How to Use a Male Condom

image description Photo Credit: bwats2

There’s no harm in practising how to put a condom on beforehand and this can help you both to feel more at ease when the time comes. You will also find instructions on the packet, but in general you should follow these rules:


  • Check the expiration date of the condom, which is on the package. Try to not use an expired condom. 

  • The condom package should not be opened or punctured- it should look like a small inflated pillow. Look at the corners of the package and notice how they are filled with air. A condom with a broken seal will not do this. 

  • Push the condom to one side of the package and rip open the package from one corner. Many condom packages have a notch in the edge of the packaging as a place to begin tearing. You want to open the package at the end so that you don't accidentally damage the condom. Do not open the condom package until you are ready to place it on a penis. 

  • Put on the condom as soon as the penis is hard. Be sure the roll-up ring is on the outside facing away from the penis. Squeeze the tip with your fingers to push out the air, and hold the tip while you unroll the condom along the length of the penis – all the way to the hair. Because a condom rolls down the penis, it can only go on one way. If you ever try to put a condom on with the wrong side onto the penis, throw it away and start with a new, unopened condom. Never unroll the condom before putting it on the penis. 

  • When putting the condom on, avoid tearing it with fingernails, jewelry, piercings, or anything else sharp or metallic. 

  • If you are going to use lube, only use water-based lubricants—oil-based lubricants (such as Vaseline and body lotions) can damage the condom. After ejaculation the penis should be pulled out slowly while it is still hard. Hold the condom at the base of the penis to make sure that it doesn’t fall off when pulling out and to avoid spilling semen. While holding the tip, roll the condom up only a portion of the way and then gently pull it off of the penis. 

  • You need to use a new condom every time you have sexual intercourse. Never use the same condom twice, and never try to clean a condom and reuse it. 

  • Dispose of used condoms by wrapping them in a paper towel or tissue and putting them in the trash. Some people like to tie a knot in the end of the condom to make sure that semen doesn’t spill out in the trash. Do not flush condoms as they can easily clog plumbing. Do not throw them away on the ground where they can cause litter or present a hazard to children and animals. 

  • Condoms with spermicide (nonoxynol-9) can cause skin irritation. If this occurs, the risk for acquiring STDs and even HIV is increased. 

  • If you have allergies to latex condoms, there are polyurethane condoms that you can use. And be sure to avoid condoms with spermicides or lubes that may also cause you to have an allergic reaction.



Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by our friends at


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