How to put on a male condom

14th December, 2022 • 5 min read

We know it can feel unsexy to have to go searching for a condom in the heat of the moment, and then fumbling around putting it on. Which is why it’s a good idea to know the quick, easy and safe way to put on a condom correctly.

“Knowing how to use a condom will help keep passions high during sex while protecting you against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” says Dr Ann Nainan, family doctor and Healthily expert.

So read on to learn how to use male condoms, how to dispose of them after sex, how to keep them safely, and how to use them for oral and anal sex.

Before you put on a condom

Before using a

male condom
(also called an external condom), there are a couple of things you should bear in mind:

  • always use approved condoms – in the US, the FDA requires all condoms to carry health advice. Check the condom packet for wording about STI and pregnancy prevention, which indicates that they meet regulations for quality and safety. In the UK, check that condoms have the European CE mark or UKCA mark on the packet
  • check the expiry date – if it’s out of date, don’t use it, because it might have become less effective

How to use a condom

A condom should always be put on a hard (erect) penis, before it has any contact with a partner’s body.

Follow these steps to help you put it on correctly:

  • be careful when you open the foil packaging, so you don’t rip the condom (don’t use your teeth to open it). If it’s damaged, throw it away and use a new condom
  • place the condom over the tip of the erect penis
  • if there’s a teat at the end, gently squeeze this with your thumb and forefinger to get rid of any air, then use your other hand to unroll the condom down the length of the penis, to the base
  • if it won’t unroll, it’s probably on inside out. If this happens, throw it away (there may be sperm on it) and start again with a new condom
  • if you want to use a
    , put this on the condom once it’s rolled over the penis

Want to know how to put on a condom with foreskin? If a penis has a foreskin (isn’t

), many people pull back the foreskin before putting on a condom. But this is a matter of personal preference.

How to reduce the risk of a condom breaking

There are some things you can do to help ensure a condom doesn’t break or slip off:

  • pull back the foreskin before you put on a condom
  • put on a new condom after 30 minutes of sex, as friction can weaken and damage it
  • never use 2 male condoms – or a male condom and a
    female condom
    – at the same time, as they’ll rub against each other and create more friction
  • store condoms in a cool, dry place – rather than in your jeans pocket or wallet – to avoid heat and friction

Read more about how to

help male condoms be most effective

Using a condom correctly after sex

After your partner has cum (ejaculated) and his penis is still hard, he should hold the condom in place at the base, then carefully take his penis out of your vagina.

He should only remove the condom once there’s no contact with your body, and be careful not to spill any cum (semen) on you.

Wrap the used condom in a tissue and put it in the trash – don’t flush it down the toilet, as it may block it and cause environmental problems.

Your health questions answered

How can I make putting a condom on my partner sexy?

“Making using a condom part of sex can increase pleasure for both of you,” says Dr Roger Henderson, Healthily clinical writer. “Make sure you always have one easily available, and use his hands as well as yours to put it on. Talk to each other about how horny you are at the same time. While rolling the condom on, keep eye contact with him, and squeeze his penis to tease him. When it’s safely on, ride him the way you want!”

Do I need to use a new condom if I have anal and vaginal sex?

“Yes – if you’re switching from vaginal to

anal sex
(or vice versa) always use a new condom,” says Dr Roger. “Using the same condom can introduce anal bacteria (germs) into the vagina, and lead to infections.”

What about using a condom for oral sex?

“While you can’t get pregnant from

oral sex
, you can still catch or pass on some STIs, including
,” says Dr Roger. “Wearing a condom can reduce the risk, so it’s usually recommended – especially if you’re with a new partner. If you don’t like the taste of a condom, why not try a flavored one? There are lots of flavors available, so experiment to find the type you like best.”

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.