When you’re in the middle of an exciting sexual encounter with a loved one, the last thing that crosses your mind as you look for a condom is to check the expiry date – you’re probably looking to get the condom on as quickly as possible so you don’t spoil the mood.
But condom expiration is a very real thing, use a condom that is out of date, and you could find that the effectiveness of the condom is significantly reduced, or worse, voided completely.
So, why do condoms expire? Should you check the expiry date every time you use one? If you’ve got questions about condom expiry dates, then we’re here to help. Join us as we break down how long condoms last and how you can make sure you never find yourself without one that is in date!
Can condoms expire?
To put it plainly, yes, condoms can expire. Because of this, condoms always have an expiry date on the back of each individual packet, regardless of whether they were bought as a single or as part of a larger pack. If a condom has expired, it may be at greater risk of splitting, tearing, or puncturing during sex.
Why do condoms expire?
So, why do condoms expire? It’s not simply the case that the condom goes off like a piece of fruit. It’s actually to do with a complex process that results in the material of the condom breaking down, losing its effectiveness over time. Essentially, the more resilient the material used in the production of the condom, the longer it will last.
Aside from the material, how long a condom will last is also contingent on proper storage as even direct sunlight can have an effect on the condom. It is therefore important to keep your condoms stored in a dry place, and you should only open the individual condom packs before you use them and no sooner.
How long do condoms last?
According to Dr Elizabeth Bosky form verywellhealth, condoms are given an expiry date based on the time when they were produced, quality tested and packaged. Most condoms have a shelf life of anything between 1 to 5 years, however, how long a condom lasts really depends on the material the condom is made from.
Latex condoms, for example, can have a shelf life of up to 5 years, again dependent on the safe storage of the condom. Comparatively, non-latex condoms made of polyisoprene (a type of artificial rubber) usually only have a shelf life of up to 3 years.
Another factor that can affect the expiry date of the condom is whether the condom contains spermicide or other chemicals. Chemicals such as spermicide can damage the integrity of the condom, significantly reducing its lifespan.
Regardless of what the condom is made from, all individual condoms packets should have an expiry date on, so all you need to worry about is checking this date before use. If the condom is in date, go ahead and use it. If the condom is out of date or no date is visible on the pack, then throw it away and find a new one.
Can you use out of date condoms?
We have eluded to this question already, however it’s something we feel we should really reiterate to ensure you don’t end up with any unplanned surprises following your night of passion. The answer to the question is fairly simple; no, you can’t use out of date condoms. Using out of date condoms would mean the quality guarantee and effectiveness of the condom is no longer valid.
So, how can you combat condom expiry dates? Sure, with the typical expiry date being anything from 1 to 5 years, you may feel you have all the time in the world to use the condoms you currently have, but it never hurts to keep your supply topped up and fresh. Why not take the opportunity to try something new and make your arsenal of condoms all the more interesting?
Why not try adding some of our Intense Ribbed & Dotted condoms to your collection during your next top-up? Sure, as always, you’ll still have to check the condom expiry before you use, but the intense and stimulating ribs and dots will make it more than worth the wait.
Still concerned about condom expiry dates and worried that you may get caught short? To really stay on top of things, why not try reviewing all your condoms every time you add some to your night-time naughty draw? Sure, it may sound a little anal, but it will give you peace of mind that you can reach in and pull out an in-date condom whenever the mood the takes you.
Got more questions about condoms or condom usage? Head over to our Explore Sex blog and check out our guide to putting on a condom properly. Our guide provides you with 5 simple steps to ensure that your condom usage is as safe as it possibly can be.