PSA: Just say no to wallets

I had originally planned to write this post about pet peeves in romance. But when I mentioned the problem with ‘condoms in wallets’ to my friends, they didn’t always know what I was talking about. So, I’ll talk about condoms today, and I’ll write about pet peeves another time.

Here are two things I want to say before getting to the PSA part.

  • Disclaimer: I’m not a health care professional. For medical advice, please talk to your doctor.
  • Safety: This post is not a moral judgment or political commentary.  It is only about safety.

Meanwhile, back to condoms and things you shouldn’t do to them.

  • Heat. Condoms are made from latex, and latex does not like extreme temperatures. Room temperature is best.  In other words, if you wouldn’t want to be stored in the 30s or 90s, neither would your condom. Avoid leaving them in glove compartments, cars, or direct sunlight, near fluorescent lamps or computers, next to your body, or in wallets.
  • Friction. A condom needs to avoid contact with keys, coins, nail clippers, … Basically, anything that could scratch it or apply pressure through the wrapper. And back pockets are the worst–the bending and sitting can break a condom in a wallet.

Now you may be wondering– isn’t heat and friction an occupational hazard for condoms? And the response is–condoms are made to handle heat and friction for a relatively short period of time (long enough to do its job). Prolonged heat or friction can cause microscopic holes in the latex. Without structural integrity, fluids on one side of the condom can make their way to the other side.

The best place to keep condoms is in a night stand. But if you’re on the go, you can take a condom case (which, yes, is a thing). They come as keychains, “love boxes”, mirrored compacts with secret compartments, or dual-purpose tampon/condom cases.

I’m proud that romance writers have led the charge for expecting characters to have safe sex. As a YA author (and mom of 2 twenty-something daughters), I want my characters to model safe behavior. It only takes a simple change from “He grabbed his wallet” to “He reached into his pocket” or “She opened her purse.”


To learn more, here are some references I used:, Livestrong, Go Ask Alice, and KidsHealth .


Elizabeth Langston writes young adult fiction. Writing as Julia Day, her next book, FADE TO US, releases in February 2018!  To learn more about Elizabeth/Julia, visit her website or follow her on twitter.



16 responses to “PSA: Just say no to wallets”

  1. Darynda Jones says:

    Great post, Beth!!! The ninth book in the Charley series raised some brows. I didn’t have my heroine, who didn’t remember her husband at the time and thought he was a total stranger, insist on a condom. Because of the nature of their relationship and their paranormal status, I’ve never had to worry about that. But in the ninth book, Charley doesn’t remember who (and more importantly, what) she is, so I totally should have had her insist on safety first.

    I only got one letter and a comment or two, but that tells me there were many more out there thinking the same thing.

    Lesson learned!

    • Elizabeth Langston says:

      I think it’s great, though, that our readers want our characters to do the right thing!

  2. This is a great topic, Beth.

    Wow! I didn’t know there are actually condom cases? Another level of education to share with our readers.

    I’m like many other authors who has written the he grabbed his wallet scene. We want our reader to believe our characters are responsible people. Next story I’m going to share what I’ve learned here today. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth Langston says:

      I learned about them while I was researching this post. I mentioned it to my older daughter–who looked at me like “You’re so behind, Mom”.

  3. Excellent post, Beth! I kind of love the idea of a secret compact compartment – I can definitely see some of my future heroines having those! Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Hope Ramsay says:

    Love this post. Not only does it provide safety info, but it provides a good rationale for that Secret Baby without having the characters be totally clueless about safe sex. 🙂

    Which, incidentally, I did in the last book. The H/h did not participate in safe sex. I wish I had known about this when I wrote the book. I could have made the pregnancy even more of a surprise by having the condom fail.

    • Elizabeth Langston says:

      I will say that both of my daughters knew this. It was taught in their sex ed. The iffy-ness shows up in “how much time is too much” or “just how hot did the car get”, etc

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I love that you went straight to the plot angle, Hope!! ❤️

  5. Interesting topic, Beth. Love the PSA and it’s a great prompt for authors to be mindful of how to handle writing safe sex.

  6. Rita Henuber says:

    Thank you. It is amazing in this time how much mis-information is out there.

  7. Yes. This.
    I just side-eyed a recently published contemporary where the hero goes for his wallet.

  8. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Newb writer (as some of you know) and am also new to reading/listening to as much romance as I have in the past several months since being sent to and luckily finding the “Rubies”.

    As a former Public Health nurse (child health, school health & supervisor), after reading what I would call a “toe-curling” kiss, I was thrilled that the H/H were both carrying condoms and prepared for the encounter just in case they got swept away in the moment! Friday afternoons were always quite busy at the health department I worked for handing out free condoms to folks getting ready for the week-end:) Kuddos to all of you for being pro-active and promoting safe sex!

    In my career as a nurse, I’ve used every one of the sites you made reference to as well as a few more. Great post, Elizabeth & thank you!


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