How to use condoms: a mini-guide

13 February 2020

Nothing says mood killer more than watching someone struggle to use a condom which is why we are here to help you master them.

How to put on a condom

Imagine, there you are at the height of intimacy with your partner and you look over to see them wrestling with the condom wrapper… and if that’s not enough of a mood killer for you then watching them struggle to put the condom on definitely will be.

We’re not trying to shame anyone here, but we all have to admit that watching someone struggle to use a condom isn’t exactly a turn-on now is it? Not only can it be a mood killer, but it may result in the condom being put on incorrectly. Some have struggled so much that they have abandoned using condoms altogether.

Condoms can only protect you against STIs, HIV and unplanned pregnancies if they’re used correctly. So here is our step-by-step guide to getting to grips with how to use them:

STEP ONE: Open the packet CAREFULLY

After checking that the condom is not past its use-by date (the use-by date is printed on the wrapper), open the packet carefully.

Don’t tear the packet open forcefully or worse try to be sexy by opening it with your teeth. (Yes, some people do that – don’t ask us how we know…) Take your time and open it slowly to make sure you don’t damage the condom inside the packet.


STEP TWO: Put it on the right way around

The rim (which is the thick circular part) should be on the outside, that way it will unroll easily and most importantly quickly! If you put your condom on a flat surface and it doesn’t look like a little hat – and the rim part is facing inwards, you’re about to put it on the wrong way.


STEP THREE: Pinch the tip

Pinch the tip of the condom and place it on the head of your fully erect penis. Be sure to leave some space at the top to collect your semen. If you’re uncircumcised, it might be more comfortable to pull your foreskin back before placing the condom on the tip of your penis and rolling it down.


STEP FOUR: Unroll it

Unroll the condom down the shaft of your penis all the way to the base. If you want you can add lube to the outside of the condom after it’s on your penis. Water-based or silicone lube can make sex feel even better, and it helps stop condoms from breaking. Remember, there is no shame in reaching for the lube!

Be sure not to use any oil-based lubricants because they can damage condoms and may cause them to break


STEP FIVE: Get rid of it

Once you’ve ejaculated, hold onto the rim of the condom and pull your penis out of your partner’s body. Carefully take off the condom away from your partner so you don’t accidentally spill semen on them. If you want to avoid making a mess then be sure to do this before your penis goes soft – that way the semen stays in the condom and doesn’t spill.

We’re sure we don’t have to tell you what to do next – THROW IT AWAY! Don’t flush condoms – they’re bad for the environment and could block your toilet.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT:

If the scenario at the beginning of this blog seems oh too familiar then practice. Some people use a banana, some a cucumber or some just use the real thing.


Find the best condom for you

Your choice of condom makes a huge difference to how good they feel and how well they work.

Take our condom quiz to find out which condom is best for you.

Five common condom excuses debunked.

13 February 2020

It’s Valentine’s Day, which means it’s also National Condom Day. Falling on the same day makes a lot of sense when you think about it. But how many lovers will give these familiar reasons to not use condoms this Valentine’s Day?

With nearly half a million (447,694) cases of STIs diagnosed in England in 2018 alone – that’s one every 70 seconds – now is a great time for us to talk about using condoms. When used correctly and consistently they can help protect against HIV, other STIs and unplanned pregnancies.

We’ve rounded up some common reasons people give for not using condoms and come up with some responses, to help you fall in love… with condoms.


‘They are too tight/loose’

The right condom is out there for everyone, it’s not one size fits all, though a regular condom will fit most. If you bought a jumper and it was too tight/loose what would you do? Return it and buy one that fits, right? And the same rule applies to condoms (apart from the return part). If your condoms are too tight then it means they’re probably too small for you, and you should do what you’d do with the jumper – get the size that fits.

Check out our condom quiz to check which size you need.


‘I want a ‘natural’ feeling’

From Durex to Pasante to Skyn – nearly every brand of condoms out there has an ultra-thin option. Some people who’ve used them say they feel just like skin to skin contact and without compromising durability as they are equally as strong as regular condoms.


