My mother enjoys reminding me of an infamous phrase aired during the Leningrad-Boston perestroika teleconference. "We have no sex in the USSR," a woman had said. And though this is not entirely true, sex in the Soviet Union was not discussed very frequently -- and this continued into my generation.
Places to have sex were limited. Hotel rooms were not available for unmarried couples (or those without an enormous sum of money). In order to get a hotel room as a couple in the USSR, you had to present your IDs and marriage certificates. So, people got creative. Couples went camping and slept together outside, under the stars. If you were traveling a long distance on a train, you could buy a train car and have the entire space to yourself and your partner. But you still had to be on guard, in case the conductor came around to check your tickets.
Condom sales were kept quiet in the Soviet Union
In the US, contraception is readily and freely available through pharmacies, medical clinics, gynecologists' offices, etc. Sure, buying condoms at Walgreens might get you an awkward look from the cashier, but for the most part, it's a manageable experience. If you're with a pharmacist, you can also discuss the quality, taste, color, and smell of a condom. I've also had a gynecologist enthusiastically describes the merits of a NuvaRing to me, as if we were talking about something as casual as grocery store milk choices.
In the Soviet Union, condoms were also available at most pharmacies. But! Discussing contraceptives and lube in public was totally unacceptable. And typically, men were the ones to buy condoms. They would go into the pharmacy and whisper to the pharmacist: "a bag, please" or "aspirin," with a wink or a nudge. Unfortunately, because sex was such a no-no topic, the pharmacist, at this point, would give you a scowling look, make an offhand comment about your private life, embarrass you, or shame you.