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Family Planning

So you want to carry protection but you don’t want the world to know about it – especially not your parents or a nosy sibling!

Keeping your condoms stashed out of sight is a good idea, as long as you do it properly: did you know that storing them incorrectly can cause them to deteriorate and possibly even break during sex? Always keep condoms in a cool, dry place – not too hot, not too cold – in their original wrapper, and away from sunlight. Remember that condoms have an expiration date too, so never use one that has expired. Old condoms can be dry or brittle, which can lead to tearing during sex.

Here are some smart ways to store your condoms away from prying eyes while keeping them in good condition:

Where to store your condoms: 5 best places

  • A small coin purse: great for keeping condoms handy on the go. Never keep them in your wallet, as frequent use of your wallet can wear condoms down, or it can tear their wrapping causing them to dry out and break during sex.
  • A toiletry bag
  • An unused cosmetic bag
  • In your tampon box/case (who would look in there!)
  • In a side pocket of your backpack. Just be sure to keep sharp objects like pens and pencils away from them, and don’t crush them under heavy books.
  • Inside a sock, in your sock drawer. This keeps them hidden and cool, and as a bonus, who’s going to go through your sock drawer – let alone your socks?!
  • A hollowed-out book. This is a great way to keep secret items concealed, including condoms. Make sure the inside is hollowed out and that you don’t merely squash the condom between the pages of a heavy book!
  • NEVER store condoms in the cubbyhole or boot of your car, where they can easily overheat and get damaged. Other no-nos include back pockets (where they’ll constantly be sat on and worn down), your wallet, and/or any other place where they can be damaged by corrosion or temperature (either too hot or too cold).

It’s not just about where to store your condoms – it’s also about using them correctly

  • When you get around to using your condoms, always practice the ‘first in, last out’ rule. That means that you should use the ones you purchased first, or the ones that are the oldest, as long as they haven’t expired.
  • If you’re using lube, make sure it’s water-based and that you use plenty of it. Oil-based lubricant can damage latex condoms, but water-based will minimise friction and reduce the chances of a latex condom breaking.
  • Always carry condoms, even if you think it’s your ‘partner’s job’. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, if you’re having sex, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself.
  • Use dual protection every time you have sex to help prevent the spread of infection. Just because you’re using birth control (or your partner is), doesn’t mean you’re in the clear: most contraception methods only protect against unplanned pregnancy, but only condoms can protect against STIs and HIV.

Get your contraceptives and confidential advice at Marie Stopes

Pop into your nearest Marie Stopes centre for contraceptive options to suit your lifestyle, and you’ll be able to enjoy spontaneous sex, safely, whenever the urge takes you.

We also offer advice on the right contraceptives to use, and everything we talk about stays between us. Find out more about our contraceptive options or book an appointment online.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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