Check the date on the condom. Make sure it hasn’t expired. If the condom is past it’s expiration date, throw it out and find another condom.
Feel the condom wrapper and make sure that when you gently squeeze the center of the condom wrapper, it bulges with air. You only want to use a condom that hasn’t been opened-make sure there aren’t holes in the packaging and if the condom is torn, dry, stiff, or sticky, throw it away.
Open the condom wrapper slowly (no teeth or long finger nails please!) and remove the condom.
Make sure the condom’s ready to roll on the right way: the rim should be on the outside so it looks like a little hat, and it will unroll easily. You can unroll it a little bit before putting it on to make sure it’s right-side out. If you accidentally put a condom on inside out, do NOT flip it around and reuse it-get a new one.
Pinch the tip of the condom enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect. Holding the tip between your thumb and pointer finger, begin to unroll the condom all the way to the base of your partner’s erect (hard) penis. This usually requires two hands.
If you put the condom on the tip of the penis and cannot role it down because it’s flipped the wrong way, throw out the condom and start over (the part of the condom that would be inside you has just touched the tip of your partner’s penis). Don’t just flip the condom and use it. You can get pregnant or STDs this way.
The condom should fit snugly – but not too tight – so that it won’t slide off or break during sex.
If the condom rips at any time, throw that one out, wash your hands, and use a new one.
Removing a condom. Immediately after ejaculation (or if your partner starts to lose his erection), hold the base of the condom against the penis (so it stays in place and semen cannot spill out), and slowly withdraw the penis – while it is still hard. The condom should be wrapped in tissue and thrown away in the garbage (not in the toilet as it may clog).
What if a condom breaks. If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity:
- stop immediately
- withdraw the penis
- remove the broken condom
- wash your hands
- put on a new condom
Condoms can break, slip, or leak if they’re not put on and taken off properly. If the condom breaks, emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception can be started up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but the sooner it’s started the better it works. Emergency contraception does not protect against STDs, but it can reduce the likelihood that you will become pregnant.
If your partner is HIV positive, there are pills you can take to reduce the likelihood that you will be infected with HIV. Like with emergency contraception, these pills should be started as soon as possible, so contact your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider immediately after a condom breaks.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was adapted from PlannedParenthood.org, a website that provides education about reproductive and sexual health.