By: Jamie Jablonowski, RN, BSN
Follow me on Twitter! @jamiejab
It’s been a while since your 9th grade health teacher demonstrated with a banana and this is an important skill if you want to avoid some nasty sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or an unplanned child. Sadly, only 39 percent of American high school students are taught how to use condoms correctly. Both men and women know how to unhook a bra and thus both sexes should know how to don a condom as well. Here are some basic instructions:
1. Make sure it’s not expired or used.
It’s unlikely that you’re going to be checking an expiration date as your partner is staring at you as you dig through your pants/desk drawer/roommate’s night stand, but try and make sure they are not left over from generation’s past or left in your car from last summer. As far as used goes, it is gross that it even needs to be said, but it does. Enjoy that image.
2. Put the condom on before you have sex.
Not half way through, not at the very end, and not the second time after you realize you “forgot” the first time. STDs such as genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (see: HPV vs. Justin Bieber) are primarily transmitted through infected skin or mucosal surfaces so you want to protect yourself from the very start.
3. Unroll the condom after placing it on the penis.
An analysis of a collection of studies since 1995 by researchers at The Kinsey Institute for Research of Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University, led by Stephanie Sandors, found that 25.3 percent of people reported unrolling the condom before placing it on the penis.
4. Make sure there’s wiggle room.
If the condom doesn’t have one of those fancy little tips at the end, make one by pinching the tip so there’s space for when the man ejaculates.
5. Use the right lubricant.
The lube you choose should always be water-based if you’re using it with condoms. The one’s sold in stores will usually have a label right on the front. Oil-based options include petroleum jelly, massage oils, mineral oil, body lotions, and cooking oil. The oil can cause the latex to weaken and break. If you’d use it for your pasta, you probably shouldn’t be using it on your penis.
6. Don’t linger too long.
After the man finishes, before the penis gets soft, grab the condom from the base as he withdraws and throw that bad boy out.
Congrats! You’ve done it! Unfortunately, while this seems easy enough, each year 18 out of 100 women who do not use condoms correctly with their partner will become pregnant. In this case, good intentions are not enough. Protect your partner, protect yourself, and protect your parents from having to dig out your old crib a few years early.
Some of these experiences sound familiar? Feel free to share stories you’ve heard about your friends in the comments section. While safe sex is between the individuals involved, learning about safe sex/sharing horror stories is for everyone.