External Condoms

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What is a condom?

A condom is a latex rubber or polyurethane pouch that creates a barrier. It fits over the penis or sex toy during sex.

How does the condom work?

  • The condom is a barrier method of protection that stops sex fluids from mixing and reduces skin-to-skin contact.
  • When used on a penis, it stops sperm from getting into the vagina, anus, or mouth during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It will prevent pregnancy 85-97% of the time.
  • Use condoms on sex toys to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Can the condom protect me from STIs and HIV?

  • Yes, condom offers protection against most STIs, including HIV.
  • The condom may not protect you against the viruses that cause genital warts or herpes.

What kind of condom should I use?

  • Use latex or polyurethane condoms. They will protect you from most STIs and HIV.
  • Use lubricated latex condoms with a reservoir tip. Lubricated condoms offer better protection because they go on the penis or sex toy and into the vagina or anus more easily. Non-lubricated condoms are good for oral sex.
  • Condoms come in different colours, flavours, sizes, and textures (feel).
  • Read the label to make sure they offer protection from STIs and pregnancy.

Where can I get condoms?

  • Community clinics, Teen Clinics, nursing stations, public health nurses, some school counsellors and many community resource centres/programs offer condoms for free.
  • You can buy condoms at drug stores, supermarkets, and most convenience stores.
  • Make sure that the packages say that the condom will protect you against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

How do I use a condom on a penis?

Important: Make sure to put a condom on an erect (hard) penis before you have any contact with your partner’s vagina, anus, or mouth.

  1. Check the expiry date and look for any rips/holes in the packaging. If it’s ripped or expired, throw it away and get a new condom.
  2. Carefully unwrap the condom package and take out the condom.
  3. If you want, you can put a drop of water-based lubricant inside the tip of the condom for more pleasure.
  4. Make sure the “ring” of the condom is on the outside so that the condom will roll easily down the penis.
  5. For an uncircumcised penis, pull back the foreskin before putting on the condom.
  6. Pinch the reservoir tip at the top of the condom with three fingers (pinch an inch) to remove all the air and create space for ejaculation.
  7. Holding the pinch, use your other hand to roll the condom all the way down the erect (hard) penis. You can put water-based lubricant on the outside of the condom.
  8. If you can’t roll the condom down, the “ring” may be inside. Throw the condom away and use a new one.
  9. Once sex is done, hold on to the condom by the ring and pull out from your partner. If you leave your penis inside your partner’s body until it is soft, the condom may leak. If you continue having sex and the condom is full of ejaculate (cum), the condom may break.
  10. Take the condom off away from your partner’s vagina or anus to avoid a splash pregnancy or STI.
  11. Check to see if there were any tears or holes. Throw the condom away in the trash can. Do not flush condoms down the toilet.

If you want to have more sex, put on a new condom. You must use a new condom every time you ejaculate or have sex. Never reuse a condom.

How do I use a condom on a sex toy?

  • Depending on the shape you can use condoms with sex toys. If sharing sex toys with partners, it is important to put a new condom on the toy and change it between bodies to avoid sharing sex fluids.
  • Follow the same steps as putting a condom on a penis, but you do not have to use the three-finger pinch.

What if the condom slips or breaks?

  • If the condom slips or breaks during sex, there may be a chance of pregnancy or STI transmission (if someone has an STI).
  • If you had penis-vagina sex, consider using emergency contraception as soon as possible, up to five days after sex. See your health practitioner, pharmacist, nursing station, or community health centre for emergency contraception.
  • For any type of sex, consider getting an STI/HIV test.

What are some other things to remember?

  • Practice using a condom a few times before you have sex for the first time.
  • Never use scissors or knives when opening the package.
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place, away from sharp objects. Sunlight and heat can break down condoms. For this reason, don’t keep them in the glove compartment in your car, a back pocket, or your wallet.
  • Add water-based lubricants to the inside and outside of the condom to increase sexual pleasure. Condoms are less likely to break if you put a drop of water-based lubricant on the outside of the condom.
  • Use water-based lubricants only. Never use oil-based lubricants like Vaseline, cooking oil, margarine, hand cream or baby oil. They can break down latex condoms.

Where can I get more information?

  • From your health care provider, community health clinic, or public health nurse. If you need a regular healthcare provider, call the Family Doctor Finder at 204-786-7111.
  • From the Facts of Life (SERC): e-mail your questions to thefactsoflife@serc.mb.ca.
  • From a Teen Clinic if you are 21 or younger
  • Online at serc.mb.ca or our youth website, www.teentalk.ca

Sexuality Education Resource Centre 2023

To view or download a PDF version of this information, click here: External Condoms 2023

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