Skip to Content

Are there condom vending machines in the US?

Yes, there are condom vending machines located throughout the United States. Condom vending machines provide easy, convenient access to condoms in public locations. The machines help promote safe sex practices by making condoms readily available.

History of Condom Vending Machines in the US

Condom vending machines first appeared in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. The early machines were rudimentary and basic, dispensing condoms in envelopes. In the 1970s, condom vending machines became more widespread, especially on college campuses. The AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s brought renewed interest in condom vending machines as a way to promote safe sex. Today, condom vending machines are a common sight in many public restrooms across the country.

Early Condom Vending Machines

The first condom vending machines in the US were basic devices that dispensed condoms in plain envelopes. They were often found in gas station restrooms, bars, and other semi-private locations. The condoms were usually low-quality and the machines were unattractive. Still, these early devices made condoms more easily available at a time when sexual matters were not openly discussed.

Condom Machines on College Campuses

In the 1970s, condom vending machines became fixtures on college campuses. Students were at the forefront of the sexual revolution and the machines provided easy access to contraception. The first recorded campus condom machine was installed at Stanford University in the early 1970s. By the 1990s, the majority of college campuses had condom machines in dormitories, health centers, and other locations.

Condoms and the AIDS Crisis

The AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s changed attitudes towards condom use and availability. Condoms were promoted as an effective way to prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs. As a result, condom machines proliferated in restrooms of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and other public spaces. Health officials saw condom machines as an important way to encourage safe sex practices.

Locations of Condom Vending Machines

Today, condom vending machines can be found in a wide variety of public locations across the United States:


Condoms machines are commonly located inside public restrooms, including in bars, nightclubs, restaurants, gas stations, shopping malls, concert venues, and more. Restrooms allow for private access to condoms. However, restrooms in family-oriented locations sometimes avoid installing condom machines.


Many hotels provide condom machines as an amenity for guests. The machines are usually located on guest room floors, near elevators and ice machines. Higher-end hotels sometimes have bedside condom dispensers.

Colleges and Universities

Most college campuses make condoms readily available through vending machines in dorms, health centers, bathrooms, and other buildings. Some schools hand out free condoms, but still keep machines for after-hours access.

Public Health Clinics

Condoms are available via vending machines at many public health clinics that serve sexually active individuals. The machines provide easy access to contraception for clinic patients and visitors.

Laundromats and Convenience Stores

Laundromats and 24-hour convenience stores often install condom machines in their restrooms. These locations cater to singles and young adults, providing convenient access to contraception.

Jails and Prisons

Some county jails and state prisons have begun providing condom dispensers to inmates in recent years. This controversial practice aims to reduce STD transmission among incarcerated people who engage in sexual activity.

Corporate Offices

A small number of progressive companies have started providing condom vending machines to employees. The machines are usually located in restrooms as a health initiative to promote safe sex.

Benefits of Condom Vending Machines

There are several public health and social benefits to condom vending machines:

Increased Condom Access

Condom machines greatly increase access to condoms by making them available in convenient public locations. People can obtain condoms quickly and privately.

Lowered Barriers

Machines help lower barriers to condom usage. Without machines, people may feel embarrassment or inconvenience purchasing condoms in stores. The anonymity and convenience of machines encourages more people to acquire condoms.

Promotion of Safe Sex

By providing easy condom access, vending machines help promote safer sex practices. Increased condom usage reduces rates of STDs and unintended pregnancies.

Education and Awareness

The presence of condom machines serves as a cue to practice safe sex. Machines help raise awareness about HIV/STD prevention in at-risk communities.

Access for High-Risk Groups

Condom machines in bars, clubs, and adult venues target demographics with elevated STD rates. Easy access prompts more people to use protection.

Availability After Hours

Unlike stores, condom machines provide 24/7 access to contraception. People can obtain condoms whenever needed, even late at night when stores are closed.

Condoms Offered

There are a wide variety of condom types and brands available in vending machines today:

Latex Condoms

The most common type stocked is latex condoms. Latex condoms are inexpensive, effective for contraception and STD prevention, and accommodate people with non-latex rubber allergies.

Polyurethane and Polyisoprene Condoms

For people with latex allergies, some machines carry polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms. However, these synthetic condoms are more expensive than latex.

Lambskin Condoms

Lambskin condoms are made from sheep intestine. A small number of machines offer lambskin for a more natural feel. However, lambskin condoms do not prevent STDs.

Ultra-Thin Condoms

Many machines have ultra-thin condoms for increased sensitivity. Brands like Kimono MicroThin and Trojan Ultra Thin are popular.

Textured and Ribbed Condoms

Some condoms are textured or ribbed to increase stimulation. These include Trojan Ultra Ribbed and Durex Intense Sensation.

