You walk into Home Depot or Lowe's to pick up a lightbulb. Instead, you
leave with some new flooring, a circular saw, a framing square, and big ideas
about re-tiling your kitchen.
The problem? You've never done anything more than change a lightbulb by
Growing numbers of Americans are tackling do-it-yourself home improvement
projects that once might have been left to professionals. One reason for the
shift: Stores like Home Depot, along with TV shows on networks like HGTV or the
STD protection. To protect yourself and your partner from STD infection, use
a condom during vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Even if you are protected against
pregnancy by other
birth control methods, condoms are the best available
protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). (The only way to
be completely protected against sexually transmitted
diseases, however, is to abstain from sex.)
A rubber barrier
(dental dam) can be used for protection during oral sex.
Proper condom use
Condoms are most effective if you
follow these steps.
Use a new condom each time you have sexual
When opening the condom wrapper, be careful not to
poke a hole in the condom with your fingernails, teeth, or other sharp
Put the condom on as soon as your penis is hard (erect)
and before any sexual contact with your partner.
Before putting it
on, hold the tip of the condom and squeeze out the air to leave room for the
semen after ejaculation.
If you are not circumcised, pull down the
loose skin from the head of the penis (foreskin) before putting on the
While continuing to hold onto the tip of the condom, unroll
it all the way down to the base of your penis.
If you are also using the condom as birth
control, make sure your partner uses a
spermicide according to the manufacturer's
instructions. (Although the use of a spermicide increases the effectiveness of
a condom as birth control, the use of a spermicide may increase the risk for
If you want to use a lubricant, never use
petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline), grease, hand lotion, baby oil, or anything
with oil in it (read the label). Oil (or petroleum) can weaken the condom,
increasing the chance that it may break. Instead, use a personal lubricant such
as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.
After ejaculation, hold onto the condom
at the base of your penis and withdraw from your partner while your penis is
still erect. This will keep semen from spilling out of the
Wash your hands after handling a used condom.
Buying and storing condoms
Buy condoms that meet safety standards.
Condoms are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or sheep
intestine. While latex and polyurethane condoms help prevent the spread of
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, sheep intestine condoms do
Keep the condom wrapped in its original package until you are
ready to use it. Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Check the
expiration date on the package before using.
Don't keep rubber
(latex) condoms in a glove compartment or other hot places for a long time.
Heat weakens latex and increases the chance that the condom will
Don't use condoms in damaged packages or condoms that show
obvious signs of deterioration, such as brittleness, stickiness, or
discoloration, regardless of their expiration date.
The female condom is a tube of soft
plastic (polyurethane) with a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring
at the closed end is inserted deep into the vagina over the cervix, like a
diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside
the opening of the vagina. The female condom can be inserted up to 8 hours
before sexual intercourse. It should not be
used at the same time as a male condom.
The female condom should
be removed immediately after intercourse, while the woman is still lying down.
The outside ring is twisted to close off the condom and hold the semen inside
before the condom is removed. A new condom should be used with each act of
sexual intercourse. Female condoms are sold in drugstores or family planning
The female condom provides some protection of the
genital area around the opening to the vagina during intercourse and may reduce
the risk of getting or transmitting diseases such as genital herpes or genital
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Anne Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
May 13, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 13, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this