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Being Safe? Oh It’s Worth It

Hi Shay. Me and my girlfriend want to have sex soon but I realised getting a condom would be a bit of a challenge. How do most people my age, 18, get them? I dont really want to go into the supermarket and buy a pack like that, its a bit embarassing. Thanks

I’m sorry, there aren’t guaranteed super covert ways of getting condoms, but that’s certainly NOT a good reason to get lazy about using proper protection.
When I was 18 I know I felt embarrassed about buying condoms at the grocery store, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
I used to try to go later at night, when I knew the store would be less busy and I’d try to pick a young, sympathetic looking cashier with no bag boy.
Though now, depending on where you live, you might even be able to do self-checkout and skip the whole “worrying-about-strangers-judging-you-for-two-seconds-until-the-next-customer-comes” thing.

Another option could be asking a braver friend to pick up a pack for you or order some online (if you’ve got a credit card).

You can also usually get free condoms from health centres, a lot (especially on university campuses) just have a big bowl that you can grab from and stuff your pockets when no one is looking.

Oh! Or you could look for condoms in vending machines; you see them sometimes in the bathrooms at bars, malls, I’ve also seen them on university campuses.

It’s so important to practice safe sex; and it’s definitely worth a moment or two of embarrassment if it saves you catching something icky or ending up with an unwanted pregnancy (think how much MORE embarrassing THAT would be).

Stay safe out there kids!
P.S. I just realised that it seems relevant for me to mention that I actually worked as a cashier one summer a number of years ago.  I can verify that cashiers don’t really care what you’ve brought to their till, so long as it has its bar-code and isn’t dripping.  Even when I did notice someone buying boxes of condoms and lube, it’s not like I said anything or even would have remembered who they were if I saw them on the street some other time.  So there’s really no need to be a chicken about buying condoms.

12 comments to Being Safe? Oh It’s Worth It

  • Sam

    I reckon, just suck it up and do it. First couple of time you feel embarrassed, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, especially when you realise, the checkout people probably run quite a number of packets through per day (and either don’t care, or don’t notice).

    My first time buying them was quite embarrassing as I had to ask where they were with only cute female staff around. The bit that made me relax a bit was after I’d bought them, the lady saying “Have a nice night” with a bit of a smile!

  • Dan

    You can also go through the self-checkout aisle if there’s one at your store, where even fewer people will be paying attention to what you are or aren’t buying :)

  • It’s only weird for the first few times! Why be embarrassed about doing the right, sensible, healthy thing?

    If you really don’t want to get them in a shop then order online, they’re always cheaper that way anyway. Far, far cheaper generally!

  • Hello!

    I agree with the first few posters. It may feel sort of awkward the first couple times you go to buy them but after a while it’ll just become natural. Something to keep in mind though I’d say is that remember by no means are you the only one buying condoms. Cashiers at stores see people buy condoms and all that sort of thing all the time, and in all honesty don’t care. And even if they do care, they’re never going to say anything about it.

    Having someone else buy them for you is an OK idea if you really can’t get yourself too, but in all honesty I’d say that the best thing to do is go buy them yourself.

    Also, its worth it to buy in bulk. Don’t be afraid to get the 12 pack instead of the 3 pack. Best way to look at it in my opinion, is thats just 4 less times you have to go to the store to buy them, even if that 1 time you may feel awkward buying a big box.

  • Tracy

    You can also buy them from vending machines. Most public toilets have them.

    12 is already bulk? I think you can buy them in packs a hundred. I’m not sure that worth it though because you might not need that many in your whole life.

  • CBM

    Getting the larger pack helps especially if you get the combo packs because then you get the fun of experimenting. Cashiers generally don’t care and for the ones who give you a dirty look; look them in the eye and tell them at least you’re using protection. It leaves them in awe that you’re willing to defend yourself and you wont get trouble at that store for a while so its easier to go back.

  • Shay

    Sam – I agree! Just suck it up and do it, you can’t avoid all the things in life that you think might be a wee bit embarrassing at the time – you’ll miss out on a lot of fun if you do. Also – see my addition to the bottom of the post – yeah, I would say that the majority of cashiers don’t care that you’re buying condoms – and who cares if they do.

    A lot of people have an embarrassing buying condoms story (I do too), but it’s not the sort of thing that scars you for life (unless you let it) – it actually makes a funny story for times like these! ^_^

    Dan – I hope your comment means that you’re agreeing with what I said in my post, not that you didn’t read it. ^_~

    Jake – Exactly! Though buying online only works if you’ve got a credit card, and not all young people do.

    Nick – Yup, definitely buy more than a couple at a time. It’s always good to have extras handy too, in case you break one or something.

    Tracy – you and Dan both made me have to go back and double check my post to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. I’m assuming your comment also means that you’re agreeing with me and not that you didn’t read my whole post (it was short, there’s no excuse!).
    I wouldn’t recommend someone in a monogamous relationship buy more than maybe 20 condoms max at a time – they only last so long and you don’t want to accidentally use one after it’s expired and have it break.

    CBM – getting a combo pack is a great idea! Esp if you’re new to the world of condoms, it’ll help you discover which ones you might like best.

  • Steve

    I can only reiterate that it becomes a complete non-event pretty quick. I understand perfectly how embarassing it is when you go to the store to buy condoms for the first time, but you realise soon enough that no-one really has a problem with condoms! It’s not like you’re buying a blow up doll or anything, people don’t tend to judge you if you’re getting action (if anything they tend to applaud you :P)

    So yeah, go down to the supermarket, pick up a box and give the cashier a knowing wink as you head off to your waiting girlfriend :)

  • C

    Buying the condoms is part of the deal for having sex..if you can’t manage it then you really aren’t mature enough for sex.

    However, being embarrassed is no biggie! Everyone is at first, especially when they’re young. I always hate when my boyfriend and I get looks when we buy condoms because we are teenagers.

    If you can, buy them online..but make sure you get a combo pack at first. Some condoms just don’t work so well for some people. Combo packs that have sample lube in them are great! You’ll be able to get a feel for what you like.
    To buy online without a credit card is a little tricky, but possible. Depending on where you live, some malls (particularly Simon malls in the US) sell VISA gift cards. Go put some money on one of those buggers and it works just like a credit card online :)

  • Maikeru

    I’ve actually done what Dan suggests, but more sheepishly as I’d purchase some cheap larger item (usually wafer cookies or a sack of candies) to cover over the box of condoms on my way there and to cover them in the all-too-thin bags. Although be warned that some self-check stands have a store employee in the middle of the stands there, but only for verification of non-barcoded items like bags of produce—though they’re usually present only at grocery stores and not at places like the drug store/chemist/what ever they call the place in one’s native country.

    Personally I kind of stopped feeling sheepish after I realized that it confused people in a car-centric place. They kind of looked at me as if they were wondering why the guy with the normal clothing, carrying the bicycle helmet and glasses, is buying condoms since he obviously wasn’t picking up people with an amazing car. Anyway, to reiterate Shay’s point one shouldn’t feel ashamed of purchasing such things.

  • The self-check-out is nice, but in my local grocery stores it’s balanced by the condoms being kept in a locked display case in the store pharmacy. I would love for someone to explain to me why that is.

    Anyway, I’ll agree with everyone else. It is potentially embarrassing, but do it anyway. If you’re that worried about it, go to a different neighborhood to shop for condoms. Really, the only person who cares is your mom.

  • Shay

    I’ve been told it’s because condoms are one of the most frequently shop-lifted items (partly probably because people are too chicken to buy them)

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