Not to state the obvious, but sperm is, by design, a force of nature made to be resilient and persistent. But, when it comes to the sperm's longevity in a condom, some external factors are at play that can affect its life span.

The good news if you’re avoiding pregnancy is that ejaculation can survive for only a few hours once ejaculated into a condom. So if you use condoms correctly and consistently every time you have sex, it's likely that the sperm won't be able to survive long enough to fertilise an egg.

However, suppose accidents happen because you haven't used your condom correctly. In that case, sperm can remain viable in a woman's genital tract for 3–5 days, so if you're trying to avoid pregnancy, you must pay attention to what you're doing during application and removal of your condom.

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Does Lubricant in a Condom Kill Sperm?

Standard lubricant doesn't contain anything that kills or inhibits sperm; only spermicidal lubricant containing nonoxynol-9 affects sperm's ability to swim. It works on impeding the mobility of sperm — it doesn't actually kill the sperm.

All nonoxynol-9 spermicide does is work on stopping the sperm from reaching its destination.

Can I Get Pregnant From Sperm in a Condom?

The chances are you’re using a condom to avoid pregnancy (and STDs), so you must be careful when using them, as sperm can still survive inside the condom for several hours. If there is ejaculate left inside the condom after sex, you must be careful to remove and dispose of it properly. Read more here — Can You Flush Condoms Down The Toilet?

Can I Get Pregnant if the Condom Splits During Sex?

Contrary to popular belief, condoms don't split easily — they can tear, but usually only if you're using an expired condom or have punctured it with your nail or teeth when removing it from the foil wrapper.

However, if the condom, for whatever reason the condom splits during intercourse, sperm can still be released into the vagina, and there is a risk of pregnancy. If this happens, you should take emergency contraception within 24 hours (1 day) of sexual activity to reduce the chances of becoming pregnant.

How Can I Have the Safest Sex Possible Using a Condom?

To have the safest sex possible, you can do some things to lessen your chances of becoming pregnant by using a condom as a birth control method correctly:

  1. Make sure you use the correct size condom.
  2. Check the condom has not expired or has been damaged in any way.
  3. Put on the condom before any genital contact to avoid pre-ejaculate entering the vagina.
  4. Use water or silicone-based lubricants, as oil-based ones can damage condoms and make condoms more likely to tear during intercourse.
  5. Remove the condom after ejaculation, wrap it in a piece of kitchen roll, some toilet paper or a tissue, then put it in the waste bin (wash your hands after disposing of the condom).
  6. Don't leave it hanging around so it can unintentionally contact your body.

If used properly, condoms are a very effective form of contraception that offers protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To make sure that your sex is safe, always use condoms correctly and consistently.

Don't Be Scared of Semen

Reading this blog and the advice we give might feel like contraception in itself. There's no need to fear semen; it's not as robust as we have made it sound. Sperm needs an ideal environment like the vagina to survive; it depends on the right atmosphere to remain living.

While sperm can survive a few hours in a condom and won't leave untouched dry out for several hours, it can only survive for a few minutes if it hits your skin (as long as it's not near your intimate skin) and its life span becomes considerably shorter on fabric.

In summary, depending on the environment, sperm can remain viable for a few hours, and it's best to use condoms correctly and consistently every time you have sex. If you're concerned about pregnancy, take emergency contraception as soon as it is practically possible if there is a risk of semen entering your body during intercourse.

Don't be scared of semen; use the condom as it was intended, and if you really can't risk an unwanted pregnancy, it might be worth considering other sorts of contraception used in conjunction with condoms.