How to use a condom
By Andrea Arscott, Senior Columnist
You get home feeling rather proud of your recent purchase of a box of condoms, but now you’re questioning your ability to use them. Settling in on the couch, you get out the laptop and start your investigation into proper condom usage. There’s a lot of information out there, and since you’re already exhausted from having to decide which condoms to buy, you watch a video instead of reading through different websites.
After clicking on SmartSexResource.com, you venture to the “condoms” page and click on a link, “how to put on a condom.” You watch an animated penis roll one on. He makes it look so easy: he opens the packet, pinches the tip, and rolls the thing all the way down. This process seems too simple to believe. You look for some more detailed instructions and discover that you should follow these steps when using a condom:
1. Check that the brand is one that is sold in stores and pharmacies.
2. Check the expiry date.
3. Check that they protect against HIV and other STIs—lambskin and novelty condoms don’t.
4. Make sure they’re made of latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene.
5. Check that they’re lubricated—lubrication prevents friction, which prevents breakage.
6. Visually inspect the condom wrapper for damage.
7. Squeeze the packet to ensure there’s air in it. No air could mean there’s a hole in the packet and a hole in the condom—no protection there.
8. Open the condom from one serrated edge to the other. No need to use your teeth, scissors, hunting knives, safety pins, needles, or razor blades, and if you’re camping, no need to break out the barbecue skewers, marshmallow sticks, or wiener pokers.
9. Remove the condom and blow into it to make sure it’s the right side up. It should look like a sombrero and not a toque.
10. Pinch the tip and place it on the penis. You want to do this when the penis is hard.
11. Roll the condom to the base of the penis. (If the condom doesn’t roll down, you’ve got it the wrong side up. Don’t just flip it over—there could be semen on that side, which means you could put your partner at risk if you’ve got a sexually transmitted infection or HIV. Get a new condom!)
12. To reduce friction, add more water-based lube. Stay away from oily alternatives, like baby oil, hand cream, or cooking oils. These can cause the materials to break down and can also cause irritation, possibly a yeast infection.
13. Once you’ve completed your love-making session, hold the base of the condom and withdraw from your partner soon after ejaculation. If you withdraw once you’ve lost your erection, you put your partner at risk because your body fluids could spill out into your partner.
14. Remove the condom away from your lover and place it in the garbage, not the toilet.
15. Never re-use a condom!
You may also want to read the article at NBCNews.com titled “Condom Use 101: Basic Errors are So Common Study Finds.” According to the article, almost half of both men and women who completed the study failed to pinch the tip.
Stop HIV and hep C now. Know how to use a condom before sex.
Come down to the Purpose Society testing clinic at 40 Begbie Street in New West the first and third Friday of the month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for anonymous and rapid HIV testing and STI and HCV testing. We also provide vaccines, free harm reduction supplies, and condoms! You can also get your questions answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org