So, you’re going to get laid. Perhaps with your long-term partner/spouse or you intend to hook-up with a hottie at a bar. Either way, bravo! And you’re committed to practicing safe sex. Double bravo!! 

The barrier method – aka condoms – have proven to be the most effective not just in containing the risk of unwanted pregnancies but also sexually-transmitted infections and diseases. Yet, condoms remain a somewhat unwanted and mishandled part of the sexual puzzle. But it doesn’t need to be that way. This lowdown on the basic condom etiquette on buying, storing and disposing of protection will make sure the barrier method doesn’t become a barrier in your sexual pleasures.

How to Buy Condoms? 

Condoms are readily available in all pharmacies and drug stores, besides certain health centres even distribute these for free. All you’ve got to do is go in and ask. The taboo around everything to do with sex can make this process somewhat awkward, especially if you’re new at this or are buying your first pack. Just shed the inhibitions. Neither the salesperson nor other buyers in the store will judge you for it. And even if they do, why care! If anything, you should be proud of making a responsible choice. 

Now, comes the tricky part of which condoms to buy. They come in different in types – regular, extra thin, ribbed, dotted, long-lasting and many, many more. The more exotic the name, the higher the chances of it having been enhanced with some lubricants or other materials. The dotted and ribbed ones, for instance, are known to cause extra friction, which may cause discomfort to some women. Similarly, a lot of people are allergic to latex, which is the most common material used for making condoms. If that applies to you or your partner, look for ones made of nitrile or other materials. 

The safest best always is to choose a regular condom, sans any performance-enhancing abilities, to begin with. If you and your partner feel comfortable with the idea, you can experiment with more features as you go along.

Where to Store Condoms? 

Now, this is definitely one aspect that many users tend to overlook. ‘It’s a condom, I can keep it wherever the heck I want’ you think. Well, think again! Condoms must be stored in cool, dry places with temperatures not exceeding 32 degrees for them to be able to do the job they are designed for. With that in mind, here are some dos and don’ts for condom storage: 

  • Do not store them in wallets. Remember what happened when Ross used that one-year old condom lying around in his wallet? Emma!
  • Do not store them in the glove box of your car either, because those places tend to heat up a lot. 
  • Use a ‘first in, first out’ policy – meaning you use the ones you bought first, provided they are not past their expiration date, and then move on to newer stash. 
  • You can store them in toiletry bags, tampon cases, sock drawers, or any empty case or bag you have lying around the house. 
  • In case you’re traveling, pack them in a side pocket of your bad away from sharp objects. 

How to Dispose of Condoms?

Taking off and disposing of a condom requires some careful thought and action. Just pulling it out with a jerk can cause some nasty spills. And flushing it down the toilet is a big NO-NO. 

Here’s what you should instead: 

  • Men must pull the condom out from its tip; whereas women should pinch the surface around the outer ring and twist it before pulling out. This helps keeps the body fluids intact inside. 
  • Once out, tie a knot around it, just like you’d with a balloon, for the same reason – to keep the contents inside. 
  • Wrap it up in a paper towel or tissue paper. 
  • Throw in the dustbin. 

And that’s all there is to it. These small steps can go a long way in preventing long-term ‘accidental’ consequences. After the first few times, the process will become second nature to you.