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Using a Condom the Right Way

The Do's and Don'ts of Condoms


Updated June 19, 2014

To prevent HIV and STDs, condoms must be used each and every time. But they must be used correctly as well. Here are the do's and don'ts of proper condom use.


  • Use only latex or polyurethane condoms.
  • Store condoms appropriately. Keep condoms in a cool, dry place.
  • Apply the condom on the erect penis before any sexual contact.
  • Squeeze any area from the tip of the condom to minimize the possibility of leakage.
  • Use a generous amount of water based lubricant to reduce friction and minimize the risk of the condom breaking.
  • Pull out immediately after ejaculation, holding the condom in place to prevent it from slipping off and leaking semen.
  • Dispose of the condom immediately after use.


  • Never store condoms in hot places such as your wallet or car.
  • Never use out of date condoms. Older condoms can be weak and break easily.
  • Never unroll the condom before putting it on the penis.
  • Never use oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline. They weaken condoms, increasing the risk of the condom breaking.
  • never use your teeth or scissors to open a condom wrapper. This increasing the risk of cutting or tearing the condom.
  • Never reuse a condom.
  • Never allow the penis to go flaccid before pulling out. This can result in leakage or semen.

These do's and don'ts courtesy of the American Social Health Association, 2004.

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