air and with your other hand gently roll it down over the penis
- Oil-based lubricants (massage or baby oil, petroleum jelly) and products such as body cream can damage condoms making them split. Water based lubricants are designed especially for use with condoms. Most pharmacies stock these products close to the condom range
- When pulling out after sex, hold the base of the condom and be careful when removing the condom that you don’t spill any semen (fluid that spurts out of the penis at ejaculation). There will still be semen on the penis so keep it away from the vagina
- Wrap the condom and dispose of it safely and hygienically (not down the toilet)
Condoms offer the best protection from sexually transmitted infections and HIV but no method of contraception can provide 100% protection from STIs, HIV or pregnancy.
There are a range of different male condoms available including different size, flavours (for oral sex) and textures. For people with latex sensitivity or allergies polyurethane condoms are also available. It is important to find a condom that suits you and your partner.
Never use a condom after its expiry date. Ensure the condom has a kite or CE mark. If there is a kite or CE mark on the pack of condoms, this means that the condoms are of a high quality. This mark will be located on the back of the condom pack and/or on back of the condom wrapper. Never use a condom more than once. It is advised that condoms not be stored directly in a person’s pocket unless it is in a protective box. This is due to the flexing and movement within the pocket that may cause damage.