5 Things You Never Knew About Condoms

Condoms: We know what they are, what they’re used for, where to get them—but that’s pretty much it. With a new brand (or even flavor) popping up every day, it can be hard to keep up. Nonetheless, it’s important that you stay educated when it comes to safe sex, and condoms are an important aspect of that —especially since they’re 98 percent effective. We’ve gathered five things regarding condoms that you definitely need to hear:

1. Condoms are not one-size-fits-all


It’s pretty common knowledge that condoms come in different sizes; however, knowing and always wearing the correct size is extremely important. For example, if your guy’s condom is too big or small, he might lose his erection, or worse: it could slide around or even slip off.

According to Melissa White, condom expert and CEO of Lucky Bloke, nearly 35 percent of men need to be wearing a smaller condom. Bringing this up to your guy might be awkward, but you definitely need to if a condom has ever felt loose come off inside of you, or you’ve found him complaining that it feels like he’s wearing a paper bag. For an alternative solution, White recommends trying Japanese condoms. “The beyond seven is a nice, thin condom that’s great for a man who might need a smaller size but doesn’t know it,” she says.

Related: 7 Myths About Safe Sex, Debunked

2. Non-latex condoms aren’t just for people with allergies


Those allergic to latex cannot use “regular” condoms and often turn to polyurethane, polyisoprene and nitrile condoms. The characteristics of the different materials vary; however, there are numerous advantages to non-latex condoms.

For one, White says that they naturally transmit body heat very well. Polyurethane condoms are also extremely strong and can be made thin as a result. Sarah*, a junior at Pitt State University, says she actually prefers non-latex condoms—particularly those made of polyurethane. “My boyfriend is allergic to latex, so we tried a Trojan Bareskin type, and I ended up loving it.”

3. Where you keep your condoms matters


Yes, where you keep your condoms can determine their effectiveness. Don’t worry, there are no outlandish rules regarding the specific handling, but it is important that you avoid leaving condoms in places where it’s either extremely hot or cold.

One place that is particularly dangerous as well as common is your car. Erica, a senior at the University of Central Florida, learned this the hard way. “One time, I threw condoms in the middle console of my car,” she says. “I had forgotten about them until my boyfriend and I needed one, but it actually ended up breaking. Thankfully, it did so before anything had started.”

4. Condom expiration dates are important


Just as the storage of condoms matter, so do the expiration dates. It can be easy to brush these off as they’re typically printed small and on the back, but don’t! Latex does degrade with time, so it’s likely their effectiveness could worsen. Irritation, increased risk for STDs and pregnancy are some of the risks posed while using an expired condom. The easy way to avoid this is to simply check the date on the packaging!

5. Lube is a condom’s best friend


Many collegiettes might think that lube is only necessary if they can’t get turned on, but that’s not the case at all! According to White, condoms can actually dry out women due to the latex. To avoid this dryness and any pain, try lube.

There are a variety of different types of brands, and if you’re not quite ready to go browsing the shelves of the local drug store, the Internet is a great resource. White’s company actually sells lube (and condom!) samplers that allow you to try different products, whether they’re pre-packaged or you build your own.   


At the end of the day, condoms are probably one of the last things that you think about. However, so long as you are sexually active, they’re an important part of your life. Stay educated (and safe!), collegiettes!