Confirming What You Already Know: Do *Not* Wash and Reuse Condoms

Photo: Stocksy/Mauro Grigollo
You can give new life to a number of go-to products, like your candle vessels and eco-friendly straws, but when it comes to condoms, "reduce, reuse, recycle" is decidedly not the name of the game. And though the notion of washing a condom after having sex only to save it for future use might sound icky and ill-advised, according to research, between 1.4 and 3.3 percent of people have admitted to doing it. And the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) is urging people to stop ASAP.

When used correctly—for starters, by opening a new one for each sexual encounter—you can reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy, and diseases like Zika and Ebola, the CDC reports. And according to Forbes, reusing or washing a condom can put you and your partner at risk. This isn't just because the product is only designed to be worn once and won't be nearly as effective at doing its job a second time, but also, washing the tool won't kill the potentially harmful microorganisms that could be on it after sex, thus defeating the purpose of using it in the first place.

Washing a condom won't kill the potentially harmful microorganisms that could be on it after sex, so reusing it puts you and your partner at risk.

Folks certainly have their own personal reasons for reusing condoms, and it's not always out of laziness. Some are embarrassed to buy more, don't have access, or simply can't afford them. But, don't attempt to MacGyver your way to Pleasure Town at the expense of your health. Planned Parenthood offers free condoms at its locations, and the safe-sex tool is available for free at other community health centers and doctor's offices in addition to being sold at drugstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, vending machines, or (for the most discreet method) online.

Bottom line: It's easy to not prove Coach Carr from Mean Girls right—because by practicing safe sex, you're unlikely to get pregnant and almost certainly not going to die. Plus, taking baseline precautions, like correct condom use, won't preclude you from having the best sex ever.

Here's everything you should know about "smart" condoms. Or, find out if using the wrong lube could cause your condom to break

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