The candles are flickering on the nightstand, the smooth sounds of Marvin Gaye filling up the room, and – nothing. You forgot to buy condoms. It’s an age-old problem that has prematurely ended countless romantic interludes.
Thankfully, a startup company claims to have engineered an ingeniously simple solution for all star-crossed lovers out there: a condom delivery service that promises rubbers at your doorstep in 30 minutes or less.
SMS Contraceptive was founded in India by 18-year-old Sirhaan Seth, who claims that he got the idea after he realized that buying condoms from the same pharmacist that has attended to him since childhood might be slightly awkward. Seth put the service together with the help of three friends, and they aim to provide contraceptives to anyone regardless of age or gender.
Here’s how it works: orders can be placed via phone call, Whatsapp message, or even Snapchat. Send over your order and your delivery address and SMS Contraceptive promises to get it to you within 30 minutes. If they’re even a minute late, your entire order is free. Considering the company’s small size, the service area is limited to Gurugram, a suburb of Delhi, but Seth eventually hopes to expand the operation, particularly into areas where condoms are considered taboo and sex education is poor.
Customers can order condoms, lubricant, instant pregnancy tests, and morning-after pills. There are even a few humorously-named package options: Cruise Control (3 condoms, 1 lubricant), Safe Bet (3 condoms, 1 lubricant, 1 emergency contraceptive pill), and SOS (1 instant pregnancy test, 1 emergency contraceptive pill).
Despite the sensitive nature of his services, Seth does not plan to price gouge. A box of 10 condoms costs about $6.00, while an instant pregnancy test runs about $1.50. Instead, he hopes that the reliability of his business and the convenience factor of avoiding awkward purchases earns him a network of repeat customers.
Although the idea of condom deliveries has not yet taken the world by storm, SMS Contraceptives is not the first startup to offer the discreet service. Photojournalist Talia Frenkel founded L., a condom brand that offers 1-hour deliveries in New York City and San Francisco by employing a team of bike couriers. Her company advertises a more eco-friendly approach to the condoms it manufactures and promises to donate condoms in Africa for every purchase.
Some of the big names in the contraceptive industry have tested the waters as well. Durex unveiled a smartphone app called SOS Condoms that allowed users to drop a pin at their location and receive a speedy delivery. The service was unveiled in early 2013 in Dubai, notably featuring disguised deliverymen who drop off the condoms in a sneaky, drug-dealer kind of way. Given the fact that SOS Condoms has not expanded out of Dubai, it’s safe to say that business hasn’t exactly climaxed.
Looking to get down without spending a dime? Good luck – dating is expensive. But if you really want to pinch pennies, various organizations provide condoms free of charge. For example, California’s Condom Access Program provides free condoms to teenagers who visit one of many participating health clinics and community centers.
Among women who are seeking to avoid pregnancies, the birth control pill and tubal ligations are vastly more popular than regular condom usage. However, condoms remain the most reliable way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. STDs are largely considered a sad reality that the majority of people will have to face at some point in their lives, and even the most cautious among us might still contract something.
Regardless, the best way to avoid any accidents is to always have condoms handy. Buy them in bulk (never hurts to be optimistic!), keep one on your person at all times, and you’ll always be ready to have spontaneous fun. If you’re ever caught unprepared in Gurugram when a passionate moment strikes, though, you’re in luck.