Image credit: iStock/daizuoxin Image credit: iStock/daizuoxin

It's generally a good rule of thumb that if you're too embarrassed to buy a condom, then you shouldn't be having sex.

A young couple in Vietnam has learnt that this is true the hard way after ending up in hospital after using an alternative method of contraception.

Rather than head to the shop and pick up some condoms - which they were both reportedly too shy to do - the couple thought that it would be basically the same thing to use a plastic bag.

Unfortunately, it turns out this wasn't the case. It didn't take long after the boy put the bag over his erection and penetrated his girlfriend that the whole episode started going south.

The couple ended up needing emergency treatment due to the extreme pain that the plastic bag caused. They were taken to hospital with genital lesions, abrasions and bleeding caused by the bag.

According to the Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre, they have now been put on antibiotics to help control any infection that could arise due to the nature and placement of their injuries.

Doctors said that using a plastic bag was "unscientific". It caused injuries due to the fact that the bag was too thick and rough, resulting in scratches and vaginal tearing.

The medical team also emphasised the fact that bags do not offer proper protection against STIs and pregnancy, plus they are prone to tearing.

This incident has brought up the subject of attitudes towards sex in Vietnam, as well as safe sex in general.

Hanoi Medical University and Hanoi Medical College recently undertook a survey of 2,700 university students. It revealed that of the 16 per cent who admitted to having sex, only a third used a condom their first time.

A quarter of students (25 per cent) said that they felt too embarrassed to buy condoms, risking unwanted pregnancy and the spread of STIs.

Buying condoms online can help if you feel uneasy about purchasing them in a shop. It also means you have adequate protection to hand should the need arise.