The Sexist

Could Condom Shame Be Good For Pharmacies?

Pharmacies that keep their condoms in locked cases cite shoplifting as the main rationale for the safe-sex lock-up. When shoppers are ashamed to buy sex-related items, the theory goes, they're more likely to steal them—instead of sheepishly carrying them to the counter. But condom shame could hold a hidden benefit for pharmacies as well: When customers do buy condoms, they're more likely to impulse-buy other items, as well.

Online pharmacy has conducted a survey about pharmacy shopping habits which is probably mostly bullshit. But the dubious reporting here may hold some truths about pharmacy hang-ups:

* "One out of 10 men said . . . they have had unprotected sex because they were too embarrassed to buy condoms from a pharmacy."

* "A quarter has simply walked out of a pharmacy because they were too embarrassed to ask for a particular health product."

* "Thrush creams, tampons and pregnancy tests also made people feel conspicuous. In an attempt to hide their embarrassment over their purchases, well over a third had even bought something they didn't need as a 'cover-up'."

If the last statement is true, pharmacies may not be too eager to reduce the stigma of condom purchasing in their stores. If purchases of condoms, tampons, and lube are accompanied by a lucrative cover, why tone-down your employees' sex-product gawking?

Personally, I've never been so embarrassed to buy a health product that I've walked out of the store. But I have definitely picked up a cover item or two to balance out my sex-related purchase. I usually go for the gummy bears—cheap, tasty, close to the counter. I can't really explain why I find that necessary. Am I afraid the cashier will know that I'm on my period? That I plan to have sex soon? That I plan to have reduced-friction sex soon? Why, instead, would I prefer that the cashier know I'm bleeding out of my vagina, want to have sex, and require a snack?

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Andrew Pearlman

    Darrow, Online condom stores like are a great way to gawk in the privacy of your own home. We've actually pulled the condom out of the box and inflated it for you too. There's no embarrassment and there are no gummy bears necessarry

  • kza

    Just make the male buy the condoms and tell him to get Magnums to aviod embarassment

  • Nbd

    I once bought condoms, lubricant, and laundry detergent (not as a cover-up). The cashier asked me what I planned to do that weekend, then saw what he was scanning. "Uh, sorry Ma'am." It was hilarious.

    Incidentally, while browsing for those items I witnessed bullet point 2 first-hand (might have been the accidental cause). A gentleman was browsing and I came up next to him to find my purchase. After a few minutes, he mumbled something under his breath and stormed away. Do anti-sex activists haunt people in the sex-stuff isle? It would probably work.

  • jaz

    "Uh mam, I bought the Sensis Condoms because I want to strip it on my man"

    Seriously, bought these new condoms - very cool with the srips - the cashier started asking me about them - a freakin conversations about using condoms - actually wasnt embarrassing, was funny

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  • Ethre Stroh

    Condom is good for safe sex and birth control. very well post

  • Bob

    The rapist or therapist, sorry I'm the therepist for rapist, condoms are part of the devil, at least c stores are making people not buy them anyo