Picking a condom
Condoms come in lots of colors and textures these days but only two things matter: They should be made of plastic or latex (which is way more reliable than animal tissue condoms) and they should fit snugly. (Yes, they do come in different lengths, widths, and thicknesses.)
Condom packages show an expiration date. If a condom is past the date, or looks dry, brittle, stiff, or sticky, it shouldn't be used. Keeping a few spares on hand is a good idea in case one rips while being put on.
Handling a condom
Condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent breakage or leakage. To open, the package should be torn gently on the side (not with teeth or scissors, which could tear the condom itself) and pulled out slowly.
Choosing the right lubricant
Using a pre-lubricated condom, or applying a water-based lubricant-such as K-Y jelly or Astroglide-inside and outside the condom can help prevent rips. Oil-based lubricants (like Vaseline or other petroleum jellies, body lotions, mineral or vegetable oils) should not be used because they can cause the condom to dissolve.
Using condoms with other forms of birth control
Use the condom with a spermicide to ensure that you will be protected from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancy. Many couples also use an additional form of birth control, such as the Pill, Norplant or the Depo-Provera shot, in case the condom breaks or leaks.
Some people are allergic to rubber. Others are allergic to spermicides. Before you use these products, try them on an area of your skin to see if you react to them.
Putting a condom on correctly
The condom should be put on before intercourse begins. The rolled condom should be placed over the head of the penis after it is hard and erect, leaving a half-inch of space at the tip to collect semen. (Pinching the air out of the tip with thumb and forefinger can help to prevent breakage). Next the condom should be unrolled over the entire length of the penis down to the base, smoothing out any air bubbles. The condom should fit snugly and not look like it will slide off during intercourse. Make sure the latex ring is on the outside. If you start to put on a condom inside-out, throw it away.
Removing a condom
Immediately after ejaculation, the penis should be withdrawn slowly before it softens. The base of the condom should be held against the penis to avoid spilling the semen as it's withdrawn. The condom should be wrapped in tissue and thrown away.
Protection during oral sex
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is possible to get HIV and other STDs during oral sex. During oral sex, viruses could enter the body through tiny cuts or sores in the mouth. The CDC recommends you use a condom for oral sex on a man. For oral sex on a woman, the CDC says you can use Saran Wrap, dental dams (square pieces of latex available in some drugstores) or a square of latex cut from a condom as a barrier between the mouth and the vagina.