Your gay guide to condoms!

We talk about all things condom and answer some common condom questions.

Why should I wear one?

Condoms are your best defence against most sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In the age of PrEP we hear lots of guys say “Well I’m on PrEP so I don’t need to use condoms”, but it’s important to remember that HIV isn’t the only STI out there. PrEP doesn’t protect against other STIs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, which can lead to health problems if left untreated.

Using condoms can also show your partner that you not only care about your own health, but care about theirs too which can make you seem more attractive and confident. You can also relax a bit more knowing your risk of STIs is pretty darn low, so you can enjoy sex a little more!

Okay, where can I get them from?

You can pick them up for free from our Men’s Group in Hanley every Wednesday! It’s a drop-in group so you’re more than welcome to just come for some condoms and leave, or you can stay and chat for a bit if you want too! You can register for a C-Card which gives you quick and easy access to free condoms in Stoke-on-Trent. You can also get free condoms from your local sexual health clinic.

If you’re buying them online make sure they’re up to British health and safety standards by making sure they have these two kitemarks:

What if I have a latex allergy or my penis is too big/small for regular condoms?

We have condoms for all sizes (trim to extra-large) as well as latex free condoms for those who have a latex allergy. We have flavoured condoms and super thin ones too so whatever size your penis, we’ve got you covered (literally)!

What about lube?

As we’re sure you’re aware, lube is essential to enjoyable anal sex (and is always a welcome addition to a hand job or blow job) so we advise keeping a good stock of lube alongside your condoms. Good news – we supply free water-based lube as well as free condoms at our Men’s Group!

Water-based and silicone-based lubes are both safe to use with condoms but don’t use oil-based lube as it will erode the latex in your condom and make it lots more likely to break.

They’re easy to put on aren’t they?

Condoms are super easy to put on but lots of people don’t actually know how to put one on properly. If you don’t put it on properly it increases the likelihood of the condom breaking.

There are four key steps to putting a condom on correctly...

  1. Tear down from the serrated edge

  2. Check the condom is the right way round (tip facing up)

  3. Squeeze the tip

  4. Roll the condom down to the base

...and don’t forget that STIs can be spread through blow jobs too so pop one on before you have oral sex.

How long do they last?

Condoms do have an expiration date and you can check this on the back of the condom wrapper. If the condom is past this date it's more likely to break, so use in-date condoms to maximise effectiveness.

Where should I keep them?

Heat, moisture, friction and light can affect the quality of condoms and make them less effective. This means you shouldn't keep them in your wallet or pocket for a long period of time because wallets and pockets can get pretty warm, damaging the condom. Pockets (especially back pockets) will deal with a lot of friction from walking around and sitting down and condoms in wallets will experience friction from opening the wallet and brushing against cash and cards.

A bedside drawer is one of the best places to store your condoms as it's usually cool, dry and away from sunlight. Obviously if you're heading out and want to take condoms with you, you can pop one in your wallet for a short period of time but take care not to damage it or leave it in there too long. If you can, use a separate wallet compartment for the condom.

If I use condoms do I not need to go for an STI test?

Although condoms are your best defence against most STIs, they’re not 100% effective and some STIs can be spread through skin-to-skin contact.

If you notice any symptoms like discharge from the tip of your penis, blisters, itching or lumps in your genital area or pain when peeing, visit a sexual health clinic. Other than that, we recommend that everyone gets a full STI test between every sexual partner or once a year if you’re in a monogamous relationship.

#condoms #sexualhealth #gaymen