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What are Condoms and How do Condoms Work?

Resources and Education

Condoms are sheaths of thin latex or plastic worn on the penis during sex. Condoms collect semen ("cum") before, during and after a man ejaculates ("cums").

Why Use a Condom?

If used correctly, condoms are the cheapest, easiest and best way to protect against sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STIs/STDs) and pregnancy. Condoms should be used correctly during oral sex (blow jobs), anal sex and vaginal sex. If used correctly, condoms are 98% effective at preventing STIs/STDs and pregnancy.

Condom Use Tips

  • Carry condoms with you and store them near you where you might have sex.
  • Heat damages condoms and causes them to break. Store condoms in a cool place. Never leave condoms in a warm place like wallets and warm cars.
  • Check the expiration date. Old condoms can break. Do not use condoms that have no expiration date.
  • Lubrication is important. Buy lubricated condoms and use water-based lubricants (gels) made for sex like K-Y Jelly® or Astroglide®. Extra lubrication reduces friction (dry surfaces rubbing together). Too much friction can cause condoms to break. Do not use oil-based lotions, Vaseline® or baby oils.
  • Find a condom you like. Condoms come in different colors, sizes and flavors. Flavored condoms can be used for oral sex (blow job). There are latex-free condoms.
  • Practice makes perfect. Practice putting on a condom before you have sex. Build your confidence before you are with your partner.

How to Use a Condom

Step 1. Take Care of Your Condoms

  • Open the package carefully, don't use your teeth.
  • Take it out and look to see which way it unrolls before the condom touches your penis.
Condom Use Step 1

Step 2. Put the Condom On

  • Remember, it is important to put the condom on the penis when it is hard and erect before the penis touches your partner.
  • Pinch the entire tip of the condom between your thumb and first finger of one hand so that there is 1/2 inch of room at the top with no air bubble.
  • Condom Use Step 2
  • Use one hand to roll down the condom while keeping the other hand pinching the tip of the condom. Unroll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis.

Step 3. After Sex

  • Soon after ejaculating ("cumming") and while the penis is still hard, hold on to the base of the condom as you pull out so you do not leave the condom in your partner and spill the semen inside your partner.
  • Condom Use Step 3
  • Move away from your partner so you do not spill the semen on him or her and take it off.
  • Throw away used condoms and never use a condom more than once.

Family Planning

Let Us Help You

For low-cost contraception, please call (303) 436-4949 and ask for a "family planning appointment."

For more information on birth control methods and services, please call the Contraception Hotline at (720) 956-2806.

For information on our vasectomy program, please call (720) 956-2806.

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(303) 739-1211