What is it?

Regular condoms (AKA external condoms) are thin, stretchy pouches that you or your sexual partner wear on your penis to prevent pregnancy and STIs by creating a physical barrier that keeps sperm and other fluids from getting into the other person’s body. Condoms are not reusable and are very affordable.

Does it prevent STIs?

Yes! Latex and plastic condoms reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by making a barrier between body parts. This means that body fluids (like semen, and vaginal fluids) can’t be exchanged. Condoms also limit skin-to-skin contact that can spread STIs.

Lambskin condoms don’t prevent STIs, they help protect against pregnancy.

What types of condoms exist?

They are produced with latex, plastic, and lambskin and come in different sizes, colors, textures, and brands. Latex and plastic condoms have the same functions, you might prefer one over the other according to how your skin and your sexual partner’s skin react to the material.

Lambskin condoms don’t prevent STIs, they help protect against pregnancy.

Internal condoms are similar but instead of going on the penis go inside the vagina or anus.

How do you use it?

Each sex act requires a new condom (either a regular condom or an internal condom). For example, if someone has penis-in-vagina sex and then anal sex, they should use two different condoms. Condoms and internal condoms are also recommended when sharing sex toys.

Never use more than 1 condom on the same penis at a time. Using 2 condoms offers less protection because friction between them increases the chance of breaking it.

Before you put on a condom

  1. Read the label to confirm it is appropriate to protect against pregnancySTIs, and HIV.

  2. Check that the package is not damaged by lightly squeezing it between your fingers. It should feel like there is air inside. If it’s damaged pick another one.

  3. Check the expiration date on the package. If it's expired pick another one.

  4. Carefully open it with your hands – not with your teeth since this may damage it.

How to put on a condom

  1. Make sure the roll of the condom is coming up the outside of the condom, not the inside if you hold it from the tip. If you put it on your thumb and gently start to roll it down, it should be easy. If it doesn’t easily start to roll down, it is inside out. If a condom is put on a penis inside out, use a new one.

  2. Pinch the tip of the condom and place it on the head of your penis. Leave a little bit of space at the top to collect semen (cum). Find the tip of the condom. The tip is to catch semen when ejaculation or coming happens.

  3. Unroll the condom down the shaft of your penis all the way to the base.

To remove it

  1. After having sex, hold onto the rim of the condom and pull your penis out of your partner’s body. Do this BEFORE your penis goes soft, so the condom doesn’t get too loose and let semen out.

  2. Kindly take off the condom away from your partner so you don’t accidentally spill semen (cum) on them.

  3. Throw the condom away in the garbage.

    How to put a condom on

Is it right for you?

Yes! Everybody can use a condom and it is a great way to prevent STIs and pregnancies. Just make sure you are using it correctly.

Talking with a health provider is a great place to start. It can also be helpful to talk with friends or trusted adults in your life. Everyone is different, what works best for one person might not be what works best for you.

Condom Tips

  • Lube:

    • Using it can make sex feel more comfortable. It can be put on the outside of a condom and a couple of drops can be put inside before putting it on.

    • Only use water or silicone-based lube with condoms. Oil-based lube, like coconut oil or lotion, can make it easier for a condom to break.

  • Be prepared:

    • Keep them handy! On your nightstand or purse.

    • Practicing how to put condoms before being in the moment helps too!

  • Take care of them:

    • Condoms are super stretchy and strong but if they are kept somewhere really hot or cold it can make it easier for them to break.

    • If condoms are poked or rubbed, like the bottom of a bag, they can break.

  • Talk about them:

    • It can sometimes feel uncomfortable raising the subject of condoms with a sexual partner. Think about why it is important to you to use condoms ahead of time so you can clearly and firmly explain to a partner why you want to use them.

  • Explore:

    • There are so many types of external condoms! Trying different types can help you find the ones that feel best.

Where do you get it?

You can get condoms for free at your local health department or clinic. They also can be purchased at stores and gas stations.

Go Ask Tara

Go Ask Tara is on a mission to provide sex education and help the youth of Colorado prevent pregnancy and STIs.