Sex Myths: It's the Man's Responsibility to Buy Condoms

Portrait of a young woman holding a condom
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It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, straight or gay. If you're having sex outside of a long-term, mutually-monogamous, relationship where both partners have been screened for STDs, it's probably a good idea to practice safe sex. In most cases, that means that someone has to buy condoms. That's true even if they're only buying the condoms in order to cut them up and make them into dental dams.

There seems to be a highly prevalent sex myth that, in heterosexual couples, it is the man's responsibility to buy condoms. There are good reasons why some men might prefer to buy their own condoms. For example, they might have a favorite condom brand or not want to risk they're partner forgetting to go shopping. However, it's actually good idea for anyone who is considering having sex to buy condoms.

One reason that everyone should buy their own condoms is that it's always a good idea to be prepared if you're thinking about having sex. After all, your partner might not be. If you assume that they're going to buy condoms and then they don't, you could be faced with a very unfortunate choice. You might have to choose between having unprotected sex that you may end up regretting or not having sex at all.

Some women may be reluctant to buy condoms because there is also a sex myth that a woman who carries a condom is a "slut" or a "tramp." There may be a small subset of men who believe this.

However, women may want to question whether they actually want to sleep with someone who judges them for conscientiously choosing to have sex with them. Deciding to have sex should be something that you do from a place of personal empowerment. This includes having the ability to take care of yourself both emotionally and physically.

Anyone who doesn't respect that may not respect you either.

Simply put, it is not the responsibility of the man to buy condoms. It is the responsibility of anyone who is planning to have sex to be prepared to protect themselves and their partners. If one partner has a strong preference for a condom brand, or needs a special brand of condoms to deal with a latex or lubricant allergy, then they may take on the major burden of condom purchasing. Even then, there's no reason why the other partner can't chip in or keep a few backups in the nightstand.

Finally, for the women who don't want to buy condoms because they're afraid of "how it will look," there are options. Several companies are now making fashion-forward condom cases... just in case appearances are more important than taking care of your health. And, of course, you can order condoms online. In fact, doing so is a great way to experiment with different kinds of condoms and lubricants to see what you do and don't like. 

A Word from Verywell

The notion that women shouldn't be the ones who buy the condoms in a heterosexual relationship is, in some ways, a product of rape culture.

In the U.S., women are often expected to be approached for sex and say no to it if they don't want it. (As opposed to women being expected to say yes to sex if they do want it.) When women are perceived to generally be passive receptors of sexual interest, there's no need for them to prepare for sex in advance. If women were instead thought of as individuals actively interested in seeking out sex, the expectations would be likely different. It would make sense for them to buy the condoms they needed to have the experiences they wanted. Fortunately, that's a world we can move towards by changing out assumptions about consent and the need for everyone to feel empowered to actively negotiate sex. 

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