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Can you use condoms in swimming pools, showers and hot tubs?

Sep 15, 1999

Is it safe to use condoms underwater, like in a swimming pool, a shower, or a hot tub?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. I am not aware of any studies looking at the effectiveness of condoms when sexual contact takes place in swimming pools, in the shower, or in hot tubs (Jacuzzi's etc.). Basically all I can say is that if you will be having sex in a swimming pool, in the shower, in a hot tub, in a lake, or a river, using a condom would certainly be safer than not using a condom at all. But exactly how safe this would be, is anyone's guess.

If you are having sex in a swimming pool, I do not know if chemicals used in pools (such as chlorine) would have any effect on condoms. Likewise, if you are having sex in a lake or a river, I do not know if anything in lake and river-water would affect the effectiveness of condoms.

If you are having sex in the shower (or while taking a bath), anything that is oil-based (which can include soaps and shampoos) may contain oil-based ingredients that may damage latex condoms. Therefore make sure that these products do not come in contact with latex condoms.

If you are having sex in a hot tub or a Jacuzzi, I do not know if chemicals commonly used in hot tubs and Jacuzzi's would have any effect on condoms. But since the water in hot tubs and Jacuzzi's can be quite hot, the heat of the water may theoretically damage the condom.

In summary, nobody can tell you the effectiveness of using condoms underwater, since condoms are not normally tested under these conditions. But we can say that using a condom underwater is better than using no condom at all.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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