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Condoms for Couples
FAQs About Condoms for Heterosexual Couples

But I feel awkward with them. How do I use condoms?
How do I start talking about using condoms?
When should I talk to my partner?
Which condoms should I use?
Step by step how to use a condom

What if my partner says ... ?
     "They're not romantic."
     "You don't trust me."
     "I don't use condoms."
     "But we've been having sex without condoms."
     "But I love you."

Condoms for CouplesCouples today need to know about HIV and safe sex.

Condoms (rubbers) stop HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).

HIV disease is spread by sex (vaginal, anal or oral) without condoms.

Men can get it from women. Women can get it from men.

You can prevent the spread of HIV. Always use latex condoms.

Remember! Condoms are not 100% perfect. But if you use them properly (see "step by step"), they are very effective.

But I feel awkward with them. How do I use condoms?

They're not hard to use, but practice helps! Play with a few. Stretch them to see how strong they are. Practice by yourself and with each other. It's fun for her to put the condom on him!

How do I start talking about using condoms?

One way is to bring up the subject with your partner when AIDS is in the news. You can talk about its effect on people having sex, and how more and more people are using condoms.

Or, you can talk about caring for each other and having fun safely.

Or, you can print this out and show it to your partner.

When should I talk to my partner?

Set your own limits first. Then talk to your partner before you have sex and before you're both hot. Pick a time when you can both relax.

Which condoms should I use?

Find condoms you both like. Any latex condom will stop HIV. Try different brands and different kinds (lubricated/dry, ribbed/smooth, etc.) Experiment and have fun.

Step by Step How to Use a Condom

How to Use a CondomWhen the penis is hard, squeeze the air from the tip of the condom. This leaves a space for semen.

How to Use a CondomHold the tip as you unroll the condom. Make sure there's no air inside. Air bubbles are the biggest reason why condoms break.

The second biggest reason why condoms break is not enough water-based lubrication: use plenty. Birth control foam and jelly give extra protection; they contain the spermicide nonoxynol-9, which kills HIV.

NEVER use oil-based lubricants such as vaseline, hand lotion, or massage oil -- they weaken latex and make condoms break.

How to Use a CondomAfter . . . don't lose the condom or spill it. Hold on to the ring at the end of the condom as you withdraw.

Never re-use a condom.

Keep extra condoms around so you don't run out.

It's okay to keep condoms in your wallet for an evening, but not longer. Body heat damages the condoms over time.

What if my partner says ... ?

What if he says, "They're not romantic."

"Just give me those condoms, and I'll show you how romantic they can be!"
"Worrying about AIDS isn't romantic. With condoms we won't need to worry."

What if she says, "You don't trust me."

"It's not a matter of trust. It's a matter of health."
"It's important to me that we're both protected."

What if he says, "I don't use condoms."

"I use condoms every time."
"I don't have sex without condoms."

What if he says, "But we've been having sex without condoms."

"We can still prevent infection or reinfection."
"I want to start using condoms now so we won't be at any more risk."

What if she says, "But I love you."

"I love you, too. We still need to use condoms."
"Being in love can't protect us against AIDS."

This article was provided by San Francisco AIDS Foundation. It is a part of the publication AIDS 101: Guide to HIV Basics. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.