Elizabeth King
August 20, 2015 10:16 am

Just a couple of weeks ago, I finally had to go out into the world and buy a box of condoms. Somehow, after many years of sexual activity, I had always been able to grab a spare condom from a friend, or was fortunate to find that my male partners had their own stash for the using. But the other week (that’s right, I just bought my first condoms a couple weeks ago), I was in a spot where I need a stash on hand. I’m nearly 30 years old, and am generally a very confident person, but this mission had me feeling totally nervous.

Not quite “having-sex-for-the-first-time” nervous, but for some reason, I felt totally ridiculous. I knew I was very likely going to get naked with a new person, and I started running around like a chicken with my head cut off thinking about my to do list. Shower; brush teeth; wear deodorant (have made that error before…); thoroughly examine face for new flaws; play “Eye of the Tiger” at least five times; secure safe sex stuff…. ACK NO I DO NOT OWN CONDOMS!

I gave myself a little pep talk before exiting my apartment and heading to the hallowed isles of Walgreens to get myself some rubbers. I’ve been using condoms for a long time, and have never really felt much shame buying other “sensitive” items at the store. I was unabashedly claiming my own feminine hygiene products in my early teenage years, and had even gone in person to the book story to buy paperback copies of 50 Shades of Grey. I’m not usually shy about my needs, so why on earth was I spazzing about Trojans?

I guess in some sense condoms felt more… graphic to me, and more revealing about sex life than other purchases would. Like, yes, hi, I’m hoping to score with a dude later. This alone I could get over pretty quickly. Let’s face it: the good people of my local drugstore couldn’t possibly care less about my sex life, and whether or not those condoms sat in my underwear drawer till they expired, or if I used them all up in one evening. Nobody cares.

Ultimately, what it boiled down to what just me being nervous about taking someone new on a tour of  my sexuality, and hoping that I would be, well, good in bed. The hand-wringing over what size to buy (too small and he’ll be insulted, too big and they’re useless), and which brand might be best all seemed like projections of hoping that would feel good, and that I would perform well.

Overall I’m really confident when I hit the sheets with someone new, but this encounter had me totally rattled. I really like this guy, and I wanted to seem… normal. So of course I responded by freaking out over ten dollars worth of protection. In the end it wasn’t the condoms themselves that had my underwear in such a bunch (another item on the to do list: untwist underwear), but the idea of getting to know a new person.

Now that I’ve at least partially sorted through my condom anxiety, I can relax a little bit more knowing that I’m not in fact a 27-year-old who is terrified of a 2 x 4 little box filled with necessary supplies, I’m just a little shaky in my boots before I knock them with a new partner. I can give myself a little slack for that.

[Image via 20th Century Fox]

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