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Condoms are still one of the most effective ways to prevent STIs.

If you're having sex, using a condom is an effective way to prevent STIs when used properly. Many STIs are passed through bodily fluids and a condom prevents contact with those fluids. External condoms (sometimes called male condoms) are intended to be used on a penis or sex toy and are usually made of latex. Internal condoms (sometimes called female condoms) can be used in the vagina or anus and are made of nitrile. If you have latex allergies, synthetic non-latex condoms can be used. Natural membrane condoms (such as lambskin) are not recommended for STI prevention. If you are having oral sex, dental dams can be used to create a barrier between the mouth and vagina or anus. ​

Using Condoms Correctly

Use a new condom for every act of vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, and genital contact throughout the entire sex act (from start to finish). There are different types of condoms available for different kinds of sex.​

How to Use a Condom Correctly

  • Carefully open and remove the condom from the wrapper

  • Before any genital contact, put the condom on the tip of the erect penis with the rolled side out (it should roll down easily)

  • If the condom does not have a reservoir tip, pinch the tip enough to leave a half-inch space for semen to collect

  • Holding the tip, unroll the condom all the way to the base of the erect penis

  • After ejaculation and before the penis gets soft, grip the rim of the condom and carefully withdraw, gently pulling the condom off the penis while making sure that semen doesn't spill out

  • Carefully throw it in the trash where others won't handle it

If you feel the condom break at any point during sexual activity, stop immediately, withdraw, remove the broken condom, and put on a new condom. Ensure that adequate lubrication is used during vaginal and anal sex, which might require water or silicone-based lubricants, to avoid condom breakage. Oil-based lubricants (e.g., petroleum jelly, shortening, mineral oil, massage oils, body lotions, and cooking oil) should not be used because they can weaken latex, causing breakage.

How to Use an Condom Correctly for Vaginal or Anal Sex

  • Carefully open and remove the condom from the package

  • While holding the condom at the closed end, squeeze the sides of the inner ring together and insert it into the vagina or anus

  • Use your finger to push the inner ring up until it rests against the cervix in the vagina or as far into the anus as it can go

  • Be sure the condom is not twisted; the thin, outer ring should remain outside the vagina or anus

  • Guide your partner's penis into the opening of the condom

  • After sex, gently twist the outer ring and pull the condom out

  • Carefully throw the condom in the trash where others won't handle it​

How to use a Dental Dam as a Barrier for Oral Sex


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