Condoms are the number one method to protect you against most STI’s, including HIV and unwanted pregnancy. Condoms are 98% effective if you use them properly, so whether you’re planning on having sex now, or in the future – it’s good to know these tips to ensure you’re having safer sex.
Rule 1 - Before using a condom, you should always check the date.
So many people aren’t aware that condoms can go out of date! The rubber can break-down over time, making the condom less flexible and more prone to tearing during sex, so be sure to check the expiry date before you go out for the night.
Rule 2 - Check for the kite mark and the CE mark.
These symbols basically mean that the product is made to European standards. So if you ever go travelling abroad, it’s best to take your own condoms to ensure they’re going to do what they say on the packet.
Rule 3 - Check the condom packet for any damage.
It’s really important that before using a condom, you check it for any tears, holes or even grease that may suggest the condom has been tampered with. If this is the case, try to use a different condom just to be safe!
Many people, especially boys, tend to store a condom in their wallet in their back pocket. But this is actually a bad idea. The heat from your bum can overheat the condom and cause it damage. That’s why you should keep a condom in a cool, dry place – like a shirt or jacket pocket.
It’s also a good idea to be careful when opening a condom. Although you might feel carried away in the midst of passion, try not to tear open the condom with your teeth as you could damage it. Girls, watch out for sharp jewellery and jagged or long nails too. Just take your time and open the condom along the jagged edge.
Rule 4 - Put the condom on the right way.
When you take the condom out of its packet, place it on your hand. It should sit upright and look like a wee sombrero hat. If it doesn’t, you should be able to tell that the condom is inside out, as you might be about to put it on the wrong way.
If this does happen, don’t take it off and use it again. Start again with a new condom, as there can be pre-cum on the penis, and therefore on the condom. This is enough to pass on any STI, catch any STI and even get a girl pregnant!
Rule 5 - Change your condom after 45 minutes.
If you’re lucky enough to have sex for over the 45-minute mark, you should stop and put on a new condom. You should NEVER use a condom more than once and using 2 condoms at once won’t give you more protection. In fact, the friction caused by them rubbing against each other would only cause them both to burst.
Rule 6 – Flavoured condoms are meant for oral sex
So although flavoured condoms are really made for oral sex, if you only have one – they are better than nothing at all. But if possible try to use an ordinary condom when having full sex.
Rule 7- Use a water-based lubricant.
Many people choose to use lubricant to make sex a little easier. But the lubricant has to be a water-based one. You can access these from a sexual health clinic or pharmacy. Things like baby oil, petroleum jelly, chocolate body paint, body lotions and even butter, are all oil-based products. These are known to damage condoms and could cause them to burst!
So, that’s the golden rules of condom use. Make sure you think about these the next time you are using one.
If you live in Lanarkshire, you can access free condoms from the NHS Sexual Health Services. To find out more about them, you can read our blog ‘Sexual Health services in Lanarkshire’.
If you don’t want to visit a service in person, you can now get condoms sent to you in the post.