Why Condoms Break

To prevent condoms from breaking, keep them away from heat and light, don't carry them in a wallet, don't open them with anything sharp (like scissors or teeth), and avoid using oils or lotions on them. The material used to make condoms can weaken over time, so check the expiration date and don't use one that has expired.

There are several reasons why a condom would break:

  • Too old. Modern condom wrappers have a date after which the condom should not be used.
  • Improper storage. Heat damages latex condoms, so they should not be kept in a hot place, such as a car glove compartment or wallet.
  • Not enough lubrication. Additional lubrication is always needed for rectal sex. It may also be needed for vaginal sex. The lubricant should be water-soluble, such as KY jelly.
  • The wrong kind of lubricant. Lubricants that contain oil -- such as Vaseline, baby oils, and vegetable oils -- should not be used with latex condoms since they weaken the rubber.
  • Too small. Try a larger size.
  • Partner too tight. Use an extra strength condom and more lubricant.

A condom may come off during sex because:

  • Condom too large. Try a snug condom.
  • Loss of erection. Remove your penis, holding on to the rolled edge of the condom, as soon as you begin to lose your erection.

It's important to use condoms (rubbers, prophylactics) to help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). These diseases include the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, and syphilis. You can get them through having sex -- vaginal, anal, or oral.

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