‘They ruin the mood’

If you’re fumbling around in the dark not quite knowing how to use them, then yes, they can ruin the mood. This is why we created a step-by-step mini-guide on how to use condoms. If you’ve fumbled around once or twice with condoms then it might be best to get some practice first. You’ll soon be able to get a condom on with ease and be ready for action in no time!


‘Don’t you trust me?’

Asking your partner to use a condom has nothing to do with trust; it’s about protecting your sexual health. Do not, we repeat, DO NOT let anyone make you feel as if your trust in them should be measured by your decision to use a condom, especially if they haven’t been tested regularly. No one should ever make you feel bad for wanting to use a condom.


‘I’m on the pill’

If your partner is on the pill that means she can’t get pregnant, it DOES NOT mean that you’re immune from getting an STI. The pill is exactly what it says on the box – a contraceptive. And no, it won’t protect you against STIs.


Find the best condom for you

Your choice of condom makes a huge difference to how good they feel and how well they work.

Take our condom quiz to find out which condom is best for you.

Our Top 5 HIV Testing Week Moments of 2019

23 December 2019

HIV Testing Week in 2019 was a star-studded affair. But it’s almost time to say goodbye to 2019 and hello to 2020. Here’s a roundup of our top 5 moments from the last year.


Dr Ranj does an HIV test on This Morning 

Dr Ranj proved just how easy it is to test for HIV at home when he took an HIV test on ITV’s This Morning. Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby live during National HIV Testing Week, Dr Ranj stressed the importance of getting tested and knowing your status.


The Duke of Sussex and Gareth Thomas discuss normalising HIV testing

The Duke of Sussex heard from Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas about how his HIV diagnosis has inspired him to live his life to the fullest and educate others about the virus. In the video Prince Harry praised Gareth for raising public awareness of HIV.


Austin Armacost features on the front cover of Boyz Magazine

Austin Armacost on Boyz Magazine

Celebrity Big Brother star Austin Armacost spoke to Boyz about why he decided to get involved in National HIV Testing Week and why he is continuing to encourage everyone to know their status.

Read the full article here.


Sarah Mulindwa and Horcelie Sinda address stigma in the black African community on Channel 5 News

HIV campaigner Horcelie Sinda and Sarah Mulindwa from E4’s The Sex Clinic spoke to Channel 5 News about HIV stigma within the black African community. These conversations are important because worryingly, late diagnosis is still a huge problem amongst black African communities.


Greg Owen shares his HIV diagnosis story and pleads with gay and bisexual men to get tested

Terrence Higgins Trust’s Greg Owen shared his HIV diagnosis story with Attitude magazine. Greg revealed why raising awareness about the importance of knowing your status means so much to him as he encouraged the gay community to challenge outdated views about HIV.

Read the full article here.


 

Do your bit to end transmission of HIV in the UK by getting tested.

It is extremely important to get tested for HIV regularly as it is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. If you have HIV, the earlier you find out the sooner you can access life-saving treatment and support enabling you to live a long and healthy life.

In most cases, HIV is passed on because people are not aware they have it and the longer you live with undiagnosed HIV the more likely it is for it to seriously damage your immune system.

Sarah Mulindwa – HIV is no longer a death sentence

14 December 2019

As a qualified sexual health nurse and star of E4’s The Sex Clinic, Sarah Mulwindwa is passionate about raising awareness of the importance of HIV testing. Sarah tells us why she got involved with National HIV Testing Week.

Sarah Mulindwa

It’s amazing to see all the new innovative ways there are to get tested nowadays. From postal test kits to walk-in clinics – there is no excuse not to get tested.

I remember my first time being tested. It was when I had just become a qualified nurse. Initially, I found the experience nerve-wracking, which I think is a rational emotion to feel when going through any kind of test. However, I was lucky enough to have an amazing doctor who talked me through the whole process and made me feel comfortable.

Getting tested at first may appear to be scary. But it’s important to remember that knowing your status is a lot better than not knowing. If you don’t know your status, this can not only have an impact on your health but can also put your partner(s) at risk unintentionally.

I want to make sure that I’m doing my part to help raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing amongst our community.

