9 Legit Mind-Blowing Facts You Probably Never Knew About Condoms

by Jamie Kravitz

Whether or not you're sexually active, you've likely learned the basics of condom use. Depending on the amount of education you received and how much experience you have, you may think you've already learned everything there is to know about condoms — how to put one on, what they're made out of, the fact that using two actually causes more friction and makes the condoms more likely to break, and so on. But for an object that has been in use for thousands of years, there are bound to be at least a few condom facts you didn't know.

Rubber, raincoat, jimmy, bag, hat... whatever you prefer to call it, the condom has a long history. The actual concept hasn't changed much over time, but manufacturers have managed to make them both more effective and more easily mass produced. Unfortunately, in many countries, condoms aren't as accesible as they are in the United States. This is a big problem when it comes to preventing HIV, especially in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where the infection is especially prevalent. If you think that's interesting, get ready for facts that are even more eye-opening. The following nine pieces of knowledge about condoms are pretty wild.

Condoms Have Been Around Since 3000 B.C.

The earliest known illustration of a man using a condom is a cave-wall painting in France that is said to be between 12,000 and 15,000 years old. The caves in question are known as Grotte des Combarelles. As for the first known documentation of the condom, that was back in the Bronze Age. Interestingly, it was actually a female rather than a male condom.

Around 3000 B.C., the historical figure King Minos of Crete, who you may remember from Homer's Iliad, ruled Knossos. The father of the Minotaur, Minos allegedly had "serpents and scorpions" in his semen. After he had sex with his mistresses, they died. So, according to the story, he put the bladder of a goat into his wife Pasiphae's vagina to protect her from disease.

450 Million Condoms Are Sold In The United States Each Year

According to statistics published in 2016 on, 450,000,000 condoms are sold in the United States every year. The average cost of a single condom is $0.45, but the numbers add up. Americans spend a total of $202 million on condoms each year. Looking at it on a smaller scale, if one couple uses condoms only twice a week, they still average around $150 in spending a year on condoms alone.

Trojan Is The Most Popular Condom Brand (By Far)

Trojan condoms, including Ultra Ribbed, Magnum XL, and Warm Sensations, make up more than 70 percent of drugstore condom sales. This is four times more than Durex, which is the next most popular brand of condoms. Trojan's advertising efforts are clearly effective, but they don't come cheap. In the first quarter of 2014 alone, Church & Dwight, the company that manufactures Trojan condoms, spent $10.2 million advertising the brand. At least its millions were put to good use.

Athletes Received 110,000 Condoms At The 2018 Winter Olympics

This year in PyeongChang, more free condoms were given out than at any other previous Winter Olympics. In total, 110,000 condoms were distributed — that's more than 37 condoms per athlete. Condoms were available at the Olympic Village, stadiums, and the press center. While the numbers are record breaking, this isn't new — condoms have been distributed at the Olympic Games for decades. They were first given out for free at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV.

87 Condoms Are Used Every Second On Valentine’s Day

Sixty-eight percent of Millennials say that Valentine's Day is the one day of the year when they have the most sex, according to the 2017 Millennial Sex Survey by SKYN Condoms. The survey polled more than 3,000 sexually active men and women between the ages of 18 and 34.

Not-so-coincidentally, Feb. 14 is also National Condom Day in the United States. This makes sense, especially considering the 2012 statistic from LifeStyles Condoms that found, on average, 87 condoms are used every second during Valentine's Day. If you do the math, that means around 7,516,800 condoms are used on Valentine's Day alone.

Only 39 Percent Of High School Students Are Taught How To Put On A Condom In Health Class

Only 39 percent of high school students learn how to use a condom in health class. This number is low, but unfortunately it's also not surprising. Even in 2018, adequate sex ed is severely lacking in the United States. Not only do a large number of states require schools to "stress abstinence," but many states don't mandate lessons about contraception at all.

Condoms Deteriorate Over Time, So Pay Attention To The Expiration Date

You may have noticed the expiration date on your condoms, but it's probably not at the forefront of your mind when you're hooking up. Maybe you also know that keeping a condom in your pocket or wallet isn't the best idea. This is because unused condoms lose integrity over time. Extreme temperatures (hot and cold) and excess rubbing or bending can cause condoms to deteriorate faster. It's recommended to store condoms in a cool, dry place where they aren't at risk of getting bent.

So, if you grab a condom from the free bowl at your campus health center or borrow one from your roommate's bedside drawer, pay attention to the expiration date. Obviously, using an expired condom is not a great idea.

Factories Send Electric Currents Through Condoms To Test For Holes

When condoms are being produced, it's important to check for durability and performance. To avoid using humans or animals, an electrical conductance test is used on all condoms before they are sold. The condom is subjected to an electrical current — the goal is for the condom to block the flow of electricity. If a condom is intact (meaning it has no rips or tears), it will be able to completely insulate electricity. This shows that it is durable enough to survive the heat of the moment.

The Average Condom Can Hold A Gallon Of Liquid

People have done experiments on this, because of course they have. The results show that if you fill a fully stretched out condom with water, it will hold a gallon of liquid without leaking. Obviously these experiments are conducted without anything else (like a penis) in the condom, but it's still impressive.

Armed with this newfound knowledge of condom history, sales statistics, and durability, you can go out into the world a more informed (and safe) person.