Maintaining a healthy penis is an admirable goal most men aspire to. And one of the most effective ways to positively impact penis health is to use a condom whenever there is the slightest possibility of an STI. While no condom can guarantee 100% protection from an STI, the use of one greatly reduces the risk of infection - and, of course, of pregnancy.

But while the benefits of condom use are well known, it seems that some couples do not always use these indispensable items properly. With that in mind, the following tips are offered to help ensure a man is better protected and can better maintain a good, healthy penis.

1. Put it on (and keep it on). This may seem like a no-brainer, but statistics indicate a surprising number of men neglect to put the condom on their penis until after they have already started penetration. And yes, some men often remove the condom before they have completed the task at hand. While using a condom for part of the time spent in intercourse is better than not using it, it still leaves a man more vulnerable to possible infection.

2. Leave a little room. Between a quarter and a half of men have reported that they pull the condom all the way onto their penis without leaving some space at the tip. This is a definite no-no; the space at the tip is to collect the semen when it bursts forth. If there is no room, then the semen is more likely to drip down the shaft and spill out of the condom. At the same time, an air bubble at the tip is also no good - so squeeze out the air before applying.

3. Check for freshness. Just like milk and bread, condoms have an expiration date - and using one that has expired increases the risk of a problem. Expired condoms are much more prone to breakage. Fortunately, the shelf life of a condom tends to be several years - but it pays to check it before using one.

4. Store it gently. Countless men keep a condom in their wallets, ready to go in case he unexpectedly gets lucky. Good idea for preparedness; bad idea for keeping the condom in proper working order. The pressure put on the condom in the wallet over a long period of time can weaken it. Similarly, keeping it in a place with sharp objects (such as in the pocket with a set of keys) can lead to puncturing. And exposing it to extremes of heat or cold can also age it quickly. Try to find a sensible place (e.g., a table by the bed) to store the condom until it is ready for use.

5. Use it on toys, too. Couples who involve sex toys, such as a dildo, in their play should use a condom on any penetrative object shared between two or more people. STIs can reside on a dildo or other object as easily as they can on a penis.

6. Lube it. Lubrication is a good idea, especially if the sex tends to last a fairly long time. Without lubrication, there is greater stress and friction on the condom, increasing the possibility that it will break. (And remember, most oil-based lubes are not appropriate for latex condoms; they cause them to disintegrate more easily.)

Proper condom use is just part of any healthy penis plan, of course. A man needs to also regularly apply a top drawer penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) . A crème with a range of vitamins, such as A, B5, C, D and E, will help maintain overall penis health. And one with amino acids like L-arginine and L-carnitine help accelerate penis blood flow and protect penis sensitivity, respectively.