Oppa Condom Style!
Unbeknownst to many, it seems that a large portion of college students these days are engaging in recreational sexual intercourse. Who knew? While this revelation may come as a shock to some, it seems that, at least at Wesleyan, the administration has been aware of this for quite some time. And what has the administration’s response to this epidemic been? An increase in funding for abstinence-only education, or decreasing the availability of birth control? No. While these ideas seem very sensible, the Wesleyan administration has gone to the other end of the sexy spectrum. There is a condom room in the Davison Health Center. And it was there that I went to investigate.
First let it be said that the Davison Health Center is not in a terribly convenient location. It is all the way at the end of High Street, a lengthy walk away from any of the dorms. That was the first thought that popped into my head as I made my way over there this Monday. If someone realized they needed a condom right before they were about to “get down to business,” there are few things that kill the mood faster than making your partner wait for 15 minutes while you sprint to the edge of campus to find one. So if the administration does want us to have sex, they don’t want to make it too easy for us.
When I finally arrived at the Health Center, a large, old, converted house, I felt a familiar racing in my heart and a shortness of breath associated with anxiety. It was that same slight nervousness that comes with standing in line to buy condoms at CVS—or so I am told. Even though one presumably uses condoms to have sex—the single coolest thing one can do—I still felt like a dork knowing I was going to have to ask for them.
I entered the Health Center and found myself in what was essentially a doctor’s office waiting room. Students sat around filling out forms while staff bustled to and fro. All I wanted was to see the condom room, but it wasn’t in the main area so I began to look around. “You’ll have to fill out a form and wait right here,” said a woman from behind the counter.
“Oh, no, no, I’m just here for the condoms,” was the reply that leapt to mind, but propriety prevented me from saying it. “I’m actually just looking for something in the Health Center,” I said, avoiding all use of the word “condom” in such an open waiting room. Not that I was embarrassed—I just didn’t want to say it, okay!
Just then an administrator walked by and I was told to talk to her. “Yes, um, could you please tell me where the, um, where the condoms are?” I asked in the sincerest voice I could muster.
“Take a left here, all the way down the hall,” she said, completely unfazed. Unlike the greasy-haired 17-year-old boy who works all CVSs across the country, it seems like the Wesleyan staff is perfectly comfortable with the notion that someone needs to get hir hands on some contraceptives.
So I went down the hall, not exactly sure of what I would find, and saw to my surprise a real wall of condoms. Two walls, in fact. I thought “wall of condoms” was just an expression, but when Wesleyan encourages its students to have sex, it apparently goes all out.
The condom wall was split in two by the doorway. The various “devices” were arranged in little plastic bins stuck to the wall. In fact, the whole set-up looked vaguely like the candy wall at the back of Weshop. Think about that the next time you buy your chocolate-covered pretzels. I moved in closer to examine the wall to the right. The collection was extensive.
Trojan regular condoms, Trustex condoms, and Trojan Magnum condoms for those days when you’re feeling extra-excited. Condoms were clear, blue, and green (no black though, my guess is they know black is very slimming and don’t want to hurt our chances). But more than just condoms, there was also lube (regular and water-based, how thoughtful!) and spermicide.
I looked over to the other section of the wall. This section had not only female condoms, but also the rarely-seen dental dam. Everything for men is also available for women. It’s good to know that even in matters of barrier-based contraception, Wesleyan is unabashedly egalitarian.
The degree of choice presented to me was enormous. I could prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs in so many ways.
I transferred to Wesleyan last year from a southern school of some note. It was not an overly conservative school by any means, but the health service center only had condoms available upon request. And there was certainly not the choose-your-own-adventure type of variety that I saw before me now. Plus, in my year down there I never once heard of anyone going to the health center for that purpose. But while I was at the Davison Health Center and I saw this with my own eyes—the bins of two different types of condoms had to be refilled. So even if the administration is encouraging us to have sex, we seem perfectly willing to comply.