Anyone of any gender or sexuality who has sex, including foreplay, specifically people who have a penis, or use sex toys.
The condom acts as a physical barrier between the penis/sex toy and the vagina, mouth, or anus. It protects against both pregnancy and STI transmission and is said to be 98% effective.
If using condoms is your choice of contraceptive, you should use one every time you have sex. You must put the condom on the penis or sex toy before it enters the mouth, vagina or anus. If you are using lube, make sure it is a water-based lubricant.
The condom catches any sperm and semen that comes out of the penis, which may protect against pregnancy if you are having penis in vagina sex. The condom also acts as protection against STIs as it prevents sexual fluids from both partners being transferred.
Before using a condom, you should check the expiry date, and look for a CE mark or BSI kite mark - these mean they are safe to use.
1. Before opening, feel for the rib of the condom inside the packaging and push it to the side so that when you tear it open you don’t tear the condom as well
2. Unroll the condom a bit to check it is the right way round (it will only unroll if it’s the right way). Do this BEFORE it touches the penis
3. Pinch the tip of the condom between your thumb and forefinger to get rid of any air
4. Put it on the penis as soon as it is erect (hard) or on the sex toy before it goes near anyone’s mouth, vagina or anus
5. Use your other hand to roll the condom down the penis or sex toy all the way to the base
6. If you are having anal sex, you should use additional water-based lubricant which you can apply directly to the anus or on the outside of the condom
7. Check the condom is in place during sex
8. After ejaculation, hold the condom on at the base until the penis is withdrawn and then take it off, wrap it in tissue and throw it in the bin (not down the toilet)
Thanks to Brook for these instructions!
real life experiences
"I've used condoms in addition to my regular hormonal contraception when having sex with a new/casual partner, to eliminate the risk of catching an STI. In practice, 9/10 times it would be me (she/her) who pauses sex to suggest the use of a condom, though in my experience the interruption hasn't ever created awkwardness or prompted someone to refuse to wear one. Condoms can make sex a little less pleasurable for both parties, but I think are a fantastic option to enable safe, casual sex as well as being good for people who don't want to use hormonal contraception." Lara she/her