Anyone who’s been there knows that when a condom breaks, it not only puts the brakes on your romantic sexual encounter, it can also be very worrying from a safety point of view.

There are a number of reasons why your condom may have broken pre- or mid-sex. But, to get an understanding of how to help prevent breakages, we first to need to look at why condoms break in the first place.

So, what exactly can go wrong? What can cause those unfortunate splits and tears? Here is what you need to know about why condoms break.

How often do condoms break

Condoms are designed and quality tested to remain intact during intercourse, regardless of how rigorous your session gets. They are made of natural rubber latex or a non-latex equivalent such as polyisoprene. These materials are designed to be waterproof, stretchy, and durable.

Condoms can split if they are not looked after correctly or if the condom is not applied safely and in line with the pack instructions.

Why do condoms split or break?

There are several reasons why a condom may break, the most common causes are:

  1. The condom has expired
  2. The condom hasn’t been stored properly
  3. The condom is the wrong size
  4. The condom wasn’t opened carefully
  5. The condom wasn’t put on correctly

man and woman kissing close up

1. The condom has expired

If you’re in the moment and the only condom you can find is the one you forgot about, stuffed at the back of your drawer, make sure you check the expiration date before use.

We know it’s the last thing you want to think about in the heat of the moment, but expiration dates are there for a reason. You wouldn’t eat an out-of-date meal so why put your future and health in the hands of an out-of-date condom?

Durex condoms tend to have a shelf life of 5 years dependent on the material of the condom. Once the condom reaches its expiry date, it won’t be as effective. Want to know more about condom expiration dates? Head over and explore our article on how long condoms last.

2. The condom hasn’t been stored properly

Your condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place. Leaving them stashed in a hot car or on your bedside table in direct sunlight, can leave the material susceptible to degradation.

To ensure they’re well protected, find a place in your bedroom where you can keep your condoms safely tucked away. If you decide to keep one in your wallet, don’t leave it in there for too long as the friction from opening and closing can cause deterioration.

3. The condom is the wrong size

Just like your favourite pair of trainers, condoms come in a variety of sizes to help make them fit more comfortably. If you need a slightly larger condom, for example, you may want to try Durex Comfort XL Condoms.

A condom will not be effective if it’s too loose or too tight because it could slide off or split. Want help finding the perfect condom for you? Head over and explore our condom buying guide which has everything you need to know when it comes to width, thinness and lubrication.

4. The condom wasn’t opened carefully

This might be a no-brainer, but condom wrappers were not designed to be opened with your teeth, and don’t go attacking it with a pair of scissors either, no matter how excited you are to get the condom on.

Avoid tears or rips by opening the condom carefully according to the pack instructions. Simply open the pack by pulling the serrated edge. If the condom does rip or become damaged whilst opening the pack, simply throw the condom away and start again with a new one.

5. The condom wasn’t put on correctly

A condom won’t be effective if it hasn’t been put on the right way. Taking your time to put on a condom properly is essential to help reduce any tears or slippages. And, it’s not a good idea to put a condom on in the dark - you need to be able to see what you’re working with.

To put a condom on correctly, start by squeezing the tip with the forefinger and thumb of one hand so there’s no air trapped inside and then roll down gently with your other hand. It’s important to leave some room at the tip, otherwise you could create a balloon effect after ejaculation and the condom might break.

 

If you’re nervous or over-excited and have shaky hands (it happens to the best of us) get your partner to help. Want more tips for putting on condoms? Head over and explore our comprehensive guide on how to put a condom on now.

 

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