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Everything You Need To Know About Condoms

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Updated June 13, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Everything You Need To Know About Condoms
Photo: Alex Cao/Getty Images
It's all well and good for someone to tell you that you need to use a condom if you're going to have sex, but it's not quite that simple. How do you use a condom? How do you choose which condom to use? Don't worry. All your answers are here.

Choosing a Condom

  • Before You Buy a Condom
    When it comes to buying condoms, there are a lot of choices - possibly too many. Do you want lubricated or unlubricated? How about colored or flavored? Ribbed or plain? This buying guide has all the information you'll need to choose the condom that is right for you, but when in doubt think simple. In a pinch, any latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom will do.
  • Where to Find Free Condoms
    Short on cash? Don't let that stop you from making good decisions about practicing safe sex. In most areas of the U.S., it's pretty easy to find a source for free condoms.
  • Choosing a Condom for Oral Sex
    Although most people don't like to think about it, oral sex is not inherently safe sex. Many STDs can be transmitted through oral sex, and so it is important to use condoms or other barriers. There are, however, some special considerations when choosing a condom for oral sex.
  • Condom Size Chart
    When push comes to shove, most men can use most condoms. Still, there are a few men at either end of the penis size scale who may require some special considerations. Here is a frequently-updated condom size chart with information about condom sizes from some of the major brands.
  • Condom Stories
    Do you have a favorite condom brand, or want to know what types of condoms other users like? Here is a place for you to share your stories!

Using a Condom

  • How To Use a Male Condom
    Using a condom is pretty straight-forward, but it is possible to do it incorrectly. Using condoms the right way will drastically reduce the likelihood of breakage and other condom failures.
  • How to Use a Female Condom
    Often, an individual's first reaction to seeing a female condom is "Huh?" Fortunately, they're actually quite easy, and fun, to use once you know what you're doing and what to expect.
  • How to Make a Dental Dam
    In order to practice safe cunnilingus, or safe rimming, you need a different kind of barrier - a dental dam. Since they are often slightly difficult to find in your neighborhood drug store, here are instructions for how to make one.
  • How to Have Safe Sex
    Getting your safe sex supplies together is only the first step... you have to know how to use them. Click here for an overview of how to engage in some of the most common sex practices -- safely.
  • How to Put on a Condom With your Mouth
    If your partner is slightly reluctant to use a condom for oral sex, or if you simply want to spice up your sex life, you can try this trick. It's fun to put a condom on with your mouth (although it does require a bit of practice!)

Condoms and You

  • Do You Have a Condom?
    One of the most common reasons people give for not practicing safe sex is that they don't have a condom. Find out how to avoid doing something you'll regret.
  • Condom Use Self Efficacy
    Young people, particularly young women, often have trouble negotiating condom use. Learn about why... and discover some ways to make it easier.
  • Why Some Women Don't Like Condoms
    It's not uncommon for a man to hear from his female partner that she doesn't like condoms. Fortunately, most of the problems that women have with condoms can be solved by helping them choose the right one.
  • Why Some Men Prefer the Female Condom
    Although they're not as well known in the U.S., female condoms are extremely highly regarded around the world. Why? There are many reasons why some men prefer the female condom.
  • Thailand 100% Condom Policy
    Some people, like Pope Benedict XVI wonder if encouraging condom use can really make a difference in the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Here is one country's experience that proves it can.

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