Shopping cart filled with condom packets
Love Matters | Rita Lino

Why are we ashamed of buying condoms?

Why can’t we buy condoms confidently like we buy Mutura or boiled eggs?

A young Kenyan man walks towards a pharmacy to buy condoms. 

He first peeps to ensure there are no customers in the shop, he takes a deep breath before entering the pharmacy. For a moment he looks confused, ensure about what he wants.

He gathers some courage and points towards his favourite brand of condoms. 

‘Give me those ones’ he whispers. 

The pharmacist immediately knows what he’s talking about, but before he gets the condoms, another customer enters. 

A moment of silence. 

The young man then requests the pharmacist to serve the other customer first, not because he is kind but because he’s buying condoms and is a bit embarassed. 

Now the young man has to look over his shoulder in case another customer enters the shop. 


He gets his condoms, hides them in his pockets and and leaves hurriedly. You would think he just robbed the pharmacy. 

This young man is like many Kenyans. They are ashamed about buying condoms. 

One other hilarious thing that people do is that they end up buying things they had no intention of buying – just so there’s little attention drawn to the condoms. 

For others, it is safer to go to pharmacies that are far away from their houses to buy condoms so that no one knows they plan to have sex.

Why are people ashamed?

  • Sex is generally perceived as an evil act. That’s why any talk or act that is sex-related is not welcome. That’s also why some will only have sex in total darkness or while half-naked. 
  • Somehow, buying condoms is the shortest transaction you will ever see. There will never be delays because even some sellers are embarrassed, for themselves and for you. 
  • Since some pharmacists are ashamed, they may give you a weird look. This makes the entire transaction awkward. 
  • Buying condoms is often viewed as an announcement that you are going to have sex. The negative perception and cultural attitude towards sex encourage this. 
  • There is a popular belief that condoms are for people having casual sex since people in long-term relationships use long-term contraception. 
  • Many women are afraid of being slut-shamed. The responsibility of buying condoms is often left to men. Some women are not even aware of the condom varieties available.

How do we stop this?

Anyone buying condoms is a responsible adult. It is a normal part of having a responsible sex life. That’s how we need to start interpreting this. No one should ever feel the need to be discreet when buying condoms.  

Sexual promiscuity has been associated with the use of condoms. Buying condoms doesn’t make you promiscuous, but even if you are, it’s great that you are protecting yourself and your partners. 

Pharmacies need to ensure that their staff are well trained to understand that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying packs of condoms. They should know not to stare weirdly at the people buying the condoms as this creates an environment that is unsuitable generally for everyone. 

In case you’re still afraid, you can start small by first opting for new alternatives such as government hospitals facilities, Marie Stopes clinics or request for delivery. Gain your confidence and then start buying them from pharmacies.

Whatever you do, practice safe sex. This protects you from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies

Are you still shamed of buying condoms?

did you find this useful?

Tell us what you think

Recent Comments (4)

  1. I feel everyone especially…
    I feel everyone especially adolescents should have access to adequate family planning options on their reproductive health. Abstinence is a good choice but where that is not possible, to avoid unplanned pregnancy or STDs, then it’s ok to use protection. But sexual relationship must come with a sense of responsibility by both partners

  2. Hello Kikelomo Oduyebo, what…

    Hello Kikelomo Oduyebo, what you have said could not be more true! We completely agree with you and are so glad to have insightful individuals such as yourself on our platform because it helps ensure that the work we are doing with Love Matters Africa is sound and clear! Cheers for sharing your perspective and contributing to our forum! We hope you have a great weekend ahead and stay safe!

  3. No,confidence gained. Thanks…
    No,confidence gained. Thanks for your info

    1. Thank you for your feedback,…

      Thank you for your feedback, we appreciate it.

LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships