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The Condom

Condoms are thin latex rubber things that a man can put over his penis to stop his sperm going inside the girl’s vagina.

Used correctly and every time you have sex, condoms are 99% effective, you can rely on them to prevent pregnancy and condoms help prevent STI’s.

Always check the condom packet for the ‘use by’ date to make sure it isn’t out of date. Always check for the British Kitemark symbol, or the European CE symbol which means that it’s been tested properly and professionally.

How are condoms tested?

Electronics testing

  • A passage of current checks for holes and imperfections in every single condom that Durex manufacture.

Water testing

  • A condom filled with water and suspended for one minute to check for leaks, Durex sample 2 million condoms per month.

Air inflation test

  • Inflation to check for burst strength and elasticity.
  • International standard: 18 Litres.
  • Durex Minimum: 22 Litres.
  • Typically Durex Condoms will expand to 40 litres.
  • Durex sample 2 million condoms per month.

If any condoms fail from the water testing for leaks or the air inflation the entire batch of 432,000 condoms is thrown away.

This example only applies to Durex condoms, and should not be stated for other manufacturers.

Where do you get condoms from?

Condoms are usually really cheap to buy and you can get them free from;

  • Community Sexual Health Clinics
  • Sexual Health [GUM] Clinic
  • Your GP
  • Young Addaction Multi-Skilled Outreach Workers in Halton
  • TAZ Outreach Team in St Helens
  • School Health Nurse (only in St Helens where schools have ‘Clinic in a Box’)
  • Riverside College Student Services.
  • Riverside College have condom machines in the toilets and sell condoms for 50p for a pack of three.

You can also get them from the pound shop, supermarkets, chemists, petrol station, public toilets and shops.

Halton and St Helens have a GP Condom Scheme which means you can get free condoms from your GP.We also provide condoms to pharmacies supplying Emergency Hormonal Contraception for free so that clients can get condoms after their consultation.

Halton and St Helens also has a ‘C-Card Scheme’ which means you can get a card from a professional such as the  TAZ Outreach Team, Riverside College Student Services, St Helens College Student Services, Young Addaction and other local services. The professional will run through the process for using condoms properly and then you can use the card to get free condoms any time after that – all you have to do is show the card.

For more information see our Halton C-Card (Runcorn), Halton C-Card (Widnes) or St Helens C-Card pages.

Condoms can burst if they are not used properly which means that a woman will need Emergency Contraception to protect her from getting pregnant if she is not using another form of contraception aswell (such as the pill or IUS / IUD). It can also mean an increased risk of contracting an STI, so you should consider getting tested about three weeks after the event.

How do I stop a condom from bursting?

  1. First of all, DO NOT use any oil based lubricants like massage oil/baby oil etc because if it touches the condom it will cause it to become weak and split.
  2. Wait until the penis gets hard. Take the condom out of the wrapper carefully, don’t use your teeth!
  3. If you find that the condom is hard to roll down it may be inside out so it will fall off the penis of burst – the ridge should be on the outside.
  4. If the penis has a foreskin which is easy to roll back, you may find it easier to do this before putting on the condom.
  5. Unroll the condom a bit to check that it’s the right way round before putting it near the erect penis. Squeeze the tip of the condom to get rid of any air. Place over the tip of the hard penis.
  6. Roll the condom all the way down to the base of the penis.
  7. Check during sex that the condom hasn’t slipped off. After sex withdraw carefully while the penis is still hard.
  8. Hold the condom at the base when you pull out, to stop it slipping off.
  9. Wrap the condom in a tissue and put it in the bin, not down the toilet as it can block them!

Keep your condoms close by so that you don’t have to waste any time before you get down to having sex.

Remember! Sperm comes out way before a bloke ejaculates / ‘comes’ so if you’re going to get close – get a condom on.

Condoms are made to fit all different penis sizes. Don’t believe anyone who tells you they can’t find a condom to fit them – it’s not true. You can even get different flavours and shapes.

Lubricant: Putting extra lubricant into the end of the condom can feel extra sensitive… or on the outside might make it feel better for girls. You can use lubricant during foreplay which can be really good fun, and create a better feeling for both partners. Make sure you avoid OIL based lubricant because it will stop the condom from working.

Never use a condom more than once – it won’t work. Make sure you only use one at a time – it’s all you need. Try to get rid of the condom as soon as possible after sex so that nobody else finds it because it can be really embarrassing and it’s a bit yukky too!

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