A quick PSA

Video Transcript

Latex condoms are one of the most widely used methods of contraception, and definitely the most widely available. They’re awesome at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, and you may have heard that they’re 98% effective if used correctly. But what a lot of people don’t know is that correct use is about more than just when and how you put a condom on, and that there are a whole mess of things that can break down or otherwise reduce the effectiveness of latex condoms. Here are 5 of the most common.

Oil-Based Lubricants

This includes your lotions, your baby oil, your cooking oils, your Vaseline, and actual oil based sex lubricants. Oils can eat through a latex condom in a little as 60 seconds, so put down the Crisco and get yourself a good water-based lube.

Lip Balm or Lipstick

You know those oils we were just talking about? They’re also some of the main ingredients in just about all lip products out there. So make sure to wipe off the gloss, balm, or lipstick before your mouth comes in contact with a condom or dental dam.


Wallets and cars can seem like great places to store condoms — they’re always on hand when you need them, right? But two things your back pocket and glove compartment have in common is that they can both get pretty hot, and heat can warp and break down latex. Condoms need to be stored in a cool, dry place. A good rule of thumb is that anywhere you’d expect a chocolate bar to get melty, like next to a window or in the bottom of your bag, is not a good place to store a condom for an extended period of time. That said, don’t toss them in the fridge either, as excessively cold temperatures can also cause them to become brittle and more likely to break during use. Keep them around room temperature, and you’ll be good to go.


No matter what you do, all latex condoms will degrade over time, so it’s important check the expiration date printed on your condom wrapper. An expired condom will be weaker, less flexible, and easier to break. While an expired condom is better than no condom at all, holding off on sex until you can get your hands on a new one is always the best idea.


Anything rubbing up against the condom too much, either while it’s still in the wrapper or while it’s in use, can wear through the material. This is another reason not to store condoms in your wallet and to make sure you’re using enough lube during sex. It’ll minimize the drag of the latex and help everything glide more smoothly.

So those are some of the main culprits when it comes to condoms breaking down. If you’ve got any questions or other examples, leave a comment down below. Take care of your condoms, and they’ll take care of you.

Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time!