The HIM Program is a Red Door program of the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic
525 Portland Ave S :: 4th Floor :: Minneapolis, MN 55415 :: 612.348.9100 :: himprogram.org
Using condoms consistently (and correctly!) protects us from getting or giving HIV and other STDs. Unprotected anal sex continues to fuel the HIV epidemic in the gay and bisexual men's community right here in the Twin Cities. Unprotected anal and unprotected oral sex play a big role in our recent syphilis outbreak as well. So it's important to learn about how to use condoms correctly and how to make them a regular part of your sex life.
There are a number of different types of condoms, including traditional male latex condoms, male polyurethane condoms and female polyurethane condoms (called "bottom condoms" for men). Like pants, they come in all different shapes, colors and sizes... be sure to shop around for condoms that are comfortable and that you enjoy!
Only use latex or polyurethane condoms. Lamb skin condoms do not protect against HIV!
Latex condoms are stretchy and protect you from HIV and most STDs. Extreme heat and cold breaks down latex, so be sure to store your condoms in cool, dry places. Only use water-based or silicon-based lubricants with latex condoms... DON'T USE OIL-BASED LUBE! Products like vaseline, baby oil, vegetable oil and crisco break down latex. The key word there is "break." Be sure to thoroughly wash off any oil-based products used during a massage or fisting prior to anal sex. Or have a stash of polyurethane condoms available.
Polyurethane is a type of soft plastic used in some male condoms and the bottom condom. Like latex condoms, polyurethane condoms provide protection from HIV and most STDs. The plus side is that oil-based lubricants are safe to use with polyurethane condoms.
Be sure to only use one type of condom during any particular sex act. Wearing more than one condom (such as two male condoms on one penis, or using a male AND bottom condom at the same time) increases the chances of breakage. One is plenty.
Use a condom every time you have anal sex, top or bottom, insertive or receptive. Be sure you have them available (make it as easy as possible to use them!) and learn how to use both the traditional male condom and the bottom condom correctly.
If a condom ever does break and your sex partner is known to be HIV-positive, ask a clinican about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours (ideally within the first 36 hours). For more information about PEP, contact the HIM Program at 612.348.9100 or go to the HCMC Emergency Room for immediate assistance.
No condom? Don't have penetrative sex - there are plenty of other ways to get your groove on. Reduce your HIV risk by keeping it to oral sex and rimming (though you still have to keep the other STDs in mind), or eliminate your HIV risk by keeping it to mutual masturbation, frottage (rubbing), erotic massage... the list goes on!
We know that condoms are the best way to protect ourselves from getting HIV and significantly reduce the chance of picking up something like gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis or herpes. We talk about them all the time! And sometimes not enough. Either way, we know that there are many things that can affect our ability to use (and to choose to use!) condoms.
Below are some of the things we often hear from guys, click to find out more!
1. Check it out.
Condoms expire, so check the packaging to make sure you aren't using one you picked up at Pride Festival a couple of years back. Heat and cold degrade latex condoms, so avoid keeping them in your car or pants pocket for long periods of time.
Also, watch out for fingernails and other sharp objects when opening the package. Avoid using teeth!
2. Put it on.
Put the condom on the head of the penis. If you have trouble figuring out which way is right-side up, practice on yourself until you get comfortable with it. Start with a new condom if you put it on the head backwards - it may get pre-cum on the wrong side.
Pull foreskin back (if uncut) before Step 3.
3. Pinch and roll.
Pinch the tip of the condom to squeeze out air, then roll the condom until it reaches the base of the penis (where the shaft meets the pelvis). If it doesn't reach the base, consider using larger condoms for better protection.
If it doesn't roll down right away, it's been put on backwards. Don't flip it over, just grab a new one and roll!
4. Ready to go.
Now you're ready to go. Use plenty of lube (water-based or silicon-based... NO OIL-BASED) to reduce friction and increase your and your partner's pleasure. Add more lube occasionally for longer sex sessions.
Stop having sex and check the condom immediately if you suspect it's been broken. Don't forget the lube!
5. The BIG finish.
After ejaculation (cumming), pull out before going soft. To help prevent spilling any semen, hold onto the condom at the base of the shaft while pulling out.
After cumming , put on a fresh condom. The semen inside the condom causes extra pressure and can contribute to breakage (and spillage!) if you keep going.
6. Clean up.
After pulling out, remove the condom, twist the the end and tie it off to keep the semen inside the condom. Only use a condom once.
Throw away the used condom in a trash can. Don't flush. And don't reuse!
For more information about safer sex and condom use, or to get safer sex supplies, set up an appointment with the HIM Program today!
Images and animations adapted from illustrations by D. Rosenzweig, Engenderhealth.org.
Authored by Derek Blechinger and developed by the HIM Program, a Red Door Program of the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic
525 Portland Ave, 4th Floor :: Minneapolis, MN 55415 :: 612.348.9100 :: himprogram.org