The trusty condom is the only type of contraception that stops pregnancy AND protects against STI’s, and you only need to use them when you have sex – so no need for advanced preparation or doctors appointments.
Anyone can buy or get hold of condoms easily – either buy them online or from shops and pharmacies, or in the UK you can get free condoms from contraception clinics, sexual health clinics and some GP surgeries.
It may sound obvious, but you need to use a different condom every time you have sex and only use one at a time.
To use a condom, open the condom out of the packet, making sure you don’t tear it with your nails or jewellery. Squeeze the air out of the teat at the end and place it over the tip of the erect penis.
If it won’t roll down the penis, you’ve probably got it the wrong way round. Take it off, throw it away and start again with a new one.
After sex, hold the condom at the base of the penis when you withdraw – and remove it from the penis, being careful not to spill any semen.
Don’t throw condoms away in the toilet. Think of Blue Planet and put it in the bin.
How to stop
Stopping using condoms is easy, you just don’t use one when you have sex.
Check out our survey results to learn about other users’ experiences with condoms.
Things that can go wrong
The most common thing that can go wrong is a condom breaks, splits, or slips off during sex. If this happens, you may need to use emergency contraception. If it keeps happening, you may not be putting condoms on correctly (leaving some air in there) or you may need to use a different condom size. There are hundreds of types, brands and sizes of condom so it’s worth trying out a few to find one that works for you and your partner.
Occasionally, condoms can fall off and get lost inside a women’s vagina during sex. Don’t panic, just reach your fingers inside your vagina and try to pull it out. If you can’t feel it, it’s probably lodged at the top of your vaginal canal near your cervix. Sometimes squatting or propping one foot up on a higher surface, can help you reach your cervix. If you can’t get it out after a few hours, head to your local A&E or clinic and they can remove it for you. If this happens to you should consider emergency contraception.
People who are allergic or sensitive to latex shouldn’t use condoms made from latex.
Quite a lot of things can stop condoms being effective – these include:
If a penis touches the vaginal area before the condom is put on. Make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself– sperm can come out of the penis before a man has ejaculated.
Condoms being past their use by date – don’t use them if they’re out of date
Condoms stored in intense heat or cold.
Condoms used with oil based products or lubricant (like moisturiser, lotion, Vaseline).
Condoms used with medication for things like thrush (pessaries etc).