Why are some college students embarrassed to take free condoms

 

A container filled with free condoms sits on a counter at Health Servicesin Downs Hall.
By Annalise Knudson / published April 5
When students are usually offered free condoms they often times blush, turn their faces or avoid eye contact. Others will go out of their way to make sure that they will not be faced with the option of whether to take a free condom.
Talking about safe sex and condoms have always been a taboo topic, especially among young adults.
Professor of Health Education and author of the college textbook, “Sexual Health in a Diverse World,” Dr. Consuelo Bonillas said that there are many reasons why some college students would feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about taking free condoms when they are offered.
“Instead of being seen as protective for themselves and their sexual partner(s),someone may be concerned that receiving free condoms implies a lack of moral judgment, having multiple sexual partners and isn’t looking for a committed relationship or just wanting to‘hit it,’” she said.
Some students feel comfortable talking about their sexuality and relationships.Dr. Bonillas noticed a change in views related to sexual health since she first started teaching human sexuality in 1997.
“Men are still more likely or willing to mention that they are or have been in a sexual relationship,” she said. “Part of the reason is the double standard that society and we continue to allow to exist. Some women may be concerned about how others may perceive them if they share that they are or have been in a sexual relationship.”
Resident assistant (RA) Alex Rankin hosted one of his residential student services events named “Sex in the Elevator” on Feb. 21 in Burch Hall, one of the dorm buildings on Kean’s campus. The true meaning behind the provocative title was made in an effort to catch people’s attention, Rankin says.
Rankin sat in the elevator of the building starting at 9 p.m. where he asked students to take part in his trivia game.
“No one wants to face sexual awareness and wouldn’t stop at a table so I used the elevator to make it like a surprise game show,” he said. If they got a question correct within the time-span of the elevator ride, they won a prize.
“The prizes were candy and well,condoms!” Rankin said. “The choice was theirs to pick what they wanted but the goal was to raise awareness about STI’s [sexually transmitted infections] and the transmission, as well as safe sex. The condoms as a prize were given to be incentive that if you are sexually active, you should practice safe sex.”
After an hour, Rankin said he gave out about 28 total condoms to students and a lot of candy. Many students took both candy and condoms. Rankin received frequent comments
that he offered the “real” condoms. He said that he gave out popular brand name Trojan condoms, because most people know them as a leading brand in sexual contraceptive products.
“I want them to know that when they do make the choice to partake in sexual activities  there is a risk and that if they take that risk, they should be educated and have the proper supplies to do so safely,” he said.
According to Dr. Bonillas, brand name condoms are no different than non-brand name condoms.
“We live in a society that many of us only purchase specific brand names,”
Dr. Bonillas said. “Condoms are no different, but unlike brand names where one may purchase a better product, all condoms are created equal in regards to
efficacy.”
She also made the point that all condoms must pass stringent inspections
from both the manufacturer and by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in
the U.S. Kean’s Health Services offers free condoms to students. Upon entering
the health services office, condoms are found in a clear, plastic-enclosed container with the brand, Lovecondoms.org written on them.
While dropping off paper work, nineteen-year-old Erik Sanchez, a sophomore English Education major, found out for the first time that Kean’s Health Services offers free condoms.
“I saw [condoms] there and took some but I never went back,” Sanchez said. “I
usually go to CVS because I have their card and I get discounts. I would go back
if I ran out and if I’m broke.”
Kelsey Moran, 21, a junior Communications in Public Relations major, did not know that Kean offers free condoms until she was told by The Tower. Moran feels that buying a box of condoms is her piece of mind that they were not tampered with.
“I feel more comfortable buying them from a store because they are in a sealed
box,” she said.
Kean’s convenience store in the Miron Student Center also offers the option
to buy condoms, but students would have to ask the cashier for them before
paying because they are located behind the counter.
Free condoms at Kean’s Health Services are located at the front desk of  Downs Hall in room 126 where students check in for appointments. No questions are asked when taking condoms.
Health Services also offers free, confidential STI and HIV testing for Kean students, as long as students bring their health insurance card.
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