October 14, 2010

Buying condoms is awkward enough without a line of people behind you staring while you make your purchase. Buying condoms with a coupon is pushing the line between fiscally responsible and just plain odd. That’s right, located between the coupons for Ramen noodles and toothpaste was a coupon for $1 off any Durex product.

Honestly though, why should you be embarrassed about protecting yourself from any number of STDs and pregnancy? I did an experiment at three different stores this weekend with condoms being the main objective. I purchased contraceptives and watched the facial expressions of those around me.

The expressions were not very nice despite being in a college town. (Sex, or the idea of sex, is kind of a given when you enter college). I even heard one person tell his friend, “guess we know what she’s doing tonight.” The male cashier just openly grinned at me.

It’s understandable why some would be embarrassed to buy condoms, but as a woman, it can be even worse because of the common misconception that men are supposed to carry condoms, not women.

People also have a double standard for men and women when it comes to sex. Men, who have a lot of sex, whether with one partner or multiple partners, are players. While women involved in a plethora of sexual activities are automatically labeled as easy or sluts. Is this simply a Bible-belt-Southern-thing or a nationwide train of thought? In such an age of enlightenment, a woman should not be ashamed to buy condoms, regardless of what the public may think of her. After all, protecting onesself from diseases and pregnancy is a respectable and a responsible thing to do.

Trojan even makes fun ones for her pleasure and condoms with special packing for on the go. The packaging is meant to withstand being carried in a pocket, wallet or purse. There is even a “Trojan 2Go: Her Pleasure condom.” Durex’s “Love-Box,” their slightly bulkier version of Trojan’s “Trojan 2Go,” is a small tin box is designed with pretty prints and shaped like an over-sized pill box just for girls.

Every time the TV is turned on, there is at least one commercial for condoms. I especially like Trojan’s “Evolve one/Evolve All” campaign. Durex’s commercial with the balloon animals made from condoms made me sit back and say, “Oh my Lord, what is that?”

Even 10 years ago, it would have been seen as obscene to have a condom commercial during a time slot when minors would be watching television or to have a condom coupon in a newspaper. If these are now seen as acceptable, why should it not be acceptable for a girl, or anyone for that matter, to purchase a condom?

In the United Kingdom, the government is getting involved in encouraging women to carry condoms. The government-backed campaign, launched by health secretary Dawn Primarolo, is titled “Condom Confidence Boosts Women’s Sex Appeal.” It encourages young women to carry a condom with them because “new research…reveals that women who take control in the bedroom by demanding safe sex are more attractive to English men.”

With this push for women to carry condoms, and Trojan and Durex creating condom packaging that can withstand being carried almost anywhere, several designers are contributing to a new line of condoms, specifically targeting women, called Proper Attire.

According to the website, www.properattirecondoms.com, “Proper Attire condoms were created especially for the fashion-conscious woman who values style and top-notch quality. Unlike any other condom brand, every element of Proper Attire condoms has been inspired by the world of fashion, from the Proper Attire brand name and the chic packaging created by fashion designers, to the fig leaf logo showcasing clothing in its most primitive form.”

All the proceeds of the line of designer packaged condoms benefit Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Designers include Alexander Wang, Brian Reyes, Charlotte Ronson, Jeremy Scott, Keith Haring, Opening Ceremony and Yigal Azrouël. The motto of the new line is “Proper Attire condoms are a safe yet fun way to protect yourself and your partner and do it with style!”

Don’t be embarrassed to be willing to protect yourself and your partner.


Kathleen Duncan is a senior journalism major from Bastrop who serves as senior news editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to mkd009@latech.edu.