Condoms on demand

Today, Missouri Student Association leaders  proudly announced via email that my voice has been heard! They are pleased to announce the implementation of the pilot Sexual Health and Safety Products Initiative (a.k.a. condom initiative). After two years of debate and deliberation, there are now six sneaky and strategically placed condom dispensers in centrally located dorms at MU.

I’m not sure what this has to do with my voice, as I don’t recall ever wandering up and down the halls of Gillett as a freshman bemoaning the dire lack of available condoms. I suppose I’m in the minority though.

I couldn’t resist their invitation at the end of the email: “If you are curious and want to see a sample of the products being dispensed, please visit the SHAPE website.” I learned a lot. For starters, SHAPE stands for Sexual Health Advocate Peer Education. Now I know. I have to say, I was impressed that the first section on their educational page is on abstinence. Of course, it was set up alphabetically. Abstinence comes way before safe sex in the dictionary. Now you know.

Anyway, as a big fan of abstinence, I’ve been wondering how to feel about this whole condom initiative. The SHAPE website seemed pretty decent, non-biased, and helpful to students of any background, so that’s good. There’s probably a lot of wisdom in the theory that college kids are gonna have sex no matter what anyone does or says, so we should at least make sure they are having safer sex. It’s impossible for even a very naive person to think that most college kids aren’t having sex. I’m not one of those people who thinks if you’re having sex before marriage you deserve an STD or unplanned pregnancy or anything like that, so maybe I should be glad the condoms are easily available now.

On the other hand, is it possible that having condoms so readily available in the dorms encourages spur of the moment sex? I mean, how hard is it to walk into a gas station, WalMart, Walgreens, or anywhere else to buy a box of condoms? If you’re planning on having sex, maybe you should plan on having some condoms ready. I don’t know, maybe I’m being silly or naive. While people must be free to make their own decisions, can’t we agree as a society that big decisions (like whether or not to have sex) should be made after some sort of responsible consideration? If you couldn’t take the time to go out and buy condoms, and absolutely cannot wait but must have sex right now, I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that maybe you haven’t put a whole lot of planning or thought into your decision. Condoms on demand: saving students from planning ahead. After all, thinking about your actions beforehand is just such hard work.

I’m sure a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this, and you have that right. Honestly, I’m still figuring out my opinion and would love to hear arguments for and against my initial reactions. Any and all comments are welcome. (PS- Don’t be afraid to not be anonymous. I’m not.)

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About Nicole

Daughter of God, wife, mother, volunteer youth leader, substitute teacher, aspiring writer, rabbit owner, nature lover. These are some of my titles.
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14 Responses to Condoms on demand

  1. mike says:

    Wow, so does everybody that goes to mizzou have to pay for them to stock these things even if they live off campus? I wouldn’t want to pay for other people to be having spur of the moment sex, which is pretty much what is going to result from this initiative.

  2. Stephanie says:

    hey! so, these keep popping up on my little facebook intro page and so I read them (because anything’s better than homework and studying and “college” stuff, not that I’m not pleased as punch to read this) and, since I read the same email (and actually went looking on their website for what products were now available…didn’t find them though) and had some thoughts on the matter, and since I couldn’t find a place on facebook except your wall to post a comment and would rather not write there for reasons known only to myself (the overseeing eye wink wink) and since I’m currently working on the longest run-on sentence ever (this entire thing is one sentence) I thought I might post a comment here.
    so, I read that email and I’m personally for it. I was excited to hear about it when I lived in virginia avenue last year and was disappointed they didn’t implement it in the time frame they said they would. not that I’d use it, but I think every precaution should be taken. “planned” sex isn’t really that likely in all cases and might be considered sleezy, and last minute protection’s unlikely. I mean, if someone’s in the heat of the moment they’re not likely to go running out to a store. they’re probably not likely to go running down to some corner of the residence hall (or ask directions, as the email seemed to imply should be done) for something, but if they’re so inclined, I think it should be an option. I’d say put the dispensers right in the room if it stopped the spread of disease! although I can see many many water balloon condom wars in the near future…

  3. Rachel says:

    Stephanie – “Planned sex isn’t all that likely”? Elaborate?

    I half agree with most of what Nikki is saying. I think it’s kind of ridiculous to have condom dispensers in a dorm hall. Like you said, go out and buy some, it’s not that hard and you should be thinking about the decision enough to be prepared. Plus, I would be too embarrassed to get it out of a dispenser in my hall … but that’s just me. I’m not the one who has to buy them at Walgreens either, haha.

