Can condoms break?
One thing that can really give us stress during sex is discovering that the condom you used for protection ended up with a hole or has broken. Luckily this hardly ever happens. If used properly, on average latex condoms only break four times out of every 1000. Polyurethane condoms break four times out of 100.
Here are some most common factors that can cause condoms to break during sex:
Condom has expired
Condoms do come with an expiration date, which is mentioned on the box/wrapper. Using one that is past its prime is the single biggest factor that can cause it to break. Next time, read the label before wearing one.
It does not fit you
When it comes to condoms, especially the male ones, one size does not fit all. If you are using one that is too snug or ill-fitted, the chances of it breaking are higher. Before buying your next stash, take time to understand what’s the right size and fit for you.
Using wrong lube
Using oil-based lubes or lotions can cause inflammation in the vaginal/rectal tissues and weaken the latex of the condom, thus making it easy for the condom to break.
Not storing them properly
If you keep your condoms in the car glove box, wallet or anywhere with temperatures above 32 degrees C, you run the risk of ending up with a torn protection in the middle of having sex. Check out more about the storage and disposal of of condoms here.
More friction during sex
Excess friction can cause condoms to wear out and break. This happens mostly when both partners are using a condom. Friction can also be caused due to a lack of natural lubrication. In that case, use water or silicone-based lube for seamless penetration.
Condom was not worn properly
If you’re using a condom in the middle of sex, make sure you don’t prick it with your nails or teeth and slide it all the down/inside so that it holds. Alternatively, you can wear a condom right at the beginning. Not only does it allow you to wear one with ample time but also ensures extra safety during oral sex. Read more about correct usage of condoms here.
How do you come to know that a condom has broken?
If you and your partner are really attentive, you may be able to identify a change in sensation in case a condom breaks. However, in most cases, it is hard to identify the exact moment when the condom breaks. Even if you do feel that change in sensation, it may well be a while after the accident.
What to do when my condom breaks?
Your next steps actually will depend on at what stage of sex the condom broke, and how soon you caught it. First and foremost, do not panic. It is important to keep calm to be able to think clearly. Here’s what you can do:
- Stop having sex as soon as you realise that the condom has broken.
- You and your partner can wash your genital/rectal area with soap and water. However, do not scrub or use a harsh disinfectant, as this can lead to inflammation and rashes.
- If you suspect that your partner’s semen may have entered your vagina (for heterosexual couples), and are not using any other form of contraception, an emergency contraceptive may do the trick. Emergency contraception - the 'morning after pill' - can prevent pregnancy up to five days after having sex. The sooner you take it, the better it will work. However, women with underlying medical conditions such as PCOD/PCOS, endometriosis should check with their ob/gyn before taking one.
- If you’re unclear about your partner’s sexual history and the likelihood of HIV or other STIs, visit a doctor or emergency room as soon as you can. The doctor may start you on a 28-day antiretroviral medication course to cut back the risk of HIV, even if both you and your partner test negative for it.
I can't get condom out of my vagina?
Try not to panic. You can usually reach it with your finger in your vagina. If not, contact your nearest health care provider for an appointment. Because sperm might have leaked out of the condom you should think about using emergency contraception - the 'morning after pill'.