Why Do Condoms Break?

Condoms are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, when they are used correctly. But, sometimes condoms can break. Why does this happen?


7 Widespread Reasons Why Condoms Break:

1. The Condom is Too Tight.

Using a condom with the correct length and width for you or your partner is extremely important. When you use a condom which is too small, the latex is stretched beyond the point of safety and it can cause rips and tears in the condom’s material. This is a very common reason why a condom will break. Be sure to measure while fully erect to find your proper size.

2. Bad Storage Techniques.

If you don’t store your condoms in the recommended way, this can lead to breakage. Condoms should be stored in a room temperature environment away from direct sunlight. Extreme heat and cold can permanently damage your condom. For this reason, it is essential to avoid storing your condoms anywhere in the car, in your wallet, in the garage, or in the fridge.

3. Use Past The Expiration Date.

When you use an expired condom, you put yourself and your partner at risk for unwanted pregnancies or STDs because the condom’s material becomes brittle and weakened over time and this can easily lead to breakage. If you’re not sure is your condom is still good, check the wrapper and/or box for an exact expiration date. Law requires manufacturers to specify this date, so it’ll be on there. If it’s expired, don’t use it.

4. Using Oil As Lube.

Oil based products are not meant for use with condoms. Using a product that’s not intended to be a personal lubricant can compromise you and your partner’s safety and health. Oil based products such as: baby oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, massage oil, coconut oil, and petroleum jelly will superheat the condom’s material and cause it to break.

5. Not Enough Condom Safe Lube.

Water-based and silicone-based lubricants are intended to help condoms stay intact. This is especially important for menopausal women or those practicing anal sex (since moisture is scarce). Even if you or your partner has adequate natural lubrication, using a water or silicone based lube will help the rising heat level caused from friction stay low enough to keep your condom intact.

6. Opening the Wrapper the Wrong Way.

The best way to open a condom wrapper is from the corner or the edge of the wrapper. Opening the wrapper in the middle or by using a tool such as a knife or scissors can cause a small tear in the condom. Also, you should not use your teeth or a rough fingernail to open the package.

7.  Wearing More Than One Condom.

There is an urban legend that using more than one condom keeps you safer. In fact, just the opposite is true. Wearing more than one condom causes friction in between the layers and friction causes heat. Too much heat makes condoms break. Whether you are using a male or female condom, only one is recommended or necessary for protection.

Ensuring Your Condom is Intact Before Use

In most cases a visual check of the condom is sufficient, but if you are worried about the integrity of your condom you can administer a water test. To administer the water test, simply fill the condom with water and see if any water springs out from a hole, rip or tear. Don’t overfill the condom, because this can overstretch the condom and weaken it. If you see a leak during the water test, do not use this condom. Be advised that the water test will wash away the condom’s lubricants, so supplementary lubrication is advised for safety (see #5).

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.