Stop shaming women for carrying condoms

The fact that this needs to be said again is kind of mind blowing: Stop shaming women for carrying condoms. How are we still even talking about this?

Can’t we all collectively agree that we have this completely backwards? Carrying a condom doesn’t make you easy, slutty, gross, or disease ridden. It makes you responsible. If you happen to be slutty and carry condoms? That’s your own damn business.

68% of teen girls used a condom the first time they had sex. Of course, we pretend that no teens are having sex and that telling them sex is “bad” will magically stop them from doing it. In case you missed it: Nope.

We need to stop putting our health in the hands of teen boys (and grown men) who don’t know what they’re doing. According to a study of over 800 women, nearly half reported feeling unhappy with or pressured into sex. Half. And we’re worried about a woman who actually carries condoms and takes control of her own body, health, and sexual destiny?

Is this a joke? It sure feels that way. Listen, it’s time to stop shaming a woman who is carrying a condom. Ladies, if you pull a condom out and the person you’re going to have sex with dares shame you: Do not have sex with that person It’s not worth your time.

Carry your condoms and where them like a badge of honor.


Shame doesn’t prevent anyone from having sex

Here is a real kicker, one we just can’t seem to get over: Shame doesn’t stop anyone from having sex. It just doesn’t. No amount of ‘fire and brimstone, you’ll go to hell, you’ll die if you do it’ rhetoric stops anyone from doing it.

Why? Sex feels good. Sex is a natural part of the human experience. Asking someone to not have sex is like asking them not to eat. It won’t happen, y’all.

In the documentary Let’s Talk About Sex, which highlights the markedly different approaches to sexual education between the Netherlands and the United States, one of the most striking moments is when the film producers ask teens about their attitudes surrounding condoms.

The Netherlands is known for its thorough, comprehensive sex education system and liberal attitudes around sexuality. America, on the other hand, is far more centered on abstinence only education and shame.

When a Dutch girl is asked if she carries condoms, she pulls one out of her wallet and says, “Of course.” No shame in her game. When an American teen was asked the same question, she becomes embarrassed and says no. Meanwhile, teen pregnancy rates in America are nearly quadruple that of the Netherlands. This demonstrates the need for comprehensive sex education. Shaming sexuality does not work. Making women feel like crap about having sex doesn’t work.

The question is startling clear: When are we going to get our heads out of our rear ends and stop policing women’s bodies and freedoms?

Women making money

To be clear, buying condoms is not a cost issue. Average cost of a single condom is $.45. All of us can swing less than 50c, can’t we?

We associate women with being caretakers (again so boring), but this isn’t the case anymore. More women in Australia now identify as the main financial provider in their family so, why in the heck are we pretending women don’t have the right to their sexual autonomy? She can make money, but if she buys and carries condoms she’s somehow a floozy without morals?

The stats don’t lie. Women are still afraid of stigma. Despite that fact that women are more liberatied than ever before, are bringing home the bacon, and want to feel in control of their bodies, we’re still freaking out about condoms. Studies by YouGov and Moments Condoms show that women are still apprehensive about purchasing and carrying condoms, citing reasons such as shame, embarrassment, and fear of judgement.

68% of women reported the don’t feel comfortable buying condoms.

Additionally, STI rates are on the rise and instead of encouraging young women to be responsible for their bodies, we judge them. Gonorrhea rates went up by 63% in Australia last year. That is scary as hell.

Like, this fear of buying condoms doesn’t just come out of nowhere: It’s a backward system straddled in female shame and a lack of practical education.

If she’s carrying a condom, you should date her

Oh, wow! What a crazy notion.

We still have this backward idea that if a woman is carrying a condom, she must be easy. She’s always ready for sex. She must be out looking for it. She must do this with everyone.

If a guy is carrying a condom, we have the exact opposite reaction. We think: Oh, he’s responsible. Oh, he doesn’t mind wearing a condom. That’s nice.

What are these bullshit double standards? Everyone has sex. Welcome to reality. It takes to Tango. We should be praising both women and men for caring enough about their bodies to make sure they’re protected. Why should responsibility for our health be on anyone else’s shoulders?

We’re adults. Are we really not mature enough to accept that sex is fun, people do it, and it’s a whole lot better to grab a condom from your purse than it is to wind up with chlamydia? This isn’t brain surgery.

A woman who carries a condom is responsible. Is she slutty? That’s none of your damn business. Why? It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that she’s in control of her body, she’s looking out for your health as well as her own, and she knows what she wants.

If that doesn’t make someone datable, I don’t know what does. Enough with the shame. It is so over. As soon as we decide to stop turning our noses down to someone who has a condom in her purse, the sooner we can all enjoy sex more.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle. Gigi Engle is a feminist writer, certified sex coach, and sex educator. As a sex educator with the Alexander Institute and Pleasure Professional with O.School, she teaches a variety of classes centered around pleasure, sexual health, and confidence. Gigi’s work regularly appears in many publications including Brides, Marie Claire,  Elle Magazine, Teen Vogue, Glamour and Women’s Health.