How to Demonstrate Condom Use

  • While condoms remain the most commonly used contraceptive method among adolescents, their use is still inconsistent.[1],[2]  Furthermore, the percentage of individuals using condoms at last intercourse has not increased in the last decade and there continue to be significant differences in use by age, gender, and race/ethnicity.[3] This points to the need for better education on condom use and negotiation. The National Sexuality Education Standards provide the following learning objectives:

    Middle School

    • Demonstrate the use of effective communication and negotiation skills about condoms.
    • Describe the steps to using a condom correctly.

    High School

    • Describe the steps to using a condom correctly.
    • Analyze factors that may influence condom use.
    • Apply a decision-making model to choices about using condoms.

     
    The basic steps for demonstrating condom use include:

    Middle School

    • 1. Check the expiration date.
    • 2. Slide condom to one side of its package and using your other hand to tear the package.
    • 3. Use fingertips (not nails!) to remove the condom.
    • 4. Roll it down on two of your fingers.
    • 5. Grab the loose end and place it at the tip of the model penis. Explain the need to retract foreskin if present.
    • 6. Slide the condom down the model penis.
    • 7. To remove, slide the condom off the model penis. Explain the importance of keeping the semen inside the condom. Tie the condom off and throw it away.

    High School

    • 1. Check the expiration date.
    • 2. Use the notch on the top of the package to open it.
    • 3. Use fingertips (not nails!) to remove the condom.
    • 4. Pinch elastic ring and guide it through the model vagina as far back as it will go (to cover the cervix).
    • 5. Cover model labia with outer ring.
    • 6. To remove, squeeze and twist the outer ring and gently pull it out of the model vagina. Tie the condom off and throw it away.

    While mastering these steps is important, the information can be overwhelming. Adjoa Tetteh, MA, CHES, a sex educator who teaches in clinical and community settings, has refined her key messages to two points:

    1. For an external condom, place, pinch (the tip), and roll (down the erect penis). For an internal condom, pinch (the ring) and push (the ring and closed end as far back as you can).
    2. Lubrication is essential for increasing sensation and making condoms less likely to break.

    Beyond demonstrating condoms it is also important to spend time building students’ confidence and skills with condom negotiation. Tetteh recommends the following activities:

    1. Role plays. See examples here, here, and .
    2. Have students think about why condom use is important to them and how it can be fun. Build a conversation based on their responses and anticipated partner responses.

    Lastly, your demonstration may be the first time someone has seen a condom in real life. This is especially true for internal condoms. Therefore, the demonstration helps ease students into the idea of using condoms by allowing them to see and feel how the process works.

    Additional Resources
    How to Use an External Condom (video)
    How to Use an Internal Condom (video)
    Female Condom Fact Sheet
    Male Condom Fact Sheet
    Find a Family Planning Clinic

    Thank you to Adjoa Tetteh for her input on this article.

     
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    [1] Martinez, G., Copen, C. E., and Abma, J.C. (2011). Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, National Survey of Family Growth 2006-2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital and Health Statistics, 23(31). http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_031.pdf

    [2] Data refers only to individuals who have had vaginal intercourse.

    [3] Child Trends Database. (2014). Condom use. http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=condom-use

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