Barrier methods of contraception offer different levels of protection. Some protect only against unwanted pregnancy; others protect only against sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and some protect against both STIs and pregnancy.

How to use a male condom

The male condom is rolled over the erect or hardened penis. 

  1. Condoms should not be used with oil-based lubricants such as petroleum jelly, Vaseline, or mineral and vegetable oil. Such lubricants damage the condom.
  2. Check the expiration date and make sure the package is still airtight. Open carefully.
  3. Make sure the rim of the rolled up condom is facing outward and place it on the head of the penis/object.
  4. Pinch the tip to leave room for ejaculate.
  5. Roll condom to base of penis/object.
  6. Enjoy the action. When finished, hold base of condom while pulling out.
  7. Remove condom and throw in trash (do not flush).

Remember, practice is important to ensure proper use!

How to use a female condom

Remove the condom from its package and rub the outside of the pouch together to be sure the lubrication is evenly spread within it. Be sure that the inner (smaller) ring is at the bottom (closed) end of the pouch, and then hold the pouch with the open (larger) end hanging down.

Squeeze the inner ring with the thumb and middle finger, and then insert it and the pouch into the vaginal opening. With the index finger, push the inner ring and pouch all the way up into the vagina against the cervix

The penis should be guided into the condom in order to ensure that it does not slip into the vagina outside of the condom. After intercourse squeeze and twist the outer ring gently and then pull the condom out keeping the semen inside. Then simply discard as you would a male condom.

Remember, practice is important to ensure proper use! Learn more about female condoms (PDF).

Other barrier methods