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Do Condoms Expire? How Will I Know?

Posted by Devin Wilde on


You might be asking yourself what happens if you use an expired condom during intercourse. What if the condom that you are using breaks and leaves sperm inside? The answers to these questions might surprise you.

Why do condoms expire?

Many people wonder about condom expiration dates because of the concern over them failing when you really want to be sure they’re working as they should! Most people know that they need to use a reliable form of contraception during intercourse, and condoms are very popular. But the question is, how do you know when the condom has really "expired?"

Many condoms will say that they are only suitable for six months; however, they, in theory, are still going to protect a lot longer than that.

One of the reasons why condoms expire is because the packaging itself can become cracked or damaged. Some condom packages will state a suggested expiration date on the box so that you can be sure as to how long the condom will work optimally.

How to store condoms

Condoms should always be kept in a dry and cool place, such as a drawer on your nightstand or dresser.

It is not good to store condoms in cars or bathrooms, reducing their shelf life and effectiveness. That’s one of the main reasons for condom failure! 

How do you make sure condoms are effective?

We know that condoms should be kept in cool, dry places at home, away from chemicals and sharp objects, but what else do you need to know?

  • Condoms should not be kept in your purse, wallet, or pocket for more than 24 hours. Condoms that are constantly moved or irritated can cause wear and tear.
  • Condoms can be damaged by ultraviolet light in just a few hours.
  • Extreme heat can cause latex to become sticky or weak. You should not store condoms in areas where temperatures can fluctuate, and this includes in your car, near a furnace, or window.
  • Regularly check the expiration dates on condoms and replace them before they reach that point.
  • Before you use the wrapper, make sure to check for any holes. You can do this by squeezing the wrapper to feel for air bubbles.

What happens to different condom types?

Every condom box and condom wrapper contains a stamp that has an expiration date. Before you purchase condoms, make sure you check the expiration date.

Condoms can last for a long time, depending on what material they are made from and how well they are stored.

  • Condoms made of latex can last up to five years.
  • Polyurethane condoms last up to five years
  • Polyisoprene condoms last up to three years
  • Lambskin/sheepskin condoms last up to one year.

If you don't have any other options, should you use an expired condom?

Let's say you don't have any other protection. A condom with an expiration date is better than none. You are at an increased risk of getting pregnant or infected with STIs if you use an expired condom as they are less reliable. Of course, it’s far better just not to have sex until you can get your hands on a condom that you know is going to serve you well. 

What happens to a condom that is no longer in use?

It can be a depressing feeling to find out that your condom has expired. However, it is not a good idea to use expired condoms, as we’ve already explored. Expired condoms can also become very dry, and these can irritate the vaginal walls, increasing the risk of infection and inflammation. Plus, they would make the whole experience very uncomfortable - that’s not what you want from sex!

When used correctly, condoms are very effective when used correctly. However, it is essential to pay attention to the expiration dates. An expired condom may not be thick enough to protect you as it could have disintegrated somewhat. 

How do you know if your condom is expired?

It is easy to see the expiration date to determine if a condom is expired. The expiration date is printed on the packaging. The condom may have expired if it feels dry or brittle after you remove it from the foil or tin. It should be thrown out if it smells strange or appears visually damaged. In that case, just use another one as it’s not worth taking such a risk.

Why do condoms break?

Condoms not only expire but also become less effective over time and can easily tear/rip. Condoms fail for many reasons. A common cause is when the condom tears or has tiny punctures due to the material breaking down from being in a pocket, for example, and rubbing against items such as keys. 

If the condom is stretched during sex or exposed to friction (from rough play), this too can lead to a complete breakage if you’re not careful. A condom not being the right size is another factor for breakage, and that is why it is essential to ensure that the condom isn’t too tight/loose when putting over the erect penis. Finally, condoms that have been sitting around for a prolonged period, especially in extreme weather conditions, maybe more fragile than others and are more likely to burst.

Broken condoms can be extremely risky simply because most people won't know about the breakage until after the condom has been removed, especially if they are lost in the moment. The risk of getting pregnant or getting an STI from a condom break is the same as that from unprotected sex. If you discover that a condom was broken during sex, you should get checked for STIs as soon as possible and also be aware of the risk of pregnancy.

How long can condoms last before they expire?

Proper storage will ensure that condoms are effective for three to five years, depending on their manufacturer. Be aware that condoms for females typically last five years.

How do women know when condoms expire

It varies depending on what brand you are purchasing. Some brands have a much longer lifespan than others, and often the lower quality types last a shorter time period. It would be best always to read the packaging when purchasing a new condom to ensure you are fully aware of when they need to be used.

Do female condoms expire?

Several factors can affect the expiration date. Condoms can be used multiple times before they expire, and this means that even though a condom may seem like it is working well, it may no longer fit the vagina.

Another way that the condom may become less effective is if it has been exposed to sunlight or heat. Heat and sunlight can make the latex thin, making it easier for sperm to enter the vagina. If there is not enough lubrication inside the condom, it can make it much more difficult for a woman to feel comfortable during intercourse. If you suspect that your partner is using condoms that do not fit well or are less than adequate, speak up and ask them to use a lubricant instead.

Do male condoms expire?

Men like to have control over the amount of pleasure they give their partners. They are also concerned about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. Of course, men do not want to use condoms that do not protect their partners. If a man is concerned about the expiration date of a condom, he should always buy a new one and not use a condom that has gone past its sell-by date.

How long do condoms last? 

This is a tricky question since not all condoms have an expiration date, and some condoms do not have any expiration date at all. This is because particular condoms contain an antibacterial compound that will last as long as it is used. However, if a condom has an expiration date, it will no longer protect a person during intercourse if that date has passed.

How can you tell if a condom is genuinely "expired"? 

One way is by examining the open condom. If the latex inside the package has come apart, then it is an "expired" condom. In that case, throw it away and replace it with a new one. It’s not wasteful - it’s always better to use a new condom since an "expired" condom can put you at risk of unwanted pregnancy and STIs. 

How can you tell if a condom package is damaged?  

A condom package that has been torn or ripped open is not a good thing - it is an item to toss out immediately. If a condom package has not been torn but has been folded over and placed in a wallet (without folding the box over), then that’s not a good situation either. It is best to keep condoms flat and stored in a safe place. That way, they will stay together better and offer the wearer a higher amount of protection. 

Do condoms expire after being exposed to the sun? 

Yes - this is another thing that many people do not think about. Sunlight is not a great environment for condoms to be stored in. Direct sunlight will eventually cause the latex to break down and degrade; it is not suitable for condoms at all. You should keep condoms in a cool, dry place - this will ensure that the condom will last for the entire time before the expiration date.


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