QJSex: Do you know all 10 steps?

Condoms really are a marvelous invention. When used properly, they are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you’re thinking “Wait, hold up, I know plenty of people who have gotten pregnant/an STI and they were using condoms! What about Ross and Rachel on Friends?!”

Well, you’ll notice that I said “when used properly, they are highly effective.” Efficacy rates for contraceptive methods are based on “perfect use” - if you look up “typical use”, you’ll find the rates are considerably lower. So, how do you use a condom properly? There are ten steps:

1. Check the expiry date.
This will be found on the back of the condom. It’s typically stamped onto fine print on the back, so it’s not that easy to read in the dark. Your best bet is to periodically check your condom stash and make sure none will expire for a good long time.

2. Check for air bubble.
By squeezing the unopened condom wrapper, you should be able to feel some resistance and see the air bubble. If there’s no air bubble or you can feel lube on the outside of the condom that may have leaked from inside of it, throw that condom out and use a new one. Oxygen degrades latex, so even if the condom wasn’t damaged by whatever punctured the wrapper, it is more likely to break if you use it.

3. Open condom carefully. Do not use teeth.
Hey, it might seem sexy to tear that condom wrapper open with a ferocious rawr, but it’s not so sexy if you rip it.

4. Blow into tip to figure out which way to roll it.
You want the condom to look like a sombrero (pictured above), not like a shower cap. The reason why you should blow into the tip is because if you put it on a penis the wrong way and it doesn’t roll down, you need to throw that condom out and use a new one. Pre-cum contains sperm and could contain STIs, so you don’t want that on the outside of the condom! If using a condom on a toy, you could transmit any STIs harbored on that toy as well.

5. Place tip of condom over erect penis or phallus.
The “erect” part is really important here. Always put condoms on fully erect penises. Your sex toys are likely constantly erect, so don’t worry about them.

6. Pinch the tip of the condom.
Pinching the tip ensures that there will be room for ejaculate, and also eliminates the air bubble. This is important even if you are using a condom on a sex toy, since the pressure caused by the air bubble can cause the condom to break.

7. Unroll condom down to base of erect penis/phallus.
Seriously, roll it all the way down. Not only will it make it less likely that it will slip off, but it will cover more skin and give greater protection against STIs that are transmitted from skin-to-skin contact.

8. Lubricate and enjoy!
But actually, lube is your friend.

9. Withdraw immediately following ejaculation, remove condom from penis/phallus, doing so at a safe distance from partner’s genitals.
The “immediately following ejaculation” part is important. I know you might be tired and it’s just so nice lying there, but at least get your genitals apart from each other. And then aim away from each other. The condom should slip off easily as the penis becomes flaccid.
If using a condom on a toy, it’s probably easiest to unroll it. If it’s stuck to the toy and you yank on it, you could turn your condom into slingshot.

10. Tie off condom and dispose (watch for pets and do not flush).
Tie the condom to avoid a mess and then throw it away in some kind of sealed garbage container. Animals love the sugars and proteins in our bodily fluids, so they may pull your condom out of the garbage if it’s within reach. Squirrels and raccoons will do this, too. You don’t want to flush the condom, though. It could block your drains, and since you tied it off there is now an air bubble, so it could quite literally come back to haunt you.

In addition to these ten steps, make sure your condoms are stored properly! Keep them safe from extreme temperatures and sunlight, and if you must take them on the road, keep them in some sort of carrying case that will keep them from being damaged in your pocket, wallet, or bag.

As well, make sure you’re using the right size of condoms! Condoms that don’t fit properly are more likely to fall off, break, and just feel uncomfortable and distracting.

So there you go. It’s a lot of information, but it’s worth it if you want the best protection possible.

This blog is being run in conjunction with the Sexual Health Resource Centre, located in theJDUC, room 223. Follow them on Twitter @shrckingston.

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