Proper condom storage

Those who understand the importance of wearing protection as a form of STD prevention will likely have condoms on hand at all times. Whether you're at home in your own bed with a special someone or planning on getting lucky with someone you meet at a party, it's always good to be prepared – provided you take good care of your condoms.

The most important part of proper condom care is making sure that they are not out of date. All condoms have expiration dates on them, and if that deadline has passed, it is not safe to use the condom for pregnancy prevention or to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Throw the condom away and buy some new ones.

According to the manufacturers of LifeStyles® condoms, cool, dry spaces are the best places to store your rubbers. The best bet is a space that is at or below room temperature, but condoms should absolutely not be stored anywhere warmer than 100 degrees or cooler than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Condoms should also be kept out of direct sunlight.

The company also urges sexually active adults to use the "first in, first out" rule. That means it's best to use your oldest condoms first, as long as they haven't expired, simply because they are closer to being out of date.

Keeping condoms in your wallet is not a good idea, according to the National Institutes of Health. Friction from opening and closing your wallet can cause them to deteriorate in quality. Instead, keep them in a safe container in a bag or purse.

When it comes down to it, always use common sense. If a condom looks brittle, discolored or like it might rip, throw it away. Fortunately, condoms are typically inexpensive, so it's always better to err on the side of safety.

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