    The other half of me disagrees, because I feel as if it’s a good idea for couples who have already made the decision to have sex and maybe run out of condoms once in a while. I suppose it depends on your life views of sex – I think spur of the moment sex with random people is stupid, and I guess that’s the part of me that thinks the dispenser idea is stupid. Then again, they’ll do it anyway, so if it’s an easier way for them to be safe, I guess it’s a good idea.

  4. Emily says:

    That is a good point. But maybe instead of encouraging ‘spur-of-the-moment’ sex, perhaps they’re encouraging the availability of condoms to people who might be embarrassed to go buy them, or were expecting the other partner to have them. Now, that’s not addressing the fact that if you’re too embarrassed to admit you’re having sex, then maybe you shouldn’t be–but still, fostering an attitude that encourages safer sex, and making it the norm to use condoms if you’re having sex might be a healthier attitude than not.

    It’s not ideal, to be sure–and I am a fan of abstinence, too–but a major way to decrease abortion (among other issues) is to encourage safer sex.

  5. Stephanie says:

    elaborate? if it were always planned, it wouldn’t be called “getting lucky” 🙂

  6. Stephanie says:

    and that smiley turned out more creepy than it looked before the emoticon took over : ) (far less creepy) why does the smiley face have to leer? completely inappropriate for this issue.

  7. Nicole says:

    Are you saying that planned sex is sleazier than “getting lucky?” I’m confused.

  8. Stephanie says:

    noooo, I’m saying that people who carry condoms in their pockets are sleazy (and completely defeating the purpose of condoms considering how temperature sensitive they are, they do not belong in pockets or wallets or…I can’t think of another option. I’m sure a purse would be safe but who carries them in their purse?) I’m not sure if I consider someone who carries a condom in their purse sleazy or not.

  9. Stephanie says:

    …um… but the sleaziness was far from my point, it was just a side note

  10. Nicole says:

    That makes a little more sense.

  11. Mere says:

    I think that it’s a good idea to have the dispenser. Regardless of what any of us believe (and it seems that we are mostly of the same opinion for abstinence), there are a ton of people, especially on college campuses, that are going to have sex. And some of them will probably do it even without a condom. So, I think it’s important that there’s an option. If they’re easily available then maybe people who otherwise wouldn’t really care will take a few minutes to walk downstairs and get one. Another point: I think that at this age, people have already made up their minds and they’re not going to change them dramatically. So I don’t think that not having condoms available would keep people from having sex. Perhaps at a younger age it might help to focus more on abstinence, but I still think that better safe (sex) than sorry.

  12. Jon says:

    As a farm kid, I learned the facts of life watching the hogs go at it in the barnyard. Looking back on those days from a more enlightened perspective, I realize now how marvelously advanced are the sexual ethics of ordinary barnyard swine. For one thing, they are not inhibited in the least by the prudish and oppressive institution of marriage that so plagues us humans. No farmer ever lectures a pig, “Now, Wilbur, before you go and do the deed with that cute little female over there, you need to give her your solemn pledge as a manly pig to love and nurture and care for her and her young for the rest of your life.” None of that. Instead, it’s a total free-for-all with whomever, whenever, and wherever they want. Surely it must be liberating. Even more importantly, the farmers have performed an indescribable service to the pigs by having them sterilized, thus eliminating the risk of unwanted piglets, because, as we all know, caring for one’s offspring is an intolerable burden that interferes with the far more important pursuit of incessant genital stimulation. So hats off to you, Mizzou officials. By providing free contraceptives in convenient locations, you have followed the lead of hog farmers and bestowed upon your students a level of dignity heretofore reserved only for swine.

  13. Nicole says:

    By the way, all of the automatically generated links to this article are interesting.

    And if you really wanna say something and won’t unless you’re anonymous, that’s ok. I want everyone to have their voice heard. Thanks to those of you who aren’t afraid to use your name 🙂

  14. Nicole says:

    This comment is in regard to stats, cuz I want to brag 😉
    I guess if you don’t worry too much about the stats, they will worry about themselves.

    Yesterday my blog got 132 visits, which is small by blog standards but huge by my standards. Everyone is pretty interested in this condom business. Of course, I prostitute my blog on Facebook, which is where I get almost all of my traffic from. But hats off to everyone who’s reading and commenting. I’m quite pleased.

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