‘How do I use condoms and lube properly?’

Condom failure is usually the result of condoms and lube not being used properly rather than a fault with the product.

These tips will help make sure a split condom doesn’t happen to you:

Use the right condoms

  • Get a condom that is the right fit for you or your partner – make sure it’s the right length and width so it cannot slip off or tear.
  • There’s less chance of a condom splitting if it’s in date and carries a kite or CE mark. Always check the packaging.
  • Latex condoms are less likely to break than non-latex condoms.
  • Strong sunlight, heat and damp can weaken condoms – keep them safe to reduce the risk of a condom splitting during sex.
  • Don’t tear it open with your teeth.
  • Avoid condoms that contain spermicide. They can irritate your skin and increase the risk of HIV infection. Flavoured condoms can make your skin sore too. Free condoms distributed in Scotland do not contain the spermicide, nonoxynol-9, but check any you buy either here or abroad.

Use the right lube

  • Always use plenty of water-based or silicon-based lube for anal sex – not using enough is the main reason condoms split. Lube stops wear and tear on the anal lining and also on the condom.
  • Never use oil-based lube or everyday products like massage oil or petroleum jelly as these can damage condoms. Some medicines, like pile creams, can be oil-based and can rot condoms too.
  • Avoid lubes that contain spermicide. They can irritate your skin and increase the risk of HIV infection.

How to put on a condom

  • Don’t stretch or unroll a condom before you put it on. Squeeze out the tip before putting it on to get rid of air pockets that can cause rips and spillage.
  • Roll down the shaft right to the base of your penis so there’s less chance it will roll back up during sex.
  • Only use one condom at a time. Never use two at the same time – this causes friction and means it is more likely to split.

How to use lube

  • Ensure that you use plenty of lube before anal sex. Always put lube on the outside of the condom once you put it on your penis. Make sure you put lube on the full length of the condom and not just the tip.
  • Don’t put the lube directly on to your penis or inside the condom as this can make it slip off easily.

Condom safety during sex

  • Check the condom regularly – you may not be able to feel it break or come off.
  • Use a fresh condom for every partner, especially if you’re having sex with more than one partner.
  • Put on a new condom after 30 minutes during a long session.
  • After ejaculating, hold the condom at the base of the penis and pull out while you’re still hard.

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