Condom Instructions

Condoms can be up to 98% effective when used correctly. They key here: CORRECTLY. It's important that anyone who plans to use a condom knows how to do so. That's why we've listed instructions, DOs and DON'Ts, tips, and resources below. 


1. Make sure you have consent. If you're not sure, ask! 

2. Always check the expiration date printed on the wrapper or box. Make sure the packet isn't damaged or torn. Open condoms carefully to aviod damaging them — don’t use teeth or scissors.

3. Make sure the condoms ready to roll on the right way: the rim should be on the outside so it looks like a little hat, and it will unroll easily. You can unroll it a little bit before putting it on to make sure it’s right-side out. If you accidentally put a condom on inside out, do NOT flip it around and reuse it — get a new one.

5. Pinch the tip of the condom and place it on the head of the penis. Leave a little bit of space at the top to collect semen. If you’re uncircumcised, it might be more comfortable to pull your foreskin back before placing the condom on the tip of your penis and rolling it down.

6. Unroll the condom down the shaft of your penis all the way to the base. You can put a few drops of water-based or silicone lubricant inside the tip of the condom before you roll it on. You can also add more lube to the outside of the condom after it's on the penis. (Water-based or silicone lube can help stop condoms from breaking.) Avoid oil based lubricant. 

7. After ejaculation, hold onto the rim of the condom and pull the penis out of your partner’s body. Do this BEFORE the penis goes soft, so the condom doesn’t get too loose and let semen out.

8. Carefully take off the condom and throw it away in the garbage — don’t flush it down the toilet (it can clog pipes).

DOs and DON'Ts

  • DO use water-based or silicone-based lubricant to prevent breakage.
  • DO store condoms in a cool, dry place.
  • DO make sure there are no tears or defects.
  • DO roll the condom on when your penis is erect (hard), but BEFORE it touches your partner’s mouth or genital area. Remember: STD's can be spread by skin-to-skin touching. 
  • DO wear it the whole time you’re having sex. Pre-ejaculate can have STD germs and may rarely contain sperm that can cause pregnancy.
  • DO use another form of birth control, like the pillringshotimplant, or IUD, along with condoms if you are concerned about pregnancy. 
  • DON’T use oil-based products like baby oil, lotion, petroleum jelly, or cooking oil because they will cause the condom to break.
  • DON’T store condoms in your wallet as heat and friction can damage them.
  • DON’T use more than one condom at a time.
  • DON’T reuse a condom.


Instructions and DOs and DON'Ts adapted from Planned Parenthood and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

How Condoms Work

More Resources



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