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Someone asked us: What should I do if a condom breaks? And what does a broken condom look like?

Condom accidents can look like a few different things. You may see a rip or tear in the condom after pulling out, or when you take it off your penis. You might not always see a big rip, but if you notice semen (cum) leaking out, the condom is probably broken. Sometimes the condom totally breaks and bunches up around the base of your penis, like a ring. And a condom can also come off inside the vagina during or after sex — if there’s no condom on your penis when you pull out, it’s the same as if the condom broke. To help avoid this, always pull out of the vagina while your penis is still hard, and hold onto the base of the condom when you pull out.

It can be stressful if your condom breaks or slips off, but luckily there’s still something you can do to prevent pregnancy: Emergency contraception (like the morning-after pill) can help prevent pregnancy AFTER unprotected sex or a condom mistake. But it’s important to act fast — you only have 5 days after unprotected sex for emergency contraception to work, and some kinds of emergency contraception work better the sooner you take them. Learn more about emergency contraception.

It’s also a good idea for you and your partner to get tested for STDs a few weeks after the condom broke. When a condom breaks, you can come into contact with sexual fluids that can spread STDs. And most of the time, STDs don’t show any symptoms. So testing is the only way to know for sure whether you have one. If you have sex, it’s a good idea to get tested regularly for STDs anyway — and after a condom breaks is a really good time for your next test.

Most of the time, condoms don’t break, and they work well to prevent pregnancy and STDs.  And using condoms the right way can help keep them from breaking. But accidents happen and it’s a good idea to have a plan ready in case you make a condom mistake. Your local Planned Parenthood health center can help you get both emergency contraception and STD testing, and answer any questions you might have. 

Tags: safer sex, emergency contraception, condom, broken condom