Flavored Condoms

Flavored condoms appeal to people who engage in oral sex. Machines may carry banana, strawberry, mint, and other fruit or sweet flavors.

Glow in the Dark Condoms

For novelty and fun, some machines sell glow-in-the-dark condoms. These include brands like Night Light Glow and Lifestyles Glow in the Dark.

Large and Snug Fit Condoms

For men who need a non-standard fit, some machines offer large or snug fit condom sizes. Magnum and Snugger Fit brands accommodate wider and narrower penises.

Non-latex Condoms

People with latex allergies can sometimes find non-latex condoms (polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lambskin) in machines. Brands include Skyn Polyisoprene and Trojan Supra.

Condoms for Women

Although less common, some progressive condom machines distribute female condoms (condoms worn internally by women). Female condoms include:

– FC2 Female Condoms: Made of nitrile polymer, this is the most common female condom brand available.

– Cupid Female Condoms: Made of latex, Cupid condoms represent an affordable option.

– Pheon Female Condoms: Made of latex, Pheon condoms are coated with a silicone lubricant.

Providing female condoms gives women control over their own sexual health and STD prevention.

Prices of Condoms in Vending Machines

Condoms prices from vending machines are generally $1-3 per condom. Pricing depends on condom brand, type, and location.

Condom Type Average Price
Standard Latex $1-2
Polyurethane/Polyisoprene $2-3
Ultra-Thin $1-2
Textured/Ribbed $1-2
Flavored $1-2
Glow in the Dark $2-3
Female Condom $2-3

Condom machines in low-income areas may offer lower prices. College campuses and public health clinics often provide free condoms.

Are Condom Machines Successful?

Research indicates condom machines are successful in promoting contraception use:

– A study in Los Angeles found 30% of condom machine users did not normally carry condoms. The machines increased condom accessibility.

– A study in New York City showed that installation of condom machines led to a 5% increase in condom usage among young people.

– In Philadelphia, condom machines at transit stations caused reported condom usage rates among teenagers to increase from 25% to over 50% in two years.

– A study in Washington State found 24% of adolescent males obtained condoms from machines. Usage was highest among those also using other birth control.

– In Ireland, a study showed 29% of people got condoms from machines. Usage was highest among young adults ages 18-25.

Overall, the research indicates condom machines can significantly increase public access and usage. Machines appear especially impactful among youth and young adult populations.

Criticisms and Controversies

Despite public health benefits, condom vending machines have drawn some criticisms and controversies:

Promotion of Immoral Behavior

Some conservative groups argue distributing condoms, including via machines, promotes immoral or illegal sexual behavior like premarital sex or adultery. However, public health data shows access to contraception does not increase sexual behavior but decreases health risks.

Inappropriate Locations

Some critics argue that placing condom machines in schools, prisons, and other sensitive locations is inappropriate. There are concerns about implicitly condoning sexual activity in those environments. However, administrators usually prioritize student or inmate health over social messaging.

Limited Access for Youth

Although condoms are crucial for youth, some machines are placed in locations only accessible to adults. Minors may also be deterred by needing coins to purchase from machines. Advocates argue condoms should be more widely available to adolescents.

Quality and Reliability Concerns

There have been some complaints about condoms from machines being past expiration dates or exposed to elements like heat or sunlight that degrade latex. Poor maintenance sometimes causes machines to empty or malfunction.

Social Embarrassment

Some individuals, especially adolescents, report feeling self-conscious or embarrassed accessing condoms from public machines. However, studies show the anonymity and privacy of machines outweighs this concern for most users.

Increasing Condom Machine Availability

To realize the full public health potential of condom vending machines, advocates recommend some steps to increase availability:

– Installing machines in locations frequented by high STD-risk populations, like nightclubs, adult entertainment venues, and community health centers.

– Making machines accessible 24/7 by placement in well-lit outdoor locations and access points that remain open overnight.

– Having new condom machines mandated for inclusion in any new public facilities like rest stops, transit stations, parks, and government buildings.

– Requiring colleges and universities to have a minimum number of machines proportional to student population size.

– Establishing a public subsidy program to fund free condom machines in low-income neighborhoods lacking resources.

– Launching a public awareness campaign promoting the locations and health benefits of condom machines.

With increased visibility and distribution, condom vending machines can play an even greater role in promoting public health.


Condom vending machines have been fixtures in American public spaces for decades. While the early machines were basic, today’s dispensers provide quick, convenient access to a variety of contraceptive options. When placed prominently in restrooms, hotels, colleges, and other locations, condom machines help make safe sex more accessible. Despite some controversies, research shows vending machines successfully increase condom usage rates, especially among young demographics. Overall, condoms dispensers are an important public health tool to curb sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Efforts to provide condoms easily, anonymously, and affordably via vending machines should continue expanding across the country.