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Tips on using condoms

Luckily, packets of condoms come with instructions. Follow them and you'll be an expert at putting them on before you know But here are some hints to get you started...

  • Always choose condoms with the CE mark – a recognised safety standard.
  • Check the expiry date and don’t use it if it is out of date. 
  • Always use a fresh condom every time you have sex.
  • Put the condom on well before there is any contact with the mouth, vagina or anus and not just before ejaculation ('coming’).
  • Change condoms during sex if you're having sex for a long time. 
  • Use extra, water-based lubrication with your condoms for safer anal sex. This helps to stop the condom breaking. Remember, never use oil-based lubrication with latex condoms as this destroys the latex.
  • Never use two condoms together (even male and female condoms).
  • If you accidentally start unrolling a condom inside out, throw it away and start again with a fresh one.
  • Never unroll a condom fully before putting it on – it’s almost impossible to put on a condom properly after it is unrolled completely. 
  • Squeeze all the air out of the end of the condom before you start putting it on. 
  • Be careful with fingernails – they could tear the condom. 
  • After sex, hold the condom during withdrawal (pulling out). 
  • Don't put lubrication inside a condom – it is more likely to slip off. 
  • Make sure the condom is the right size –too small and it may break – too big and it may slip off.

Remember, you do not have to have sex with someone that refuses to use contraception, but if you're simply having trouble bringing up the subject, it might be worth checking out our 'conversation starters'.

For more information call  0800 22 44 88 or use our sexual health service finder to look for help in your area.