Condom care and its disturbing trend
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 20:01
Coming back to campus after the winter break is a strange affair. Dorm rooms, apartments and suites suddenly become like a very strange time capsule, locking in the blemishes that were left behind at the end of finals week, like that pizza crust that you forgot to throw away or the bed that you thought better of making before you left.
However, in the midst of all that remained unchanged, every campus resident has probably noticed that subtle changes have been made to their hallways. One of the RA’s responsibilities at the beginning of the semester is to update the bulletin boards with new content to help ring in the start of a new semester. Oftentimes, this content falls under the banner of safe sex advice. However, this has led to what I would consider a small problem that needs to be addressed.
I take no issue with the promotion of safe and healthy sex. In fact, it is my personal opinion that the condom is one of the greatest inventions of this century, especially considering how many lives it has saved. I’m always thrilled to see them freely distributed by the university health services or any other sexual awareness and education group. The problem is that it has become common practice to include in these informative wall decorations a small bag or container with free condoms in it for residents to conveniently take in the event that they need them.
Our school should be beyond proud of its efforts to spread the use of condoms and help protect people against having unsafe sex. The fact that Resident Assistants are encouraged to keep and distribute their condoms is a good thing. However, keeping them in a public space, unattended and in a wall hanging that promotes and sets an example for safe sex is irresponsible and unsafe.
One thing that often falls to the wayside in sexual education is condom care. Condom usage is widely known but many people often mistreat or abuse their condoms, which could lead to rendering them useless. For example, keeping them in a wallet or purse, folding them to fit a pocket, putting them on backwards and not discarding after or not checking for holes before usage.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where it is not safe to leave something as important to our health and future unattended in a public area. There is nothing stopping someone from tampering or sabotaging the condoms in this free trough. Any dim-witted prankster with a pin could create life-changing troubles for students who turn to this method of attaining condoms in a moment of need. While it may seem too diabolical for even the most initiated prankster and while it hasn’t been an issue in the past, the fact of the matter is that there is a huge risk being taken with this practice that is unnecessary. It sets a bad example for condom care and should, at the very least have a “use at your own risk” warning, although it may be better to just ban the practice altogether.
I don’t mean for my point of view on the subject to be an attack against any RAs who have provided their residents with this condom trough. I’m sure that they have everyone’s best interest and sexual health in mind. The idea behind this is sound; many people feel uncomfortable having to ask or be watched while they collect something as intimate as a condom. However, the risks of leaving condoms unattended in an extremely public and foot traffic heavy area while still claiming that they’re safe is dangerous and irresponsible for an otherwise sex-educated student body.
I believe that it is in the university’s best interest, as well as the best interest of the students, to ban this practice. While I don’t advocate making condoms less available to students in any way, I believe that ensuring the safety and reliability of the ones that are made available is of great importance. This blemish in our school’s safe sex initiative has been going unacknowledged for far too long. If residential life does not want to ban the practice, which is entirely their right as they may disagree with my point of view, then students should, at the very least, be aware of the risk that comes with getting condoms from an unguarded trough and understand that it is one of the least safe ways to obtain a condom on a campus that otherwise has several methods.