You may use either a male or a female condom during each sexual encounter to help protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and HIV. Using more than one condom at one time does not double or triple your protection. In fact, it has the opposite effect because the rubbers/plastics rub together and can rip. There are different kinds of male condoms – lubricated, colored, flavored, ribbed, extra large, snug fit, etc. Also, latex or polyurethane male condoms are highly recommended for safer sex. Polyurethane male condoms are a good option for those allergic to latex. Animal skin condoms are NOT recommended because they do not protect against HIV and some other STDs. There is only one type of female condom – lubricated, polyurethane and made by Reality. The female condom is sometimes referred to as the Reality condom.
Condom Use Tips
- Use a male or female condom every time you have sex. Use them for all kinds of sex: vaginal, anal and oral (male condom only).
- For extra lubrication, use a water-based lubricant such as K-Y Jelly. Do not use oil-based products such as lotion or baby oil. Oil can make latex condoms weak and cause them to break.
- Check the expiration date. Do not use expired condoms.
- Store condoms in a cool, dry place. Do not leave them in your wallet or car. Heat can damage condoms.
Using a Male Condom
- Put the condom on as soon as the penis is hard.
- Before opening the condom package, check the expiration date.
- Check the condom for air pockets by feeling the package with your fingers. If it’s flat, toss it and get another. If it feels like a pillow, then it’s good to be used.
- Open the package with care by using the pads of your fingers. Do not use scissors, your teeth, nails or any other sharp object. Be sure not to tear the condom.
- Make sure the "ring" of the condom is on the outside.
- Pinch the tip to squeeze the air out. This leaves a space for the semen (cum) to be deposited. If uncircumcised, pull back foreskin.
- Keep holding the tip. Roll the condom down to the base of the penis.
- After sex, pull out slowly while the penis is still hard. Hold the base of the condom while pulling out.
- Slide the condom off. Be careful not to spill the semen (cum).
- Throw the condom away. Never use the same condom more than once.
Using a Reality (Female) Condom
- Open the packet and locate the two rings.
- The smaller of the two rings will be inserted into the vagina*.
- To insert the reality condom, squeeze the small ring so that it can be inserted inside the vagina.
- Insert the small ring into the vagina.
- Use your index finger to ensure that the condom is inserted by pushing the ring and the condom inside the vagina until it snaps in place. Insertion of a reality condom is similar that of a tampon – you will know when it is in place. Once inserted, the outer ring (the large ring) hangs outside and will receive the penis.
- The reality condom can be inserted up to eight hours before intercourse.
- When you are ready to engage in intercourse, it is important to guide the penis INSIDE the ring.
- After intercourse, and after your partner pulls out, twist the outer ring to hold semen (cum) inside the condom (and to avoid spillage) and then pull the condom out.
- Use only one reality condom per encounter and throw it away when done. It is not recommended to use the same reality condom more than once.
* NOTE: The reality condom can also be used for anal sex. To use the reality condom for anal sex, follow all the steps above; however, be sure to remove the small ring before inserting the condom into the anus.
For information on free and low cost STD testing and treatment services in Los Angeles County, call the STD Hotline at 1-800-758-0880 or visit our STD Testing & Services section.