A condom is one of the best ways to lower your chance of STIs. You may know about condoms for men. Did you know there are condoms for women too? The female condom is a tube of soft plastic with a closed end that is put deep into the vagina.

  • Use condoms or female condoms each time and every time you have sex.
    • Condoms come in several sizes. Make sure you use the right size. A condom that is too small can break easily. A condom that is too big can slip off during sex. Use a new condom each time you have sex.
    • Be careful not to poke a hole in the condom when you open the wrapper.
    • Never use petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline), grease, hand lotion, baby oil, or anything with oil in it. These products can make holes in the condom.
    • After sex, hold the condom on your penis as you remove your penis from your partner. This will keep semen from spilling out of the condom.
  • Do not use a female condom and male condom at the same time.
  • Do not have sex with anyone who has symptoms of an STI, such as sores on the genitals or mouth. The herpes virus that causes cold sores can spread to and from the penis and vagina.
  • Think about getting shots to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B, if you haven’t already had these shots. You can get both of these diseases through sex.

A dental dam is a special rubber sheet that you can use for protection during oral sex.