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Guide To Condoms

All you need to know about the world's most popular form of contraception

Rules of the Rubber

When it comes to STDs and unplanned pregnancies, most mistakes are made because of incorrect condom use. Obviously, in the heat of the moment, it’s difficult to think with your head—well, the one above your waist. But in order to get the most bang for your buck, you have to abide by a few simple guidelines.

* Storage—Yes, keeping one in your wallet is very responsible of you, but its not advised to store condoms in warm places or under pressure, such as in your back pockets. Keep condoms bedside in a cool, dry case out of direct sunlight.

* Look for tears—Most rips occur when you shred the condom’s packaging. Before you tear in to it, make sure the package is sealed tight—you can test this by squeezing and checking for a pocket of air. Whatever you do, don’t open it with your teeth, no matter how badly you want to.

* Lubricant—Use only water-based lubricants with latex condoms. Avoid oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, massage oils, and body lotions. Note: Lube up your penis before you put on the condom. It makes the sucker last longer and makes for a more enjoyable ride.

* The right fit—The condom’s latex should be secure at the base of the penis. It needs to be snug, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. It should unroll completely and be as close to the body as possible. For the perfect fit, try a company like Condomania, which offers customized condoms for all lengths and girths.

* Timing—Put on any condom as soon as you get erect and before there is any sex play. Pre-ejaculatory fluid can carry HIV and other STDs. That means no playing Just the Tip.

* Slide it on—Before you unroll, check that the condom is not inside out. It should look like a mini sombrero with the reservoir tip pointing up. Pinch the tip as you roll the condom ring down the shaft, making sure there aren’t any air bubbles that could cause breakage later.

* Check, then double-check—Make sure it’s still secure on your penis during a thrust by checking for the rim. Also, if it suddenly feels surprisingly like there is no condom, there might not be (even though it’s really rare).

* Pulling out—Hold your johnson and the condom at the base, keeping the tip downward so no bodily fluids leak out. Then move away from your partner just in case there’s a spill.

* Disposal—Take the condom off before you lose your erection—or else things can get really messy. Tie it like you would a balloon, wrap it in a tissue, and throw it away in a trash can, not in the toilet, unless you want a plumbing emergency. Note: Always use discretion. No girl wants to peel your used condom off the floor of her bedroom the next day.

* Don’t be a cheap-ass—Always use a new condom for every act. That means unwrapping a new one when you’re switching up orifices and, if it’s really your lucky night, from partner to partner.

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