Shelf Life of a Condom
Condoms may be the most remarkable invention in the history of humanity. They empowered people to have sex without thinking about STDs and unwanted pregnancies. And now, condoms have become so critical that it is impractical to imagine a world without them. If condoms are so crucial to us, then we must know everything about them, including their shelf life. Yes, condoms come with an expiration date and usually have a shelf life of 3-5 years (male condoms), but female condoms can last longer. The expiration of a condom affects its potential to safeguard against STIs and unwanted pregnancies. And the shelf life of condoms depends on various factors including, storage conditions, their built material, and the use of spermicides. So, dive in and learn what affects a condom's shelf life, what happens once they expire, and the most appropriate place to store them.
Condoms are of two types: synthetic and natural.
Based on the material, the expiration date is worked out as the built-material affects the durability of condoms. If a condom is made from rubber, polyurethane, or any other similar synthetic substance, it typically has a longer shelf life up to 5 years. Condoms made from natural products like lambskin, its lifetime is shorter because natural materials degrade faster. Another factor that affects condoms is the use of spermicides (chemicals that kill the active sperm cells). Spermicides reduce the life of polyurethane and latex condoms from five to three years or even less.
What happens if one uses an expired condom?
Contraceptive methods or devices are the best protection against unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. There are various contraceptive methods available, but condoms are the best among all of them. A condom with no holes and, if stored properly, can provide up to 98% protection against unwanted pregnancies and STIs. While in not so ideal conditions, the figure becomes 89%, but that is still impressive. That said, there is an 11% chance that people can get pregnant and contract STDs even when using not expired good-quality condoms. Now you can imagine how much the 11% chances will increase in case of an expired condom.
All in all, using expired condoms can be catastrophic, and using an expired condom will be as good as using no condom. Along with creating a situation of unwanted pregnancies, they also increase the risk of STIs. Thus, one should always use a new condom and keep a check on the expiry date of the stored condoms. Further, if the condom's surface becomes dry or has an unusual odor, it's time to throw it, even if the expiry date suggests otherwise.
Where to store condoms?
It is necessary to keep condoms away from sharp objects like keys and wallet is not the right place to keep them. Moreover, they should not be placed above 40 degrees Celsius and should be kept in a dry place like side drawers of the bed. Humidity can degrade the chemicals (polyurethane and spermicides) used in making condoms, and the temperature above 40 degrees, has the worst effects on the rubber or other materials.
Did you know...
SKYN Condoms are the most popular condom in the market? They are softer, more form-fitting, stretchier and more resistant to breaking during that hot and steamy friction between two bodies.
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