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You’ve probably been on this planet long enough to know by now that businesses want to make money. While they might tempt us and tell us that we need something, the truth of the matter might be a bit different. And you might have realized too late that you’ve wasted your money on something you didn’t need to buy. It happens.

If it has happened to you and you’re now a dubious consumer who thinks that brands often look for ways to make money, you might be skeptical about whether the dates on condom are things you actually have to follow or whether they’re just something companies but on as some sort of ploy to make more money. Here’s the deal on why condoms have expiration dates and whether you need to follow them.

So, do I really need to pay attention to the date on condoms?

The short answer is yes you do. And no, I’m not saying that because I own a condom company or I have a friend that does. I’m thinking about your safety, girl. After all, there are some things that you don’t want to mess around with, and safe sex is one of them. Do you really want to risk STDs and pregnancy because you’re trying to get out of buying a new box of condoms? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Why do they have expiry dates in the first place?

Nothing lasts forever. Things breakdown or become not as effective as they used to be. Beauty products are a great example of this. It’s pretty much the same philosophy with condoms. Over time, they can start to degrade, especially if they’re formulated with things such as lube and spermicide.

How long do condoms typically last?

It will vary from product to product but generally speaking condoms should last four to five years. (The expiry date should be written on the box as well as on the package of the individual condom.) And that’s in regards to manufacturing not when you open a box of condoms and start using them. Durex reports that its condoms normally have a shelf life of 5 years. But, it reports that some products have expiry dates of three to four years. If the condoms have spermicide, their expiry date will be about one to two years, according to Intelligent Mother. What’s more, there are some exceptions to the rules.

Exceptions? What do you mean?

As you’ve probably discovered with food, expiration dates are guidelines. There are factors that can impact the life of a product so it can expire sooner or later. With condoms, storage can change how long a condom lasts. Condoms should be kept in cool, dark environments. So, if you’re keeping them somewhere hot, like say a sunny shelf in your bathroom or in your car, they likely won’t last as long as the expiration date says because heat will cause them to break down. Of course, it’s not like you can *test* a condom out to see if it’s okay, but there are things to lookout for.

How can I tell if a condom is expired?

You’re going to have to use your judgment and be aware if there any rips or holes or if it breaks when you’re opening up the package. KidsHealth.org reports that if a condom feels dry, stiff, or not very flexible when you take it out of the package, it’s time to get a new one. Same goes if it feels weirdly sticky.

Anything else?

Women’s Health Mag reports that using any condom (even if it’s expired) is still better than using nothing. But, as I’ve previously mentioned, using an expired one doesn’t offer as much protection against STDs and pregnancy. So, it’s in your best interests to wait until you have a new package before hooking up. Because, really, how long does it take to pop to the store to buy condoms?

Do you check the expiry date on condoms before using them? Let us know in the comments!

 

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