Condom embarrassment: Coping and consequences for condom use in three countries

Sarah G. Moore, Darren W. Dahl, Gerald Gorn, Charles B. Weinberg, Jongwon Park, Yuwei Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates embarrassment related to condom purchase, carrying, storage, use, and disposal in three countries. We identify the consequences of purchase embarrassment for condom use and explore strategies that individuals use to cope with purchase-related embarrassment. Surveys were distributed in Shanghai, China and Seoul, Republic of Korea based on a survey developed and previously distributed in Vancouver, Canada. Despite different levels of development and differences in attitudes and policies toward sexuality in these countries, we find remarkably similar results. In all three countries, condom-related embarrassment extends beyond condom use to pre- and post-use situations. The embarrassment associated with purchasing condoms exceeds that of using condoms, and purchase-related condom embarrassment significantly and negatively impacts the frequency of condom use. Individuals use multiple coping strategies to combat purchase-related embarrassment until this embarrassment decreases with age and experience, and coping strategies are no longer needed to enable condom purchase. In short, embarrassment associated with condoms goes beyond embarrassment about condom use. Purchase-related embarrassment and the strategies individuals use to cope with this embarrassment must be considered in order to promote consistent condom use and improve sexual and reproductive health worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-559
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquisition
  • AIDS
  • Condoms
  • STI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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