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Top 10 Tips for Condom Use > How To Articles > Condoms & Safer Sex

Using condoms correctly takes practice. Since most condom failure is due in part to user error, here are some suggestions for making sure that you’re doing it right.

1. Check the expiration date.

All condoms in the US have a 5-year expiration date printed on the wrapper of every condom.

2. Keep condoms away from heat.

Heat makes latex brittle. It's OK to carry them in a pocket, but don't store them in your wallet or near heat.

3. Tear the wrapper open at the corner.

If you tear it open in the middle, you can accidentally rip the condom.

4. Use the pads of the fingers to handle condoms.

Fingernails may have jagged edges that can easily tear condoms.

5. Use Lube!

Use lubricant in the head of the condom. This keeps air bubbles from forming. Put a few drops of lube in the head of the condom before putting it on. That keeps the lubricant on the more sensitive head of the penis and off the shaft, so the condom won’t slide off. Do not use oil with latex condoms. Oils can make condoms break in about 30 seconds!!

6. Keep the flow.

Keeping the sexual energy up when you put the condom on can make it less of an interruption. Kissing, hot talk, having your partner put it on (by hand or with their mouth) can help.

7. Roll the condom all the way down

8. Check to make sure that it's still there every so often during sex

9. Hold the Condom at the Base

After ejaculation, withdraw the penis before it gets soft or the condom may slide off. Hold the base of the condom to make sure you don’t leave it behind.

10. Throw condoms out in trash -- flushing them can clog the pipes!

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