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How to Put on a Condom

Unless you went to an extremely enlightened school, chances are you learned how to put on a condom either by trial and error or from a partner. We suggest you try our way—there may be a tip or two in here you haven't hit on yet.

The first and most important thing is to understand how your dick receives sensation inside the condom. Most of us expect to feel the friction of our dick against the inside of our partner's pussy, asshole, or mouth. If that's what you're waiting to feel, you're likely to wind up pretty frustrated—it's that expectation that leads to the "taking a shower in a raincoat" complaint expressed by men during their first condom experience.

The actual sensation of sex with a condom comes from the friction of your dick against the inner surface of the condom, which is being moved up and down by its contact with the inside of your partner's delightful orifice. So if you're going to learn to enjoy condom use, your best bet is to maximize that movement—without losing the condom.

The ideal condom, then, is one that fits comfortably tightly around the base of your dick but more loosely around its head, so there's enough moption to keep you stimulated. One particular brand of condom is many folks' favorite because it's designed with a "pouch" area on the underside of the dick for exactly that reason.

You wouldn't be comfortable in a suit that didn't fit, and you won't feel comfortable or happy or sexy in a condom that doesn't fit. Condoms are designed with a variety of shapes, textures, and sizes—try a variety of brands to find your best fit. Big is not necessarily the best size for everyone, so don't let your ego get in the way of reality. Some people like ridges, bumps, and other frills; others don't. Some enjoy the flavored kind; others find them kind of gross.

Masturbating with a condom on is a good way to "test drive" different brands and techniques, as well as good practice in getting the thing on smoothly and properly... which we suggest you do as follows:

  • Make sure you're erect as it's possible for you to be at this point in time. Many men find that the fuss of putting on a condom can cause their erection to wilt, which is why we recommend solo practice so that the action is smoother and more familiar. If your partner is the one putting on the condom, ask him or her to continue stimulating you throughout the process.
  • Figure out which way it unrolls. You can do this by unrolling it by one-quarter to one-half inch.
  • Place one drop of water-based lubricant inside the condom, at the center of the end. The lube helps the condom slide around on the head of your dick and increases the sensation. It also helps conduct heat from your partner's body, which is generally a Good Thing.
  • Pinch up the half inch or so you unrolled to make a "reservoir" at the end. You can try this technique even if you're using a condom with a reservoir tip—having this extra bit of latex at the end gives a little more room for movement.
  • With one hand holding the tip of the condom at the tip of your dick, use the other hand to smoothly roll the condom downward all the way to the base of your dick. (Be careful that the reservoir tip, if it has one, doesn't get stretched over the head of your cock.) The motion is basically the same one that most men use to masturbate—making an "O" of the thumb and index finger and moving it up and down the penis—except that you use more friction on the downstroke that the upstroke. It may take you four or five strokes or more to get the condom rolled all the way down. Be careful not to catch any pubic hairs at the base.
  • If you want to be extra safe, or if the condom feels at all loose at the base, keep one hand on the base of your penis to hold it in place while you proceed with sex—just don't get so preoccupied that it decreases your enjoyment.
  • Apply more of the water-based lubricant to your partner's pussy or asshole, and/or to the outside of the condom. Mouths have saliva and don't need lube (unless you like the taste of lube, which we don't).
  • Afterwards, don't try to roll it back up. Pull the base of the condom away from the base of your penis, hooking your finger between the rubber and the skin, and pull it gently up your dick, being careful not to spray semen everywhere. Tie a knot in the end, keeping the semen inside, and throw it over your left shoulder for luck.
  • Discard it appropriately. Flushing it is hard on the plumbing, so don't. It's a nice touch to wrap it in some toilet paper or a paper towel so your partner doesn't have to look at it in the wastebasket. Please don't drop it on the ground, even if you're in a public space. Although you probably don't need to be concerned about the pathogens on the outside of the condom—HIV and most other STDs are very fragile, and even hepatitis B isn't really a risk unless you touch it with a mucous membrane or an open sore—stepping barefoot on a used condom is extremely unpleasant (used condoms beat banana peels in slipperiness every time). If the condom has been used for anal play, it's contaminated, and should be disposed of in the same way you'd dispose of anything soiled with fecal matter—we like to wrap it in toilet paper, then drop it into a leftover peanut butter jar or something else with a screw-on or snap-on top, then throw the whole thing away.
  • Even if you're not the one on the receiving end of the condom, experiment with these techniques so you can help your partner get the condom on and off. Some popular condom users have learned to apply condoms with their mouths—we suggest some practice with a box of rubbers and a cucumber, or the appropriate sex toy.

If you prefer polyurethane (non-latex) condoms, the technique is basically the same. Some think that these condoms, which aren't stretchy like latex, may be extra-susceptible to tearing; others think they're stronger. Either way, you can't go wrong using plenty of lube. Unlike latex, polyurethane doesn't dissolve in oil, so you can use oil-based lubes like vegetable oil, Crisco™, or coconut oil with these condoms if you like—they can be great for anal play, although we don't recommend the use of oil-based lube inside a vagina.

 

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Go easy on the lube though

Using a dab of lube to help get the thing on is a neat idea I'll give that a try. The best condoms round where I live are Japanese made. They are good condoms but they are Japanese sizes and they can be a real pain to get on.

One thing I have learned though is if you get too much lube in into the mix then that condom slithers right off again so do be careful

Hey wait, that's for putting

Hey wait, that's for putting a condom on a penis.
There is absolutely no mention of putting condoms on dildos that are shared or made of porous materials !

Importance of the pinch

I think you should add another reason for pinching the top of the condom before you put it on. When I was young no one taught me how to put on a condom so I didn't know to squeeze the air out of the tip before putting it on. Rolling the condom on without pinching resulted in an air-filled reservoir tip, filled tight like a balloon. Because the tip was already filled with air, when I ejaculated the violent addition of semen was enough to frequently burst the tip.

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Charles Moser and Janet Hardy
December 26th, 2009
verdie's picture
Charles Moser, Ph.D., M.D., received his doctorate from the Institute for Advanced Study in Human Sexuality, where he is now a Professor of Sexology and Dean of Professional Studies. He went on to...