Condoms protect you from HIV and lower the risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea and hepatitis B and C. (You should be immunized against hepatitis B if you have sex with multiple partners.)
Condoms are available in drug stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and sex shops, and there are also condom vending machines. Condoms and lubricant are also available at places for men who have sex with men (saunas, darkroom bars, sex cinemas).
Standard-size condoms are well suited to most men. Larger and smaller condoms are also available. Condom designs in which a special ring in the middle of the condom prevents it from slipping off are also suitable for smaller penises.
Important: condoms only offer reliable protection when they are used properly. You should keep trying out condoms until you get the size and how to use them right!
If the condom ever comes off or tears , the risk of an HIV infection can still be greatly reduced (see "Safer Sex accident").
Tips for use
The following should be observed when using condoms:
- Use condoms of certified quality (identifiable by the CE-standards mark and DIN-test number, for example) and make note of the use-by date.
- Do not use a sharp-edged item (knife or scissors) or your teeth to open the wrapper. Be careful with long fingernails!
- Only put the condom on once the penis is erect. Pull back the foreskin and place the condom, with the ring facing outwards, over the glans. Press the reservoir on the tip of the condom together with your fingers to expel the air. Then use the other hand to roll the condom down completely.
- Never use two condoms at the same time - they rub against each other and can therefore more easily tear or come off.
- Always use a generous amount of oil-free lubricant for anal sex or if the vagina is dry. Never use oil-containing lubricant (Vaseline, massage oil, body lotion) - they destroy the condom! First put the condom on the penis, and then apply lubricant. Never put lubricant on the penis before putting on the condom, as it can then easily slip off.
- Check with your hand now and then to see whether the condom is still on properly.
- After ejaculation, remove the penis from the vagina or anus while it is still hard. At the same time, hold onto the ring of the condom.