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Correct Condom Use


At West Virginia University, students of all identities are respected and valued. If and when you decide to have sex, it is your right to engage in sexual activity that is pleasurable, consensual, and safe. Using a barrier method (external condom, internal condom, or dental dam) consistently and correctly each time you engage in sexual intercourse greatly reduces your risk of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), and reduces your risk for unintended pregnancy. Visit the sections below to learn the correct way to use each method!

How to Use an external (male) condom:

  1. Get consent from your sexual partner! Consent is an ongoing, mutual, enthusiastic, informed, freely-given, sober YES.

  2. Check the package and the expiration date.

    • Look for any holes in the condom package. Is the package slimy? That's a good indication that the package has been punctured.

    • Check to make sure the condom has not expired. A condom past its expiration date is not guaranteed to be as effective.

  3. Open package carefully with your hands.

    • Don't use scissors.

    • If you have to use your teeth, make sure you're not biting the condom itself!

  4. Check for the right side.

    • If the condom looks like a party hat - it's party time!

    • If the condom is not the right way up, it'll look like the top of a baby's bottle, and won't roll down.

  5. For added comfort (and for those who are uncircumcised) add a few drops of lube (water or silicone-based) to the inside tip of the condom.

  6. Pinch the tip, and keep it pinched, as you roll it down the phallus.

    • If the condom is going on a penis, there must be space at the tip for semen.

    • For those who are uncircumcised, make sure to pull back the foreskin before rolling the condom on.

  7. Make sure there is no air inside.

    • Run your fingers along the side of the condom to release any air. Air inside can lead to friction and tearing.

  8. Party time!

  9. When removing the phallus from inside your partner, make sure to hold the condom at the base as you withdraw so it doesn't fall off. When removing the condom, hold away from your partner and remove it, being careful to keep all fluids INSIDE of the condom.

  10. Throw away in the GARBAGE CAN. Do not flush down the toilet!

How to Use an internal (female) condom:

  1. Get consent from your sexual partner.

  2. Check the package for holes and check the expiration date. The expiration date is printed in the side crevice of the package.

  3. Open carefully with your hands.

  4. Hold the condom with the open-end facing down, and then pinch the inner ring (located at the closed end) into a figure-8.

    • You'll need to find a comfortable position for insertion. This could be standing with one foot on a chair, sitting on the edge of a chair, lying down, or squatting.

  5. Insert into the vagina like a tampon.

  6. Use your other hand (or wash your hands) to go on the inside of the condom and push the inner ring into the vagina as far as it go (until it reaches the cervix).

    • Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside of the vaginal opening.

  7. Party time!

  8. To remove, twist it closed so that no fluid escapes, and then pull it gently out of the vagina.

  9. Throw away in the TRASH CAN.

For a more guided tutorial, visit the CDC for more information.

Internal condoms can also be used for anal sex, if you remove the inner ring!

Steps for using a dental dam:

  1. Get consent from your sexual partner.

  2. Check the package and the expiration date.

  3. Open package with hands.

  4. Remove dental dam from package and unfold.

  5. Stretch lightly and place over the area that you would like to engage with.

    • Adding a drop of lube to the skin may help it stick, as you need to hold it in place during use.

  6. Party time!

  7. When finished, remove from your partner and throw away in the trash can.

No dental dam? Using name-brand Saran Wrap is an FDA-approved alternative!

How to make a cape from a latex glove:

*These are great for trans men!

  1. Get consent from your sexual partner.

  2. Find a latex or non-latex glove (if someone is allergic to latex). Size medium should work fine.

  3. Using a pair of scissors, cut off the fingers of the glove (leaving the thumb).

  4. Cut down the opposite side of the thumb.

  5. Party time!

  6. When finished, remove and throw away in the trash can.

For a more detailed explanation, take a look at the Healthy Bodies Safer Sex manual.

Related Educational Resources

See similar informational materials.

Understand the meaning and importance of consent in sexual situations.


Learn about types of STIs, symptoms of common infections, and how to be tested for them.

Safer Sex

Learn ways to lessen your risk of STIs, engage in sexual activity in a healthier way, and care for the wellbeing of you and your partner(s).

Hormonal Contraception

Learn about the different types of hormonal contraception, how they are used and their effectivenes.