Not testing is not going to stop you from being HIV positive, but what it can do is delay treatment. Recent stats have proven that black African communities still have a worrying number of late diagnoses which we know is not good at all.

Late diagnosis means that you’ve tested positive for HIV after the virus has already started to damage your immune system, this is what we want to avoid. Which is why the sooner you get tested and get on treatment the better.

I want to make sure that I’m doing my part to help raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing amongst our community.

We have made great strides into developing effective HIV treatment however, stigma still seems to be stuck in the 80s. I think there is still such a stigma within our community because we have to take into account that many of the elder generations back in the 80s have witnessed loved ones die from AIDS-related illnesses. So their experience with HIV would be completely different to someone who was born into a world where effective HIV treatment was a thing.

Working as a qualified nurse in sexual health and HIV for over eight years now, I care for patients who are HIV positive, or who maybe anguish about contracting HIV. I educate my patients all the time about HIV, which is why I know for a fact that there are so many outdated myths that people still believe to be true.

I want to do my part to ensure that not only everyone is getting tested, but being educated on the realities of HIV in modern society. It’s no longer a death sentence.


Get tested

Do your bit to end transmission of HIV in the UK by getting tested.

It is extremely important to get tested for HIV regularly as it is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. If you have HIV, the earlier you find out the sooner you can access life-saving treatment and support enabling you to live a long and healthy life.

In most cases, HIV is passed on because people are not aware they have it and the longer you live with undiagnosed HIV the more likely it is for it to seriously damage your immune system.

Lucian Msamati – Why I got Involved with National HIV Testing Week

4 December 2019

Star of stage and screen Lucian Msamati tells us why he’s so passionate about supporting the Give HIV the Finger campaign and normalising HIV testing amongst the British African community.

Lucian Msmati

Every time I test for HIV I am always slightly nervous. I think everyone is nervous when getting tested, especially if it’s your first time. But it’s important to know your status. There is nothing to be afraid of. Getting tested is a sure way to ensure that you’re making your sexual health a priority.

Testing for HIV is free, fast and most importantly confidential; you can now even do it at home thanks to free postal test kits. If you have HIV, the sooner you find out you have it, the better it is for your health. You can start treatment and it is much less likely to have a negative impact on your health or the length of your life.

HIV and AIDS have had a massive effect on the African communities both ‘at home’ and in the diasporas. Growing up in Zimbabwe and Tanzania, even now in an age and times where there is a lot more information and knowledge surrounding HIV and AIDS, we are still in many cases battling societal and cultural norms, taboos and habits that stigmatise HIV even though we know that with effective treatment HIV infection need no longer be the death sentence it once was.

If you have HIV, the sooner you find out you have it, the better it is for your health. You can start treatment and it is much less likely to have a negative impact on your health or the length of your life.

As a black British African man, I think it’s important for me to stand up and be counted. I am very blessed to have the opportunity to use my platform to raise awareness about issues that affect not just myself but also my community. I have lost friends and family to AIDS in the past and at times it’s still difficult for us to acknowledge this.

Knowing that if my family and friends who were affected by HIV were alive today they’d be able to go on effective HIV treatment is bittersweet for me. It’s amazing that we now have the treatment that means that people living with HIV can not only live long and healthy lives but can also not pass it onto their sexual partners.

I want to make sure I am playing my part to ensure that people within my community not only know this but are encouraged to get tested and know their status. If you do anything this National HIV Testing Week, I say go and get tested.

I’m proud to be part of the Give HIV the Finger campaign and play my part in debunking HIV stigma and encouraging people to get tested. It’s time for us to make a change within our communities and look after ourselves and each other by getting tested regularly.


Get tested

Do your bit to end transmission of HIV in the UK by getting tested.

It is extremely important to get tested for HIV regularly as it is the only way to know for sure if you have HIV or not. If you have HIV, the earlier you find out the sooner you can access life-saving treatment and support enabling you to live a long and healthy life.

In most cases, HIV is passed on because people are not aware they have it and the longer you live with undiagnosed HIV the more likely it is for it to seriously damage your immune system.