Anonymous on August 15, 2011

Do condoms still work in the shower? What about under water?

Is it safe to have sex in the shower using a condom? Could the heat from the water damage the condom, or are there any other problems?

answered by Linda Lesondak, PhD on August 15, 2011

Great question.

Wearing a condom if  you have sex in the shower is a good idea to help prevent STDs and unintended pregnancy. That said, there are a couple special precautions you can take to make the experience safer.

First, using plenty of water-based lubricant can help keep the condom from breaking. In the shower it’s easier for lubricant to wash away so have more on hand to use if needed. Second, some shampoos or bath oils contain ingredients that could degrade the condom and make it easier to break. Avoid using extra soaps or oils if you have sex in the shower.

Why? In astudy conducted by the Mariposa Foundation, the effectiveness of latex condoms is reduced by 90% within a minute of exposure to oil-based lubricants.

What about wearing a latex condom in hot tubs, jacuzzis or other hot bodies of water that contain chemicals? So far, condom companies and other researchers haven’t fully tested what happens to latex condoms under water, in hot tubs or in other situations. That’s why it may be risky to use a condom underwater. There may also be other risks to consider...for example it may be more likely that the condom could come off. If you’re thinking of having sex in a hot tub with a condom, you may want to take a second to move out of the water and onto dry land.

Still, in dry conditions, latex condoms are reported to be the most effective method of protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) besides not having sex as shown by astudy published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

For more information about preventing STDs, you might be interested to read through our Expert Guide to STD Basics.

Thanks again for writing to us. I hope this information is helpful to you.

Related info:

Linda Lesondak, PhD

Dr. Lesondak is a Community Psychologist with the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her areas of expertise include STDs, HIV, preventive care, public health and community planning, as well as human sexuality and women’s health. Dr. Lesondak was educated at Georgia University in Atlanta.

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