Image: iStock/LisaGalimzianova Image: iStock/LisaGalimzianova

It's a common scene in almost every sitcom or drama about young people: a couple is about to get down to some nitty gritty, so one of them (usually the man) pulls out a trusty condom from his pocket or wallet and uses it.

However, while it might sound like a good idea to make like the Boy Scouts and always be prepared, it turns out that this actually isn't such a great plan after all.

Experts from the Family Planning Association (FPA) told the Metro that pockets and wallets make bad storage locations for condoms because they tend to get hot from body temperature and can be damaged by friction.

Both of these factors can cause the latex in the protective devices to break down and split, plus they can even get small holes in them if they happen to be next to sharp items like keys.

Clinical lead Karin O'Sullivan explained that the best way to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies is to keep condoms in a cool, dark place like a bedside table.

If you think you're going to get lucky and won't be in the vicinity of your bedside table, she suggested putting sheaths in an old tin or small silk bag - although this might surprise your partner and get you a reputation as something of a dandy.

"A separate compartment in your wallet could also work but take care not to leave them there for ages - past the expiry date," Ms O'Sullivan said.

It should be all right to pop a condom in your pocket or handbag if you think there's a good chance of it being used within a few hours and not subjected to damage, but just don't expect very old ones to still be effective.

As ever, it's better to be safe than sorry and to throw away battered-looking johnnies rather than hedging your bets.

And if you feel as though this is throwing money down the drain given the price of them in your local supermarket or pharmacy, then check out the range of condoms here at mycondom.com. We have brands like Durex and Mates for as little as 20p, with free delivery over £5.