Feel Great

The Condom Problem

by Gina Colonette, blogger

We might be older, but we sure aren’t smarter. The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) proves it—it tested 5,865 participants and what it found might be a bit shocking, so brace yourself. As age increases condom usage decreases. Where have we gone wrong?

There were 267 males and 195 females between the ages of 18 and 24 who participated in the survey. The NSSHB combed over the participants past ten vaginal sexual encounters. Surprisingly, teens between the ages of 14 and 17 had the highest percentage of condom usage, 79.1% and 58.1% for males and females respectively. Meanwhile, older college-age kids, had a significantly lower percentage. 45% of males, and 38.7% of women (ages 18-24) reported using a condom.

Condom usage was higher among unmarried adults, higher among teens than adults, and higher among black and Hispanic individuals when compared to other racial groups. I have to scratch my head for a second—don’t adults teach teens about condoms, and how to use them? Shouldn’t we take our own advice?

Let’s not forget why we have condoms in the first place.  Condoms are used to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Need I get more graphic? Condoms can prevent a six-pound baby from growing inside a woman’s uterus and sores from sprouting on a man’s penis. I’m just saying, condoms sounds like a good deal to me.

The result of people not using condoms is actually quite scary. This year, more than 19 million sexually transmitted infections (diseases) are estimated to occur in the United States. That’s one too many, when the transmission of STDs can easily be prevented. Half of those infected are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. That’s us! One half of all pregnancies in the United States are unwanted. Meanwhile, there are about 1.1 million Americans living with HIV.

For five dollars a box, you can prevent spreading STIs. (STD’s) Since we have condoms available for free at SU, even better. Have you ever heard of a condom king or queen? Every floor in the dorms can designate a person to keep a condom stash on their door. So, when you need one, walk by room 112 (or whatever) and grab a couple, and stuff them in your bag. Bingo! If you don’t have a condom king or queen, take a stand and vote yourself into the position. If you live off campus, simply be responsible for yourself, go to the health center and fill your pockets up with condoms, but don’t tell them I sent you! Be responsible for your sexual health—the consequences of not are too great.