According to new information from the CDC today, condom use among sexually active teens has decreased by 4% since 2003. The statistic is troubling, especially since young people experience the highest HIV and sexually transmitted infection rates of any age group. So why are fewer teens using condoms? Well…maybe it’s because we’re telling them that condoms are bad all the time?
1. In 8 states, it’s actually illegal for schools to give high school students condoms.
In 33 states, schools don’t have to teach students anything about condoms and contraception. But some states go even further, making it actually illegal for schools to distribute or demonstrate condoms. Because did you know? Just SEEING a condom makes teens into crazed sex monsters.
2. Giving out condoms on campus? Prepare for a trip to the Dean’s office
Think once you get out of high school people chill out about condoms? Think again. Catholic and Evangelical private colleges around the nation ban condoms on campus. In 2013, students at Boston College were actually called to a disciplinary hearing for distributing free condoms. Condoms: they save lives, but are…too evil to hand out?
3. Twitter rejects ads for condoms
Twitter’s policy states that condoms are OK in some countries, but “adult sexual products and services” including “contraceptives” are banned. And they recently rejected a pretty tame ad for Lucky Bloke condoms. It’s not clear what their logic is, but it’s certainly anti-condom and anti-sexual-health.
4. Networks won’t run ads for condoms either
Major networks have no problem with sexy ads for shampoo, website providers, beer, deodorant, shoes, hamburgers, gum, bottled water, cars, portable speakers, and drain cleaner. But when it comes to condoms? They hesitate. In 2007, Fox and CBS each rejected a condom ad which didn’t even show condoms. Even now, condom commercials on television are rare.
5. “But what about the Pope? He likes condoms now, right?” Nope.
The Catholic Church still bans the use of condoms. For everyone. The Pope’s comment was that it “may” be morally better for a male prostitute to use them than to transmit or acquire HIV. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
6. The lady at the drugstore with her judgement eyes
Why is she sooooo mean? But worse than her bad attitude is: Some chain drugstores keep condoms locked up behind the counter, making an already kinda embarrassing transaction even more so.
7. Carrying condoms? You must be a prostitute!
Until very recently, carrying condoms in several major cities could be used as evidence of prostitution in major cities around the nation. In 2014, New York City’s police department partially ended the ban, but condoms can still be seized as evidence of “promotion of prostitution.” Human Rights Watch found that in 2012, Washington D.C, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Orleans were all confiscating condoms and using them as evidence – not only stigmatizing condoms, but putting the lives of sex workers at risk.
8. Not every mom is Amy Poehler in Mean Girls
Sure, Mrs. George isn’t the MOST effective parent, but at least she’s encouraging safer sex. Not every parent can say that. In fact, far too many don’t want to talk about condoms with their teens – which is sad, because research shows parents are the resource teens trust most.
9. The Fault in The Fault in Our Stars
Author John Green specifically included condoms in the book’s frank sex scene. In the movie—-no condoms. What gives? As any true nerdfighter knows, smart teens can and do use condoms. But the movie is just consistent with most TV shows and movies – which rarely show teens discussing or using condoms.
10. The one guy who DOES carry condoms gets so much crap about it.
Remember that time Zac Efron dropped a condom on the red carpet? And everyone was all “Embarrassing/gross/I demand an explanation”?
11. Condoms are freaking expensive.
Sure, Uncle Scrooge can afford all the condoms he needs. But if the school’s not giving them out, the cost of a box of condoms can be pretty steep for someone in high school.
12. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Everyone knows that condoms help protect against HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy. In Brazil, they give millions of them away every year at Carnivale (and have seen huge declines in HIV). In the Netherlands, it’s normal, even preferred, for teens to have condoms and carry condoms. In France and Germany, you see condom commercials all the time, and they’re hilarious. Let’s stop the madness and start creating a culture that celebrates, not stigmatizes, condoms.
13. ….And just because it can’t be said enough:
Visit Amplify to learn more about condoms and see how you can get involved in the youth reproductive and sexual health and rights movement.