Use condoms to enjoy a safer sex life, condom facts, how to wear a condom Find out more.
Why use lubricant? What lubricants are safe? Find out more.
Why use them? Find out more.
How to use them? Find out more.
Condoms are still the safest and easiest way to keep your sexual health as safe as you can.
Of all the ways you can lower the risks you take in your sex life using condoms is the most effective. In terms of success rates condoms are one of the highest in preventing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
They are different types of condoms, for different forms of sex. Flavoured condoms are used for oral sex only and should not be used for any kind of penetrative sex. For penetrative sex such as vaginal or anal sex it is best to use a regular condom like the ones Trade provide in their safer sex packs. Recent studies have proved that anal sex does not require extra strong condoms any more, but providing the condom is used properly a regular condom will be fine. Condoms now come in different sizes and styles. Experiment and use the best one for you. Ensure you use them correctly and follow the basic facts of condoms.
They are several key points you should remember when using condoms.
Always remember to use condom with the kite mark (British standard), 2 symbols to go in this area Always check the expiry date, as condoms degrade over time.
Never keep them in your wallet for long periods of time as the heat and pressure will cause the condom to degrade quicker (so the expiry date will be invalid). Trade provides all condoms in packs so that if you do put them in your pocket the pack will protect it from heat and pressure.
How to put a condom on
Squeeze the condom to one side through the foil, and tear the packet open - this way, you will avoid damaging the condom.
Make sure your penis is fully erect before putting on the condom
Squeeze the teat so that there is no air left in it - this means that when you ejaculate the sperm can fill the teat (if there is air in it, it may burst)
Still holding the teat, roll the condom downwards on to the penis.
Ensure you use a new condom every half an hour if having penetrative sex, or use a new condom if using a sex toy from one person to another.
Use plenty of lubricant (information on lubricant on this website) on the outside of the condom, avoid getting any lubricant on the penis or sex toy before the condom goes on as this makes it more likely to slip off.
After ejaculation, hold onto the base of the condom and withdraw carefully. Remove the condom by slowly unrolling it, taking care no to let any semen drip out wrap the condom up in a tissue or in the Trade condom pack bag and put in the bin.
Although many people mistakenly assume that all men know how to correctly use condoms, incorrect use is common and is a major cause of condom failure
- Do not use grease, oils, lotions, or petroleum jelly (vaseline) to make the condom slippery. These substances can make the condom break. Use only jelly or cream that does not have oil in it
- Use a new condom each time you have sex
- Only use a condom once
- Store condoms in a cool, dry place
- Do not use a condom that may be old or damaged
Do not use a condom if:
- The package is broken
- The condom is brittle or dried out
- The color is uneven or has changed
- The condom is unusually sticky
Lubricant (lube) is used to enhance the experience of penetrative sex such as anal or vaginal. Without it the passive (person who is being penetrated) or active (person who is doing the penetrating) person may find it painful. With lube condoms are less likely to slip off.
How is lube used?
Lube needs to go on the condom once it is on the erect penis or sex toy, and in and around the anus and vagina. Never put lubricant on the penis or sex toy before you put the condom on as makes the condom likely to slip off.
These are the best choice, giving lasting lubrication without damaging the condoms. Trade provides lubricant in their condom packs (details of ordering free condoms packs on this website). You can also buy them from chemists, sex shops and supermarkets.
- Liquid silk
- Flavoured Lubricant
Silicone lubes are more expensive than water-based lube and will damage silicone toys but are totally safe with condoms. They're harder to wash off and can stain sheets and clothes - but are good for long sessions.
Lubes for fisting
Fisting needs extra lubricant. Water-based lubes tend to dry quickly but a quick spray of water makes them slippery again. J-lube and Lubrifist (available from some gay shops or online) are water-based lubes popular with men who fist.
Crisco - an American cooking product, like soft lard is oil-based and will damage latex gloves and condoms.
Lubes to avoid
Spit (saliva) is not a good choice. It's hard to produce lots of it and it quickly dries, leaving no lubrication at all. Studies show using spit makes condoms more likely to rip.
A condom can fall apart within seconds of contact with an oil-based lube. Avoid all these oil-based lubes:
- Hand lotion
- Massage oil
- Sun cream
- Hair gel
- Shower gel
- Ice cream
- Crisco (cooking fat)
- Any cooking oil
- Lubes with cream in their name
e.g. ID cream, Elbow grease
- Baby oil
Nonoxinal-9 is a spermicidal (a chemical that kills sperm). It's sometimes added to condoms and lubes. Despite claims that it can kill HIV, Nonoynol-9 should be avoided. It irritates the inside of the arse, vagina, making it easier for HIV to be passed on.
Lubes and condoms will say on their packaging if they have Nonoxynol-9 in them. The condoms and lubes Trade provide are Nonoxynol-9 free.
Having penetrative sex with lube but without condoms will NOT stop HIV from being passed on.
Gloves are a great barrier for any kind of penetration play involving fingers and hands. The most common gloves available are latex. These can be ordered from Trade, if you are allergic to latex then you can buy non-latex gloves from various pharmacies or order them from a range of websites.
It is important to remember if you are engaging in any form of fingering or fisting, your hands are cleaned thoroughly, fingernails need to be cut very short and be smooth. Do not wear jewellery, watches and ensure you use plenty of lubricant.
Trust is vital for any kind of penetration, if you want to be fisted, fingered you should be able to say, hand on your heart, that you trust the other person involved to look after you. Fisting is an extreme form of foreplay which like other forms of sex is not for everyone. Always remember it's about YOU, sex should be an enjoyable experience for both people involved, respecting each others boundaries, making sure the sex you have is as safe as you want it, and vice versa, is all part of having an enjoyable sex life.
Dental Dams, a latex barrier is a silky thin sheet of natural latex. The Dams that are provided free by Trade and come in a range of flavours.
When used properly dental dams may help to reduce the risk of catching or spreading sexually transmitted infections (more detailed information on STI's, on this website) and HIV. However they do not completely eliminate the risk.
During contact such as oral-anal (rimming) or oral-vaginal sex, lesions and various body fluids can transmit STI's. A dental dam should be used each time when such contact occurs.
How to use a dam:
- Carefully remove the dam from the packaging making sure that you do not damage the dam with sharp fingernails or jewellery as you squeeze the dam out.
- Wet the anal or vaginal area with water based lubricant.
- Place the dam over the anal or vaginal area before having oral sex. Only lick one side of the dam.
- Hold the dam in place during oral sex using your hands.
- Do not lick the side of the dam which has been in contact with the anal or vaginal area (sexually transmitted infections can be present without any symptoms. Anyone who has ever had oral, anal or vaginal sexual contact may have unknowingly been exposed to STI's).
- Wrap the used dam and place it in the bin, do not flush down the toilet.
- Use a new dam if you switch between the anus and vagina.
- Do not share dams
- Never use a dam more than once
- Always check the expiry date before use
- Do not use oil based lubricants (details of lubricants to use on this website) as they can damage latex dams.
NB. Although dams offer protection, they are not 100% effective.