Where Can You Get Free Condoms?
The Debrief: Free condoms! Free condoms for everyone!
When I first started shagging, my boyfriend and I would nick condoms from his parents. At the time I was nervous that they'd notice, but as an adult I've had a lightbulb moment and realised that maybe they just kept condoms lying around so their teenage son would know he could always get them for free. Genius.
Alternatively, the fact that they were fruit-flavoured may have meant that they actually just intended to put him off sex forever. Either way, we had a fairly steady supply of free condoms, so I thought I'd pass on the karma and let you know where you can grab your own if your in-laws aren't quite so accommodating.
Free condoms for the under-25s
First thing you need to know is that if you're under 25, people will chuck free condoms at you like they're flyers for cheap club nights. The NHS has a vested interest in you not catching STIs, so even if you're short on cash you should be able to grab some for nothing.
Sexual health services for young people
Services like Brook (who also give sexual health advice and a whole bunch of other helpful stuff) will give you free condoms if you pop in and have a chat with them. Other sexual health services will also hand out free condoms – there's a nifty tool on the NHS website to find the nearest one to you.
University freshers' fairs
These places are so awash with condoms they might as well be sponsored by Durex. Again, it's the 'young people' market, but this time combined with the knowledge that at University there are plenty of people who are gearing up for a three-year shagfest (SPOILER ALERT: it is usually not like that, because reality sucks and if they're anything like me they'll be far too shy to get properly cracking). Anyway, because of the sexpectations, there is pretty much always a sexual health stand at a freshers' fair: if you're a student make sure to swing by and fill your pockets with enough free johnnies to last you through the first term.
Some areas of the UK participate in something called the C-card scheme (here's a link to the London C-card scheme, but Google for your area as there are many across the UK!). If you're between 13-24 you can register for a C-card, which will get you free condoms from a variety of different venues in your area including pharmacies and clinics. You just walk in, flash your card, and wander off with a bunch of free stuff. If only they did this for coffee.
Free condoms for anyone
Sexual health clinics
You can use the NHS website to find your nearest sexual health clinic, and pop in for a visit. It's always worth checking their opening hours first to see whether you need an appointment or not – most places offer appointments as well as drop-in services, and they'll also usually do evening sessions too so you don't need to ditch work to get there.
As a sex blogger, I am inundated with requests from companies to review their products. As a general rule I don't because I'm lazy, but if you have more time and inclination than I do, the world of free condoms (and free lube, free sex toys, and a whole bunch of other free stuff) is your sticky, sexy oyster. You don't even need to set up your own blog – Cara Sutra (who writes a hot sex blog and reviews tonnes of toys) runs a 'Pleasure Panel', where people can volunteer to test some of the products she's sent on a daily basis. She'll send you free condoms in exchange for a review, and the added bonus is that if you enjoy writing the review, you might want to review more things either for Cara or on a sex blog of your very own.
Naturally, if you're going to a sex event you probably have to fork out for a ticket, so this is less of a total freebie and more of an added bonus. I can tell you, though, that events like SexpoUK (in London during November) are usually packed to the gills with companies who want to grab your attention so they can sell you their new toy/lube/porn DVD, and one of their most popular gifts is the free condom. Tickets cost money, but once you're there keep an eagle eye out for stalls that hand out free johnnies, and make sure you grab them wherever you can.
Free condoms in the post
When it comes to getting free condoms remotely, it's a bit of a postcode lottery. Certain areas run schemes which let you type in your address, click a button, and have a bunch of free condoms sent directly to your door. The Terrence Higgins Trust (an ace charity that helps minimise the spread of HIV and STIs) has a scheme in Scotland where qualifying people can get free condoms in the post.
Turns out that while there's no such thing as a free lunch, there is such a thing as a free shag, if you're prepared to look for it. Like most things, finding free condoms is easier when you're young, but it's not impossible even if you've reached the dizzy heights of twenty-six and there's still not enough money in your bank account for a 3-pack of Durex from the corner shop.
Now for the guilty part: you might be scraping the bottom of your piggy bank at the moment, and in desperate need of free stuff, but if you do make the most of any of the charity services above, please consider donating a bit of cash later down the line when you're back on your feet. Places like Brook and the Terrence Higgins Trust do fantastic things to help promote better sexual health, and they deserve your cash. What's more, you get to continue that lovely sexy afterglow by spreading a bit of karma – making sure that cash-strapped shaggers in the future get the same benefit. It's the circle of love. Which, if it isn't already a condom brand, most definitely should be.
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