We rely so much on the effectiveness of sexual protections, which is why Durex condoms are 5x tested for maximum safety. But when you’re in the middle of an exciting sexual encounter, the last thing that crosses your mind as you look for a condom is to check the expiry date.
We get it. 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 — and super important when it comes to safe sex. Use a condom that is expired, 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 and contraception safety tips, 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 good to go!
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. The lifespan varies for different condom types, but if it’s past its expiry, it may be at greater risk of splitting, tearing, or puncturing during sex.
Why do condoms expire?
It actually has to do with a complex process that results in the condom materials breaking down, losing their 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 things like direct sunlight can have an effect on the condom. It’s 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 from 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 anywhere from 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, dependent on the safe storage of the condom. Comparatively, non-latex condoms made of polyisoprene (a type of artificial rubber) usually only last 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 Durex condoms should have an expiry date printed on the outside of the individual wrapper — 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 to optimize safe sex.
Can you use expired condoms?
The answer to this question is simply; no, you should never use expired condoms, as it would mean the quality guarantee and effectiveness of the condom is reduced.
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 contraception supply topped up and fresh. Why not take the opportunity to try something new and make your arsenal of condoms all the more interesting?
Durex condoms come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and sensations — so there’s plenty of reason to explore new styles. For an extra bit of oral arousal, try out one of our tropical flavoured condoms available in Strawberry, Apple, Orange and Banana. Or mix things up with Durex Mutual Climax condoms to provide some extra pleasure for both parties.
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 drawer or naughty box? 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 strikes.
Got more questions about condoms and safe sex? Head over to our Explore Sex blog and check out our guide to putting on a condom properly. Our guide provides you with simple steps to ensure that your condom usage is as safe as it possibly can be.