Use a condom every time!
Even in a closed or open relationship it is important to have a dialog about condom use to keep each member of the relationship safe, healthy, and free from STIs.
An external condom (sometimes called a traditional condom) can be used to cover the penis, or an internal condom can be inserted into the vagina or anus. See below for more on each type of condom.
Store your condoms in a cool, dry place and make sure they are properly lubricated with water or silicone-based lubricant. Silicone-based lubricant is safe for any condom and while often more expensive than water-based, less lubricant is needed because it does not dry up as quickly. Oil-based lubricant should NOT be used with latex condoms and is not recommended for use inside the body.
- Don’t unroll the condom first. Condoms are packaged neatly rolled up for a reason – they are easier to apply safely and intact.
- We can’t overemphasize the importance of wearing the right size condom. If a condom is too large, it will feel uncomfortable for both partners and possibly slip off during intercourse. When a condom is too small, it may rip or tear. Both scenarios will not only ruin the moment, they will leave you unprotected.
- When opening the condom package, take care not to damage the condom itself. Avoid using sharp objects (including teeth!) or snagging the condom on jewelry or long fingernails.
- As you apply the condom, leave a bit of extra room at the tip. There should be enough space at the tip to provide comfort and accommodate semen.
- When rolling on a condom, gently squeeze out excess air to prevent a bubble at the tip, and then slowly unroll the condom down to the base of the penis.
- Applying extra lubrication has multiple benefits, including increasing sensitivity and pleasure for all partners and preventing the condom from tearing from friction. While some condoms are lubricated, the amount of lube applied is minimal and may not last through an entire session. To increase sensation for the insertive partner, add a drop or two of water or silicone-based lubricant to the inside of the condom before putting it on. Then apply a lubricant to the outside of the condom for extra glide.
- Never use oil based lubricants with condoms! Oil based lubricants can break down the materials from which condoms are made (especially latex!). Be sure to always use water or silicone-based lubricant instead.
- Never reuse a condom, ever.
- Condoms should be stored in a dry, cool environment and out of direct sunlight or other sources of heat which can degrade the condom. Do not keep condoms in a wallet unless you plan to use them immediately (ie. that day/night). The best places to store condoms include a nightstand or dresser drawer, medicine cabinet, or a secure container in your purse or bag.
- Internal condoms, or sometimes referred to as female condoms, are a great alternative to traditional condoms and allows the receptive partner to have more control over whether or not a condom is used.
- These condoms can be used for vaginal or anal sex.
How to insert for vaginal or anal sex
- To insert for vaginal sex use, squeeze the “insertion” (inner ring) in the middle, making an 8 shape, then insert pinched portion just into the vagina, next insert finger(s) inside the condom to place further in the body and secure. When inserted properly, about one inch of the outer ring will hang outside the body, then intercourse can begin. then
- For anal sex be sure to REMOVE the inner “insertion” ring to avoid potential complications with becoming lodged in the intestines. Insertion for anal sex can easily be done by placing the condom on the partner’s penis or sex toy and then being slowly inserted by penetration.
- Or with your finger inside the condom, push the condom up into the anal cavity. This can be difficult to do using only your fingers, so you may have to try several times. Be sure the condom is not twisted. When inserted properly, about one inch of the outer ring will hang outside the body, then intercourse can begin.
How to remove after vaginal or anal sex
- For easy removal squeeze and twist the outer ring and gently pull the condom out.
- Wrap the condom in the package or tissue, and throw away.
- Do NOT put in the toilet.
Where can I get FREE traditional condoms?
Condoms and safer sex kits are available for FREE at our Northside office:
4138 Hamilton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45223
Additional local locations that offer FREE traditional condoms:
Are you a community organization looking for condoms or safer sex kits?
We can help. Learn more by visiting our Education Services page.
Select a topic to learn more:
Healthy Sex Guide
Trans Sexual Health