Learning How to Use a Male Condom

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How to put on a male condom

What is a male condom?

Condoms can be used to prevent pregnancy. They can also help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You must use a new condom every time you have sex.

Condoms prevent pregnancy by keeping sperm and eggs apart. The condom holds the sperm so the sperm can't get into the vagina.

A male condom is a tube of soft rubber or plastic with a closed end. It fits over the penis.

There are many kinds of male condoms. Some condoms are lubricated. Some are ribbed. Most have a "reservoir tip" for holding the semen. You can also buy condoms of different sizes.

How do you use a condom?

Condoms work best if you follow these steps.

  • Use a new condom each time you have sex.
  • Check the condom's expiration date. Do not use it past that date.
  • When opening the condom wrapper, be sure not to poke a hole in the condom with your fingernails, teeth, or other sharp objects.
  • Put the condom on as soon as the penis is hard (erect) and before any sexual contact with your partner.
    • First, hold the tip of the condom and squeeze out the air. This leaves room for the semen after you ejaculate.
    • If you are not circumcised, pull down the loose skin from the head of the penis (foreskin) before you put on the condom.
    • Hold on to the tip of the condom as you unroll the condom. Unroll it all the way down to the base of the penis.
  • After you ejaculate, hold on to the condom at the base of the penis, and withdraw from your partner while your penis is still erect. This will keep semen from spilling out of the condom.
  • Wash your hands after you handle a used condom.

How do you buy and store condoms?

  • Male condoms may be available for free at family planning clinics. You can buy them without a prescription at drugstores, online, and in some grocery stores.
  • Keep condoms wrapped in their original packages until you are ready to use them. Store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
  • Don't keep rubber (latex) condoms in a glove compartment or other hot places for a long time. Heat weakens latex and increases the chance that the condom will break.
  • Don't use condoms in damaged packages. And don't use condoms that are brittle, sticky, or discolored, even if they are not past their expiration date.

What else do you need to know?

  • To protect yourself and your partner from STIs, use a condom during vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You can use a male condom at the same time as you are using another form of birth control.
    • You can use a condom with hormonal contraception, an intrauterine device (IUD), a diaphragm, a sponge, a shield, or a cervical cap.
    • Don't use a male condom with a female condom.
    • If you use spermicide with a condom, don't put spermicide inside the condom.
  • If the condom breaks or you think sperm may have leaked out into the vagina, you can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. The most effective emergency contraception is an IUD (inserted by a doctor). You can also get emergency contraceptive pills. You can get them with a prescription from your doctor or without a prescription at most drugstores.
  • If you or your partner gets a rash or feels itchy after using a latex condom, talk to your doctor. You may have a latex allergy.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.