Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

How Can Condoms Break?

My friend was using a condom and said it tore. How is that possible?
Shawn*

Condoms can sometimes rip or tear, but using and storing them properly can help reduce this risk.

Heat, sun, oils, and chemicals all can weaken condoms, making them more susceptible to breakage. Keep condoms away from heat and light, which can dry them out. And, don't use oils or lotions with a condom, only water-based lubricants. Carrying a condom in your wallet, where it may be folded or sat on, can also wear down the material and cause the condom to break. Also, don't open a condom with anything sharp, like scissors or teeth.

Check the expiration date on the condom. The material used to make condoms can weaken over time, so don't use one that has expired.

Condoms may rip during use if they don't fit properly or if they are not put on correctly (such as not leaving enough room at the tip of the condom). They also can tear if there is too much friction and not enough lubrication, or if the condom comes into contact with a person's nails, rings, piercings, teeth, or other sharp edges.

Condoms are the only type of birth control that can help prevent both pregnancy and STDs. So it's important to use and store them properly. A new condom should be used with each act of sex, and should be used from beginning to end.

If a condom breaks and you or your partner is concerned about pregnancy, call your health care provider or pharmacist to discuss emergency contraception. You can get emergency contraception without a prescription or your parents’ consent. If your doctor writes a prescription, it may be less expensive.  And both partners should be tested for STDs. People are often not aware that they have an infection but if an infection isn't treated, it could cause serious problems.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Lonna P. Gordon, MD
Date Reviewed: 02-12-2020

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.