Protection Protection

I keep a condom in my wallet—just in case, you know? But I heard that the heat from my butt can cause the condom to melt, which obviously isn’t good. Is this true? Where else can I put my spare rubber?
—Just in Case

You’re right that it isn’t a good idea to store condoms in your wallet. A lot of people still do it because it’s really convenient and they’ll likely always have your wallet on them.

It’s not that the condoms will necessarily melt, but that over time the friction and heat from your body will break down the latex and make it more likely to tear.

It’s recommended that condoms be stored at a temperature no higher than 37 C and no colder than 0 C. It’s hard to tell exactly how hot your wallet can get, but given our wide range of weather temperatures, you can imagine that a condom would go through quite a lot hanging out in your wallet.

Aside from heat, you probably use your wallet a lot. You open and close it several times a day, overstuff it, and probably sit on it while it’s in your back pocket. Most people don’t really consider their wallets fragile, so they can take quite a beating, which means any condom inside is getting moved and rubbed around a lot.

Condoms are strong and durable, but depending on factors that are hard to measure, like your body heat and wallet friction, your “just in case” condom might be torn before it even comes out.

I don’t really have a genius alternative for you that will be as convenient as your wallet, but there are really easy ways to reduce the risks of condom breakage.

Day-to-day, keep your condoms in your wallet if you must, but switch them out about every two weeks when they go unused.

Some people will hit dry spells and have the same condom in their wallet for months or even years, which is really taking a chance if it finally gets used. If you tend to have a bag on you for school or whatever, your best bet is to pick up a condom case.

Cases, which tend to carry up to three condoms, are discreet, reduce friction and some of them are small enough to fit in your wallet. Just be sure not to get a metal one, since it will definitely heat up more.

If you’re going out, put a fresh condom in your wallet or case that night. If there’s going to be drinking involved you’ll be less likely to think about protection, so it’s better to have a condom on you ready to go.

The wear from a night or a few nights in your wallet isn’t likely to cause a significant amount of damage and it’s much better than not having one at all. While not ideal, it’s also good to remember that most bars have condom machines in their washrooms, if ever you’re really stuck or unsure about the condom you have.

There’s no strict formula to follow to ensure that a condom in your wallet is safe. Condoms are pretty cheap and available for free in many places, so I personally prefer to switch them out as often as possible and not take chances.

It may not be as convenient, but your best bet is really to keep a condom case elsewhere, like a bag, and consider these options when you have no other choice but your wallet.

Submit questions anonymously at and check out “Sex & Pancakes” on Facebook. Need some extra help? Contact Concordia Counselling & Development at 514-848-2424 ext. 3545 for SGW and ext. 3555 for Loyola. Got a quick health question? Call info-santé at 8-1-1 from any Montreal number.

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