Q&A: Can Condoms Expire?

A. Similar to most other products you buy on the regular, condoms are not meant to last indefinitely.

That being said, the printed date on the side of the box of condoms is technically an expiration date, but condoms last, on average, about 5 years past this expiration date.┬áBut beware, because there is a direct relationship between how far past the expiration date a condom is and it’s reliability when used to prevent pregnancy or the transmission of STDs during sex.

It’s beneficial to realize that different brands and types of condoms are all made from significantly different materials. This comes into play in regards to expiration dates as well. If you have concerns about whether or not your condoms are expired, the safest bet is to purchase a fresh box. However, if this is not an option to due time or money constraints, simply remove one of the condoms from it’s packaging and thoroughly inspect it for any signs of decay. Note the dryness or stickiness of the condom as well as how rigid or inflexible it may be. These are all warning signs that the condom is expired and it has been in storage too long to be used effectively.

If you don’t regularly use condoms, you may want to consider buying individual condoms or 3 packs instead of buying them in bulk. This will ensure they are used before they reach there expiration date. Think of it like buying fresh produce. Are you really going to finish that 5 pound sack full of of apples, or should you just buy them a few at a time, as needed? Of course, when it comes to condoms (and food), you can never have too much. Don’t forget you can share the wealth too, by giving extra condoms to the sexually active people in your life. Pay ’em forward and you’ll feel like you did someone a valuable service.

Bear in mind that the way in which you choose to store your condoms can have a great impact on the amount of time they will last. It can be tempting to keep some in your car or wallet for those impromptu alleyway romps, but remember that both of these places tend to be very warm, which promotes the disintegration of condoms over time. The generic idea of keeping condoms inside a nightstand or bedside table drawer became a stereotype for a reason. Not only is it a convient location, it tends to be a cool and dry place which is very conducive to keeping a box of condoms fresher for longer. Obviously, the temperature and humidity outside, or in your pants pocket, changes constantly. So, if you like to bring a condom with you at all times, try to keep it in a bag for a more stable temperature and environment (finally, a really good excuse to wear a murse).


About Kara

Kara is the Creative Director for the Condom Depot Learning Center, Condoms Fast Blog & the Spicy Gear Blog. She's an FSU alumni with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Studio Art & is as sex positive as they come. She be found swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, reading or playing the drums.

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