Everything you need to know about condoms - Play Safe
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When it comes to safe sex, nothing beats a condom 

How to use a condom 

When they’re used correctly, condoms are over 98% effective, but, it’s easy to make mistakes that could result in condoms slipping, breaking, or coming off during sex.

To protect yourself and your partner from STIs, follow these simple instructions to make sure you get it right.

  1. Always check the expiry date of the condom
  2. Open the packet carefully so you don’t damage the condom
  3. Hold the tip of the condom to remove any air and roll it all the way down to the base of the erect penis
  4. Use water-based lubricant on the outside of the condom to reduce the risk of the condom breaking
  5. Hold onto the base when you remove the condom
  6. Throw away in the bin, not the toilet

Using a condom safely is all about practice. If you’re new to using condoms and have a penis, try practising while you masturbate. If you don’t have a penis, try practising on something like a banana or a cucumber. Check out our tips for putting on a condom like a pro.

Do’s and don’ts of condoms

It’s all well and good to use condoms, but it’s important that you’re using them consistency and correctly. Here are some of our do’s and don’t when it comes to condoms.  


  • Check the expiry date before you use a condom (if it’s out of date, there’s a higher risk of it breaking during use).
  • Use water-based lube to reduce the chance of the condom breaking and to make sex feel more comfortable.
  • Try different brands and styles of condoms to see what feels and works best for you (trust us, it can make all the difference!).  
  • Put on a new condom every time you switch between oral, vaginal and anal sex. Also be sure to change condoms between partners if there’s more than two of you.
  • Use condoms on sex toys if you’re sharing them.
  • Talk to your partner/s about using condoms. It’s not always easy but it is important. Get our tips for tackling the condom chat.
  • If you’re having a long sex session, it’s a good idea to change condoms after 30 minutes. Extended friction can weaken the condom, making it more likely to break.  


  • Do not use oil-based lubricants like coconut oil, Vaseline, body lotions or massage oils with latex condoms. They damage the latex and are more likely to break.
  • Do not leave condoms exposed to extreme temperatures such as in your car or wallet for extended periods of time – it can make them break!
  • Do not open the condom packet with your teeth or scissors as you might tear it.
  • Do not use more than one condom at a time. More condoms doesn’t mean more protection. 

What are condoms and why should I use them?

Condoms prevent bodily fluids (semen, blood, vaginal fluids) from being passed from one person to another. Did you know that condoms are the only form of contraception that can prevent both pregnancy and STIs, including HIV.

Are there different types of condoms?

Did you know that there are more than one kind of condom? Ahuh, no matter what kind of sex you’re having, there’s a condom for you! 

External condoms – External condoms are what most people think about when they hear the word condom.  They are made of a thin piece of latex (rubber) or polyurethane (soft plastic) and can be put onto an erect (hard) penis before oral, vaginal or oral sex. There’s a variety of sizes, colours, flavours and textures so be sure to try a few different options until you find a one that works for you. Allergic to latex? No worries! Latex-free condoms are readily available across Australia. 

Internal condoms – Internal condoms are made from polyurethane and can be inserted into the vagina or anus before sex. They are about 15cm long and have two flexible rings, one at each end, to keep them  in place. In the past, they were sometimes referred to as female condoms.  Internal condoms can be hard to find  so if you want to give them a go, your best bet is to buy some online.  

Dental damsDental dams are thin, stretchy latex or silicone rectangles that can be used during oral sex (usually over the anus or vulva) to prevent STIs. In Australia, dams can be expensive and hard to find, but you can always turn an external condom into a dam, with a little DIY.

Where to get condoms

How to talk to your partner/s about condoms

Ideally, you would talk about using condoms and getting tested for STIs before you get to the bedroom (or backseat of the car/shower/wherever takes your fancy), but, if you just met someone and/or the sex is unplanned, it’s not always possible. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s as simple as pulling out a condom and saying “Condom?” before you have sex.

What to do if the condom breaks

If you’ve had a condom break during sex, don’t panic and follow these simple steps.

  1. Stop what you’re doing 
  2. Withdraw 
  3. Remove the broken condom and dispose of it
  4. Put on a new condom 
  5. Carry on with what you were doing (after making sure your partner/s wants to) 
  6. Consider whether you need emergency contraception (if you’re having sex that could result in pregnancy) or PEP (if you think you might have been exposed to HIV)
  7. Get an STI test  after 7-14 days, unless you notice any symptoms earlier.  Getting tested any sooner might mean that any STIs are not picked up by the test.

If your STI test comes back positive your doctor/nurse will let you know what treatment you need and what to do next. Remember that treatment for many STIs is quick and easy.

Could I have an STI?  

Condoms offer excellent protection but there’s still a small chance of passing on an STIs to your partner/s. That’s why getting regular STI tests every 6-12 months is so important, even if you use condoms and/or other contraception. 

Did you know that many STIs have no symptoms and if left untreated can cause long-term health concerns?

STI testing is confidential, quick and easy so what are you waiting for? Find you nearest STI testing location today 

If you want to know more about condoms or STIs, call NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624 to talk with a qualified sexual health nurse. It’s free, confidential and totally anonymous. If you’d prefer to ask a question online, click here.