Condom (External)

What Is an External Condom?

The external condom is a barrier method that reduces the risk of STI/HIV transmission during vaginal, oral, and anal sex, as well as when using insertive sex toys. It also helps reduce the risk of pregnancy – check out to learn more about using external condoms as a birth control method.

External condoms are usually made of either latex, polyurethane, polyisoprene or natural membrane (such as lambskin). Please note that natural membrane condoms do not protect against STIs or HIV.

Where Can You Get External Condoms?

  • All registered UC Davis students can visit the Love Lab for no-cost safer sex products. Non-latex options are available!
  • Check out the UC Davis Sexcess Map to find sexual health resources on and around campus.

How to Use an External Condom

Watch this demo video from the Love Lab, made by and for students!


  1. Establish consent! Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault.
  2. Make sure it was properly stored – delicately and in a cool, dry place.
  3. Check the expiration date.
  4. Check for any damage to the packaging. There should be an air bubble!
  5. Push condom to the side and tear package from corner.
    • Upon pulling out the condom, make sure the ring is on the outside – not the inside – so that you can roll it down easily. It should look like a sombrero, not a beanie!
  6. Pinch an inch of the reservoir tip.
  • Place a drop or two of water-based or silicone-based lube on the inside tip for increased pleasure.
  • Silicone-based lube is best for anal sex, since it lasts 3x as long as water-based and the rectum does not produce its own lubrication.
  • Never use oil-based lube with latex condoms!
  1. Roll condom all the way down the shaft of erect penis.
    • Check fit and feel. One size does not fit all, and every penis is different, so experiment with different condoms to find the one(s) that work for you!
  2. Enjoy! Communicate with your partner(s) throughout the entire act, and remember that consent must be ongoing.
  3. Pull penis out while still erect.
    • Hold condom at the base of penis to prevent leaks.
  4. Wrap condom in tissue and throw in trash – do not flush or re-use!

Tips for Comfy Condoms:

  • Take your time! Make sure you are going through each step correctly.
  • Practice! The more you practice, the more ready you’ll be when you need to use one.
  • Experiment! Find a condom size that works for you – each body is different!
  • Be confident! Safer sex means more fun and less worrying.

What If the External Condom Breaks?

SHCS’ Advice Nurse services are available to help you make informed decisions about your medical and/or mental health situation, and are offered to all registered UC Davis students at no charge. Call 530-752-2349 during normal hours of operation to schedule a telephone appointment. When SHCS is closed, call 530-752-2349 and follow the prompts to speak with the Advice Nurse directly.

Pregnancy Prevention:

  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) EC
    • Its effectiveness decreases each day, and must be taken within 5 days.
    • You can purchase OTC EC at the SHCS Pharmacy for $35. With a prescription, your insurance will cover the cost of OTC EC.
    • The Wellness To Go Vending Machine located inside the ARC Study Lounge also sells OTC EC (cash-only).
    • Check out the UC Davis Sexcess Map to find sexual health resources on and off campus.
  • Prescription EC
    • If you weigh more than 165 pounds, prescription EC may be a more effective option for you. Talk to your healthcare provider.
    • Prescription EC must be taken within 5 days. It is equally as effective on the first day after sex as it is on the fifth day after sex, but we recommend taking it as soon as possible.
  • Copper IUD
    • Must be inserted by a healthcare provider within 5 days after sex. It is equally as effective on the fifth day after sex as it is the first day after sex.

HIV Prevention:

  • PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) an emergency medicine that can reduce your chance of getting HIV after being exposed to HIV. It must be taken as soon as possible – but within 72 hours. Its effectiveness rapidly decreases over time, so go to the nearest emergency room or healthcare facility as soon as possible if you think you were exposed to HIV.
    • Medical providers at SHCS can prescribe PEP. Call 530-752-2349 to make a telephone appointment with the Advice Nurse and discuss your options for same-day care, which may include going to the nearest healthcare facility.
    • Check out this page to learn about getting help in Davis when SHCS is closed.