What Happens If You Use an Expired Condom?

Condoms can last a long time if they are stored in the right way, but they also have an expiration date. If you use a condom that is expired, it can break during intercourse or leave sperm inside, increasing your risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

Most condoms have a shelf life of two years, but some like lambskin or polyurethane can last longer if stored properly. Here’s what happens if you use an expired condom:

1. You’re at Risk for STIs

Condoms can become less effective if they’re used past their expiration date – This section is the result of the website’s editorial analysis lolasexy.com. This means they’re less likely to form a protective barrier between your body’s fluids, which puts you at risk of sexually transmitted infections like hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV). Expired condoms also tend to be drier and more brittle, which can make them feel rough or uncomfortable during sex.

If you’re using a male condom that’s expired, it’s still better to use it than no condom at all because men aren’t perfect and even new, intact condoms can break or slip during penetrative sex. However, if you have other forms of birth control available, it’s always best to use them instead of an expired condom.

You can usually tell if a condom is expired by looking at the stamp or code on the bottom of the packaging. You can also double-check the condom’s status by squeezing it lightly and feeling for air. A condom that feels dry or has a foul odor is not in good shape and should be discarded. If you’re not sure if the condom is still good, try pressing down on it and if you feel a cushion of air that’s fine, but if the wrapper is torn or faded or the lube appears to be leaking, toss it. A condom that’s been exposed to sunlight or extreme temperatures will also lose its effectiveness faster than one that hasn’t been subjected to these conditions.

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2. You’re at Risk for Unwanted Pregnancy

The materials used to make condoms, like latex and polyurethane, degrade over time. This makes them more brittle and less flexible, meaning that they can break or tear more easily during sexual activity, which leaves you at higher risk for both STIs and unintended pregnancy. According to Healthline, using a condom that’s been expired for a long period of time can also reduce its efficacy, especially if it has spermicides, which are added to some types of condoms to help protect against STIs and pregnancy.

Expired condoms can also have tiny holes or tears that decrease their ability to form a barrier between your body and your partner’s, which means that it’s easier for germs to pass from one person to the other. This can lead to infections or even pregnancy.

If you’re unsure whether a condom is safe to use, give it a good visual inspection. If it looks dry or brittle, has a funky smell, or has holes or tears, throw it out and get a new pack.

That said, it’s still better to use an expired condom than not to use any protection at all. If you’re unsure whether the condom you have is safe to use, talk to your doctor or gynecologist. It’s also a good idea to combine your use of condoms with other forms of birth control, like pills or intrauterine devices (IUDs). And remember: Always wash your hands before and after touching a condom, regardless of its expiration date.

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3. You’re at Risk for Infections

Over time, condoms degrade, and if you use one that’s expired, it might not be as flexible or durable as a brand-new model. That can make it easier for sperm to slip through the latex and into your vagina, which puts you at risk for STIs or unintended pregnancy, explains gynaecologist Dr Nerys Benfield.

Expired condoms also tend to be drier and weaker, which makes them more likely to break during sexual activity. That’s another huge problem because you might not even know the condom broke in the heat of the moment, and if it breaks while you’re having sex, you’re at risk for both STIs and pregnancy.

The good news is that if you have an expired condom, it may still be effective if you store it properly and inspect it carefully. Check the date on the wrapper to be sure it hasn’t passed, and also take a look inside at the condom itself. If it feels dry, has a foul odor or looks visually damaged, toss it and get a new one.

Ideally, you’ll keep a pack of brand-new condoms on hand at all times and use them every time you have penetrative sex. But if you’re stuck and have no other options, remember that even an expired condom is better than no condom at all.

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4. You’re at Risk for Infections

It’s important to remember that while a condom with an expiration date that’s still fresh can offer up to 98 percent protection against STIs and pregnancy, it won’t do its job as well if it’s expired. Over time, the materials in condoms like latex and polyurethane break down, causing them to lose their elasticity and flexibility, which can result in rips or tears. If a ripped or broken condom enters your vagina, it can be tainted with bodily fluids that may carry viruses or infections that can cause STDs or infection.

Keeping your condoms in a cool, dry place (ideally the box they come in), where they’re not jostled or crushed is best. Storing them in your wallet, a compartment in your purse or jeans pocket can also lead to degradation over time – if you notice that a condom feels dry or brittle or has a foul odor upon opening it, toss it and get a new one.

Of course, if you’re stuck without any other forms of birth control, an expired condom is better than no condom at all, especially if it was stored correctly, a gynaecologist explains to INSIDER. Just be sure to use it with a partner who’s also using protection. Practicing safe sex involves not only using condoms, but also using barrier methods like female condoms or an intrauterine device, too.

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