Male and female condoms can be used to protect you from HIV.
But don't use them both at the same time! If used together, they won't stay in place,
and they can tear or become damaged. Read the instructions and practice a few times
before using condoms for the first time. Also, follow these guidelines:
Use male condoms made of latex, or polyurethane if you or your partner is allergic
to latex. Use male condoms for vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Keep male condoms in a cool, dry place. Don't keep them in your wallet or in your
car! This can cause them to break or tear.
Check the wrapper for tears and for the expiration date, to make sure the condom
is not too old to use. Carefully open the wrapper. Don't use your teeth or fingernails.
Make sure the condom looks okay to use. Don't use a condom that's gummy, brittle,
discolored, or has even a tiny hole. Put on the condom as soon as the penis is erect,
but before it touches the vagina, mouth, or anus.
Use lubricants only made with water, such as K-Y jelly. Oil-based lubricants, such
as Vaseline, can weaken the condom. The lubricant is put on the outside of the condom.
It helps to keep the condom from tearing. Don't use lubricants with the spermicide
N-9, which might make it easier for HIV to get into your body. After sex, pull out
the penis while it is still erect, holding the condom firmly at the base of the
penis so it does not slip off.
Use a new condom if you want to have sex again or in a different way. Do not wash
and re-use condoms — they are for one-time use!
The female condom, known as the FC2, is made of a rubber-like substance that is
not latex. This condom is made for vaginal sex only. FC2 has a ring on each end.
The inside ring holds the condom in place inside the vagina. The outer ring stays
outside the vagina so it covers the labia. Some research suggests that the female
condom is effective at preventing HIV
. It is not yet
known whether it is as effective as the male condom. The male condom is still considered
best for preventing HIV. Use female condoms for vaginal sex if your partner won't
use a male condom. Remember: Don't use a male condom and a female condom at the
same time. They could break.
To see how to use the FC2 female condom, watch this illustrated video External link
from the manufacturer.
You can also follow these steps:
- Check the wrapper for tears and to make sure the condom is not too old to use. Open
the wrapper carefully. Don't use your teeth or fingernails. Make sure the condom
looks OK to use. The condom will be moist and may be slippery.
- Put the condom into the vagina up to eight hours before having sex, but before the
penis touches the vagina. The condom cannot disappear inside your body.
- To insert the FC2, squeeze the inner ring with the thumb and middle finger and insert
it into the vagina like a tampon. Then, use the index finger to push the inner ring
as far up as it will go, without twisting the condom. There should be about an inch
of condom outside your vagina to allow for the condom to expand during sex. FC2
comes pre-lubricated. But it is okay to use water or oil-based lubricants too. The
lubricant is put on the inside and outside of the condom.
- During sex, make sure the outer ring of the FC2 isn't pushed into the vagina.
- After sex, hold the condom in place while your partner withdraws his penis. Remove
the condom before standing up. Grasp the outside ring and twist the condom to trap
in fluid and gently remove. Or, you can hold the condom tight around your partner's
penis and he can pull out his penis and the condom at the same time, being careful
not to spill any fluid out of the condom. Use a new condom if you want to have sex
This article was last modified in: 06/18/2012