Full disclosure: I have never bought condoms before.
I lived my early 20s under the false assumption that the pull-out method actually works. And let me tell you that it does not.
After that, I'd steal a handful of condoms from Planned Parenthood, doctors' offices, or I'd just expect men to have them. If they didn't, we'd just keep our hookup PG, or even worse, just decide to risk fooling around without protection.
But operating condomless is a definite danger zone.
Here are some cold, hard, and terrifying facts: According to the American Sexual Health Association, more than half of all people will have an STD in their lifetime, and one in two sexually active people will have an STD by age 25.
If that doesn't make you want to get "No Glove, No Love" tattooed on your forehead, I don't know what will.
But for some reason, I have always been embarrassed to buy condoms. One time, I was with my parents at Costco, and they asked me if I wanted a 500-pack of Trojans. And I fully pretended not to know them.
Sometimes, when I go to the grocery store, the condoms are locked up (are they in jail?), and I'm afraid they're going to announce over the intercom that a very single, desperate woman in aisle five is hoping for the best with her Bumble date this weekend.
So when one woman named Ingrid H. told me she bought condoms for the first time at age 33, and that it was incredibly empowering, I asked her about her experience.
And I found out that buying condoms is actually a way to take control back over your sex life.
Remember, you're an active participant in your sex life.
"In heteronormative relationships, I think the woman pays for her grooming, which is outlandishly more expensive than a man's: Clothes, hair color, nails, waxing, and even razors are more expensive. So I think we were brought up to think that men are in charge of dinner and condoms," Ingrid tells Elite Daily.
For some women, there's a fear that buying condoms will misrepresent them as slutty. Having protection around means admitting that you have sex, and more than that, admitting that you like it.
We live in a world where it's taboo for women to enjoy or seek out pleasure. Ingrid describes it as "the virgin/whore complex" that we are all familiar with — No one will buy the cow if you can get the milk for free.
"Having condoms in my house would mean that I was hoping or expecting to have sex, and that would mean that I'm a whore. It's this internalized self-hate of having a libido that we were brought up with," she says.
However, it's time to stop relying on men to buy them. By relying on men to have contraception, you give your control away and give them power over the sexual encounter. And in my book, that's not OK.
Ingrid explains, "I realized that sex isn't something that is DONE TO ME, but something that I am an active participant in. And in order for me to be an active participant, I have to take all the steps to ensure that I have a healthy sex life, and that means, for me, condoms!"
There's no need to feel shame when purchasing.
For me, buying condoms makes me nervous. It's probably that old stigma still associated with it — I don't want to be the girl buying condoms.
But guess what? No one cares! Men buy condoms all the time, and they're mentally congratulated for being guys who get laid. Women should also be proud of being sexually active.
Ingrid explains she initially felt the stigma of buying condoms, too:
I did feel embarrassed for a very brief moment, which shocked me. I walked up to the counter with a Father's Day card, toilet cleaner and a pack of 12 condoms. I acted very 'chill' but could not look the man at the counter in his eyes. I think I was expecting him to judge me. I was expecting him to say something a bit harsh or condescending.
But again, no one cared.
"Of course, he said nothing except 'credit or debit,' and then, I was on my way," Ingrid says.
Buying condoms is feminist and sex positive.
It's an empowering experience, according to Ingrid:
I think I have worked really hard a lot of my life to not be seen as a sexual object, but rather as an empowered, smart, badass woman. And perhaps I thought buying condoms would be going against that very notion. But it took me one second to realize that being an active participant in my whole life (including my sex life) is the most badass, smart, empowering thing I could do for myself.
It shouldn't be radical for a woman to admit that she has a libido and wants to have sex.
"Consensual sex is one of the most primal, natural and beautiful things in the world. I am excited to have it with someone I find special, with the condoms that are now sitting in my nightstand," Ingrid says.
So to end the stigma of women not being sexual creatures, why don't you go out and buy yourself some condoms today. Be in charge of your own sexuality!