I have a hard time maintaining an erection when I try to put on a condom, otherwise there’s no problem. The second I try to put one on, my penis becomes soft. What can I do?

Thanks for your question and congratulations for using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy! Some guys who have difficulty maintaining an erection with condom use may give up using them, which greatly increases their risk of getting (and spreading) sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We give you a lot of credit for asking this question so you and your partner(s) can continue to have safe sex.

Here’s some advice that may help you maintain an erection, while putting on a condom.

  • Make sure you are fully erect (hard) before putting the condom on. It’s almost impossible to put on a condom without a full erection. Wait until you’re completely hard.
  • Practice putting on a condom.One way to make sure you are using condoms correctly is to practice putting them on while masturbating. You can even masturbate with them on. This will also make you feel confident when the time comes to put on a condom before sex.
  • Try different types and sizes of condoms until you have the right fit. Some people believe that all condoms are alike and “one size fits all”; however, these statements are NOT true! Condoms come in different sizes and have different features such as ribbing for added sensation. It’s a good idea to try different brands and sizes. Having the right size will also improve your sexual pleasure.
  • Keep condoms in reach. It’s easy to lose an erection if you have to stop to find a condom. If you know you are going to have sex, keep the condom within reach.
  • Try having your partner put your condom on. For some guys, having their partner put on their condom is stimulating and helps them maintain an erection.
  • Ask female partners to use a female condom instead. Female condoms cost a bit more than male condoms but they are just as effective in preventing STI’s and pregnancy.
  • Talk to your health care provider. If these tips don’t help, talk to your health care provider who may offer other suggestions.​