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Do condoms expire? How long do condoms last?

So, you’re wondering if those condoms that you bought in 2019 are still good to use? I’ll cut the whole article very short by asking you to flip over to the backside of the condom, read what’s written there, and see if the expiration date has passed. If yes, throw that thing away. If no, yay you’re good to go! But now you’re thinking…ah but do condoms expire? Do these babies stop working past the expiry date? And if you have completely decided to ignore the expiration date and are wondering…how long do condoms last? I’ll definitely, and for good reason, ask you to read this article.

Read on to find out when condoms expire. Or how long do condoms last, among other things? A good chance is since you’re here, you can use some more knowledge about this common contraceptive used by millions of people every day. This article contains information about how the whole expiration process of condoms works. What are condoms made of? Or how do you store the condoms? Let this article bring these answers to you. But first, let’s catch up on some basics.

What are the different types of condoms?

Condoms expire, regardless of what they’re made of. But they’re usually made of three types of materials: latex, non-latex and natural

  • About 80% of the condoms in the market are made of latex or natural rubber. 
  • Synthetic non-latex condoms are made of polyurethane or polyisoprene and are used if you’re allergic to natural latex condoms. About 15% of condoms available in the markets today are these synthetic condoms.
  • Natural condoms are called ‘natural’ in the sense that they’re made from the intestinal membrane of lamb or sheep. These condoms have a history that goes way back to ancient times. If you’re interested in the history of the evolution of human sexuality, give this book a read. In today’s world, about 5% of condoms that exist are natural.

There’s a fourth type of condom. These condoms are coated with a spermicide, usually nonoxynol-9. (A spermicide is a substance that kills sperm released from the male body.) These can be a bit uncomfortable for women, can cause irritation or even urinary tract infections. It’s not very wise, or comfortable to use these condoms as neither they provide any better protection nor do they have long expiration periods. These condoms, like other condoms, expire – only faster.

How long are condoms good for?

Check out this FDA-approved guide to the expiration date of condoms. This will let you know that different condoms, with different periods, expire at different durations from when they’re made. Latex condoms are the best among what’s available and can last up to 5 years – and so can synthetic Polyurethane condoms. I advocate the use of both these types. Another synthetic non-latex condom, the one made of Polyisoprene can last up to 3 years. The lambskin or sheepskin condoms last about a year.

There are a few factors, other than the expiry date that decide how long these condoms are good for. They’re to be stored properly, away from direct sunlight or too much humidity. Improper storage of condoms can damage the wrapper and the condom itself and render it useless. Take our advice and don’t keep that pack of condoms near the window. So, this leads us to sit and consider for a while, where should we keep our condoms? 

  • Here are a few places where you could store your condoms: Cool, dark and dry places are the best places to store a condom in perfect condition. Places like the closet or a drawer are ideal.
  • Here are the places where you shouldn’t store your condoms: Your car, where chances are it is too hot in there. Your bathroom, which might get a bit too humid. And finally, your wallet that you carry around everywhere. Chances are the packet of condoms that you keep in there is already torn.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why should we not use an expired condom?

There are two reasons why we use a condom in the first place. 

  1. To prevent unwanted pregnancy.
  2. To prevent STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).

When we use an expired condom, the chances of it breaking is more than when we use a properly stored condom that hasn’t expired yet. Apart from breaking, expired condoms can develop certain tiny holes which completely defeats the purpose of wearing a condom in the first place. So, we better use that condom in a good condition. You don’t want to be a baby daddy or baby mama, do you? It’s not very nice to die of AIDS, which can be sexually transmitted, either. 

What other reasons can lead to the breaking of a condom, other than it is expired?

The breaking of a condom can be due to many factors. Here are some of the common culprits of condom breakage apart from it being expired or stored improperly: 

  1. You could be using the wrong type of lube. Some lubes have ingredients that might react with the material the condom is made of and can cause it to break. 
  2. Rough sex can at times lead to the breaking of a condom. Be aware of that amid your passions, please. 
  3. And finally, wearing more than one condom can at times cause increased fiction that can lead to the breaking of a perfectly good condom.

Tip: Read up the back of the pack of lube to look for any warning or any such ingredients before using it. Also, keep in mind that condoms that are made of natural ingredients such as lambskin or sheepskin do not protect you from STIs. And these might dissolve without warning.

How to properly wear a condom?

This is a pretty common question for many youngsters to ask. You tear open the packet to find a rolled-up condom. You take it out and pinch the top of the condom and start rolling the condom down to the full length of your or your partner’s penis. Some condoms are lubricated. 

You might want to read up further on the usage, function, issues of concern, and other issues regarding a condom here, as this study, raises awareness of how there is slippage and breakage of condoms among almost 2% of users during sexual intercourse. Be informed and prevent any issues of concern that you might have to face.

How long do condoms last? Do all condoms expire?

All condoms expire, more or less, at some point in time. I’m afraid it’s very much inevitable to stop the expiration. Our tip is, say goodbye and throw away that piece of expired and useless latex that’s sitting on your drawer. None of us would want you to accidentally use it in a hurry.

What kind of lube should I use?

The type of lube that you will use depends on the type of condom that you’re using. Remember that,

  • Water-based lubes (available in the shops or online) can be used with all types of condoms. 
  • Oil-based lubes (baby oil, coconut oil, petroleum jellies like Vaseline, most hand and body lotions, massage oil, mineral oil, edible oils, and whipped cream) are not compatible with latex or Polyisoprene condoms. 
  • Silicone-based lubes (K-Y Jelly, saliva, or glycerin) can break down Polyurethane condoms.
  • Natural condoms are tricky. They can be used with all kinds of lubes but can be very unreliable otherwise.

So just get yourself a good and proper lube, a non-expired condom, and stay safe. Okay?

So then, to conclude, condoms do expire. And if not stored properly they are as good as expired. Get yourself a condom that suits you. Be sure to check the wrapper for tears or holes or any kind of rips before using it. And use the lube that’s compatible with the type of condom you’re using. Have fun!