What is safe sex?
Safe sex is the ability to feel emotionally, physically, and mentally safe when engaging in sexual acts and
behaviour with yourself or someone else. This also includes anything to do with contraception, practicing safe
sex and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using contraceptives such as condoms or femidoms (female
condoms) can significantly reduce the likelihood of getting a sexually transmitted infection. This is not just
for penetrative sex, however! Condoms and femidoms are also recommended for use during oral sex and when sharing
sex toys to protect yourself and any sexual partners against STIs.
Choosing The Right Condoms for You
Condoms, sometimes referred to as external condoms, are a barrier method of contraception and are made of a very
thin layer of latex (most commonly, though you can also get latex-free condoms) which are designed to be worn on
the penis to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STIs. When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective at
preventing pregnancy and at preventing STIs transmitted through bodily fluids.
Choosing the right condom for you is very important – this includes the right size and material. If you have a
latex allergy, do not use latex condoms.
You should choose a condom that is slightly larger than your penis to ensure there is room to hold ejaculate
without breaking or leaking. This means choosing the right condom size for you. You can follow the NHS’ video
guide on how to choose the right condom here.
You must also ensure that the condom that you are using is in date. You should check the individual wrapper for
the expiration date as condoms are not guaranteed to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections or
from causing pregnancy if they are past their expiration date.
What are Femidoms?
Femidoms, also called female condoms or internal condoms, are made from soft, thin synthetic latex. Latex-free
ones are available, but these are less common. They are a barrier method, worn inside the vagina to prevent
semen getting to the womb or to prevent transfer of STIs during oral sex or other sexual activities.
When used properly, they are estimated to be 95% effective at preventing pregnancy and against sexually
transmitted infections that are transmitted through bodily fluids. They protect a larger area of the body than a
standard external condom.
- Check the date on the packaging – condoms have expiry dates and after this date they start
to break down and become far less effective at preventing against sexually transmitted
infections and pregnancy.
- Inspect the foil packaging to ensure there is no wear or damage to the packaging – if there
is it is possible the condom is damaged and won’t work as well.
- Carefully tear open the condom. You can push the condom to one side in the foil packaging to
ensure you do not tear it.
- Remove the condom from the packaging and hold it so that the tip is between your thumb and
finger to ensure it is the right way around (a condom that is the right way round should
look like a little hat, with the tip pointing up from the centre) and that no air is trapped
- Place the condom over the tip of your penis, still holding the tip.
- Whilst squeezing the tip of the condom, roll it down over the erect penis. If the condom is
not unrolling, it is likely it is on the wrong way around. Take it off, flip it over, and
- Make sure that you roll the condom as far to the base of the penis as possible.
- Ensure that the condom stays on and is not broken. If it comes off easily or is damaged,
make sure that you replace it with a new condom.
- After ejaculation, remove the condom, tie it if possible, and wrap it in a tissue before
putting it in the bin.
- Check the date on the packaging – femidoms have expiry dates and they start to break down
and become far less effective at preventing against sexually transmitted infections and
pregnancy after these dates.
- Inspect the foil packaging to ensure there is no wear or damage – if there is, it is
possible the femidom will not work as well.
- Tear open the foil packaging; you can push the femidom to the side in the packaging before
you tear to ensure you do not damage it.
- Remove the femidom from the packaging and hold the thicker inner ring in your hand.
- Fold the thick inner ring with your thumb and finger to make it easier to insert.
- Place the thick inner ring in the vagina and allow it to open.
- Using one or two fingers, push your fingers inside the femidom and into the vagina, pushing
in as far as it will go until it is reaching against the cervix. The thin, outer ring should
remain outside the vagina and can be laid against it.
- Fix the condom to ensure it is not twisted and during penetration ensure that the outer ring
remains outside of the vagina. If it goes inside at any point, stop, and pull it back out.
- If the femidom tears or is damaged at any point, remove it, and replace it with another one.
- To remove the femidom once you have completed any oral, penetrative, or other form of sex,
you should twist the outer ring and slowly pull it out.
- Tie it (if possible) place it in a tissue and dispose of it in the bin.
Free condoms from Your SU!
If you are based on our Coventry campus’s, getting sexy safely couldn’t be easier with the chance to grab some
free condoms from Your Students’ Union. All condoms we provide are Skyn Elite Non-Latex
Condoms. They will be provided in discreet packs of 10. They are:
- Coated in a silicone-based and non-spermicidal lubricant.
- Have a 53mm nominal width (regular-sized condoms). If you are unsure if this is the right size, you should
check the nominal width of your penis.
- Ultra-thin and ultra-soft.
We regret to inform we can only provide condoms, not femidoms at this time. Students based at Coventry and CU
Coventry campus can discreetly order your free condoms here while stocks last. For
CU students based in London or Scarborough check out this link and enter your postcode or location to find the nearest places to you that
offer free condoms. This includes GPs, pharmacies, sexual health clinics, and hospitals.
The C Card scheme offers free condoms to young people from the age of 13 until their 26th birthday. There are
lots of places across Coventry where you
can go and register. You can find more details about the C Card scheme here.
All condoms are one-time use and should be stored in a cool, dark place such as a bedside table, purse, wallet,
or glasses case. Do not keep them near anything that could damage them, such as having them loose in your bag,
or near your keys or other sharp objects.