What Happens When a Condom Expires?

Condoms can last up to 10 years from the date of manufacture, if they are stored correctly. A condom that has expired may appear dry and brittle, or might have holes in the wrapper, which you can check by lightly squeezing it and feeling for air bubbles.

Using an expired condom increases your risk of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. But what happens if you are forced to use one anyway?

STIs

A condom that has expired will not offer the same protection against STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and unplanned pregnancy as a new one. It also has a higher risk of breaking, tearing, or puncturing during use, increasing the chances of sexual fluids getting into your vagina and uterus.

Even if you aren’t concerned about becoming pregnant, using an expired condom may increase the likelihood of developing an STI because it can become contaminated with bacteria and viruses. It is important to check the date on your condoms regularly and to store them properly in a cool dry place.

Condoms are made from various materials, including natural latex, polyurethane, and artificial rubber polyisoprene, as well as a natural material called sheepskin. Sheepskin condoms have the shortest lifespan and do not provide protection against STIs.

Expired condoms, even when they are stored correctly and not used for penetrative sex or oral sex, can be contaminated with STIs because of their porous nature. If you do get an STI from using an expired condom, it is important to seek out medical treatment and discuss options for prevention in the future.

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Using condoms that are past their expiration date is better than no condom at all, but only a new condom that has not been damaged or contaminated by oil-based lubricants and hasn’t reached its recommended expiration date offers up to 98 percent protection against pregnancy and STIs.

Unwanted pregnancy

Over time, a condom’s materials break down and it loses its effectiveness. This is why they need to be used by their expiry date. Using an expired condom increases the risk of breakage during intercourse, which can lead to unintended pregnancy and STIs. This can also happen if you use a condom that’s not properly stored, such as in a hot or humid environment.

You can easily tell if a condom is out of its expiry date by checking the label, or calculating the shelf life based on the date of manufacture. But it’s also important to check the texture and smell of the condom, and to look for a tiny tear or hole in the wrapper. Condoms that are leaking spermicide or lubricant or have a foul odor should be thrown away.

A condom that’s not expired, when used correctly, typically offers 98 percent protection against STIs and unwanted pregnancy. But even a condom that’s been recently purchased can break or fail during sexual activity, leading to unintended pregnancy and STIs. The best way to prevent this is to always check the expiry date, and to store condoms in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands before and after using a condom, as this can reduce the risk of infection.

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Unplanned parenthood

A condom’s shelf life depends on a number of factors including where it’s stored and what it’s made of. Heat, sunlight, and lots of wear and tear can shorten the lifespan by a few years. Expired condoms can also become less effective, and they’re more likely to break during intercourse. This can lead to unplanned pregnancy and STIs.

A Condom that’s expired is brittle, dry, and may have a foul smell. If the condom is punctured, has minuscule holes or tears, or a funky odor, it should be tossed in the trash and replaced with a new one. This will ensure both partners have an optimal sexual experience and protect against STIs and pregnancy.

It is possible to get away with using an expired condom if the box or individual foil wrapper is in pristine condition and doesn’t read 2022-10, which would mean it should be safe through October of 2022. Just double-check the date and inspect it before use to make sure it hasn’t been damaged or opened. And don’t forget to add other forms of contraception to your arsenal. In the case of a missed period, women can always turn to over-the-counter emergency contraception (sometimes known as Plan B) for a quick fix.

Less enjoyable experience

It’s always a good idea to double-check your condoms before use and to look for signs they have expired. For example, they may smell bad or have a fowl odor, the wrapper might be torn, or it might feel sticky and dry. It’s also important to store condoms properly so they don’t degrade quickly, Dr Banfield says. That means keeping them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and extreme temperatures. Also, never leave them in your wallet or purse, where constant friction can cause them to degrade more quickly.

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Using an expired condom can lead to a less enjoyable experience because the spermicide and latex in it will have degraded, Dr O’Reilly says. This can make it harder to slip them into the vagina, and it can also cause them to break or tear during sexual activity. Also, she adds that it’s important to use a condom with lubricant (like water or silicone) so they don’t irritate the skin down there.

If you don’t have any new condoms and a date is coming over, there are other ways to protect yourself from unintended pregnancy and STIs, like using different types of contraception or mutual masturbation. Just remember that even if you have a condom that’s about to expire, it can still be used for non-sexual purposes, like collecting keys that have fallen down the loo.

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