5. Do not use oil-based lubricant
Oils, such as baby oil, lotions, or petroleum jelly, can cause the condom to break, and people should not use these with condoms.
6. Do not use expired condoms
Condoms have an expiration date written on their packaging. If a condom is past its expiration date, a person should throw it away, as it will be more likely to break than a newer one.
7. Avoid condoms that were not stored correctly
Condoms are affected by heat and friction, so the way people store them is important.
Always store condoms in a cool, dry place, as they can break down in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Storing condoms in an extreme temperature environment can weaken a condom and make it less effective.
People should not store condoms in their wallet, as they can be exposed to friction and heat which can cause weakness or tears.
8. Avoid condoms with spermicide
Some condoms contain spermicide. The FDA has approved nonoxynol 9 (N-9) as an over-the-counter spermicide. For some people, this spermicide may cause vaginal or anal irritation. For others, this may not be an issue.
Tips for using condoms safely
Always check the condom’s expiration date and inspect the packaging to make sure there are no holes or tears. Store them away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
When using a condom, a person should follow these basic safety steps:
- Always check the packaging for the date and tears.
- Open the package carefully and avoid using sharp instruments, including teeth.
- Put the condom on after the penis becomes erect, but before it comes in contact with the vagina or anus.
- Pinch the tip before unrolling the condom over the penis.
- Use water-based lubrication on the outside of the condom to prevent tears or the condom slipping off.
- Grip the base of the condom after ejaculation and remove from vagina or anus before the penis becomes flaccid.
- Wrap the condom in a tissue and throw it out after use.
- Always use a new condom for each sexual encounter.
For female condoms, people should follow these additional steps:
- Guide the penis into the opening of the condom.
- Pinch the opening together when removing the condom from the vagina.
What to do if a condom breaks
If a condom breaks during intercourse, stop immediately and remove the broken condom.
If there is any risk of an STI, people should see their doctor, as soon as possible. The doctor will do a sexual health screening and advise about how to look for signs of STIs if they appear.
If people are worried about pregnancy, there are a number of emergency contraception options available from doctors, sexual health clinics, or over the counter at a pharmacy.
People can choose between emergency contraception pills or an intrauterine device (IUD). These can help prevent pregnancy when used early after a condom breaks. The sooner a person takes emergency contraception, the more effective it is.
Advantages and disadvantages of condoms
Both males and females condoms are available. Male condoms are typically more affordable and have more varieties. Male condoms can vary in shape, size, flavor, and color.
Both male and female condoms are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and STIs when used correctly.
Both male and female condoms have some advantages and disadvantages that people should consider when deciding on birth control.
Advantages of condoms include the following:
- less costly than hormonal methods and may be available free at certain health clinics
- non-hormonal way of working
- available in places that do not have a pharmacy
- protect against STIs where most other forms of birth control do not
There are also certain disadvantages of condoms compared with other methods of contraception, such as the following:
- there is a chance a condom will break
- improper usage makes them less safe
- oil-based lubricants can break down latex condoms
Condoms are an overall reliable and safe choice for people to use for protected sex. Unlike some other forms of birth control, most condoms offer additional protection from STIs.
Condoms created for use in the U.S. must pass safety standards, so much of choosing the right condom comes down to personal preferences.