Teach your teenager how to put on a condom

Is it awkward to whip out a banana or a cucumber (or even better, a penis model) and tell your teenager you’re going to show her the steps on how to put on a condom? Yep, no doubt. But there’s really no other good place for your teenager to learn how – except for trial-and-error, which really no one wants.

So here are the steps:

  1. Check the expiration date on the condom package. Even brand new condoms can be expired.
  2. Open the package with your fingers. Teeth or scissors can tear the latex and you won’t necessarily realize it.
  3. Figure out which way the condom rolls down. Put it on the head of the penis correctly.
  4. Pinch the reservoir tip to squeeze the air out. This ensures that there’s space for the sperm to go in.
  5. Roll the condom all the way down the penis.

And here’s the second half of the lesson that regrettably sometimes gets missed:

  1. After the male orgasms, he needs to hold the condom on to the base of his penis and withdraw his penis before it becomes flaccid.  This makes sure that the condom doesn’t slip off when the penis becomes smaller.
  2. Slip the condom off the penis while still holding it at the base so that the sperm isn’t spilled.
  3. Tie off the open end of the condom.
  4. Throw the condom in the trash.  (Not in the toilet or on the ground.  That’s just gross.)

These few moments spent together may have the effect of horribly embarrassing both the parent and the teenager.  But it may also have the effect of improving the teenager’s effective use of a condom.  And as a parent, it’s completely worth it.  Because you never want to hear the words “Ummm…because we didn’t know where the condom was when we were…you know…finished.”
And if you just can’t make yourself do it, here’s your out: YouTube, Planned Parenthood, or Our Whole Lives sexuality classes all also teach teenagers how to properly use condoms. So you’ve covered your bases if you’ve made sure that your teenager got the information from somewhere.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. Putting the condom on seems to get all the attention, but the folks I know that got pregnant from condom failure, messed up the taking it off correctly part. Thanks for stressing that part too.

  2. And if the teen is too shy and/or embarrased to agree to take a group class, then couldn’t we find someone to talk one on one with them, besides ourselves? Like you?

Comments are closed.