The O Face: The decline in condoms use


Photo credit: David Molina

Rachel Reyes and David Molina

When first-years moved into their new halls, some resident advisors welcomed them with lanyards, water bottles, coupons to restaurants or my personal favorite: free condoms.

One of the most freeing things to do while in college is having the ability to explore and live life according to one’s own rules. Many students feel the most freedom when it comes to being able to have sex whenever and with whoever they want.

But how safe are college students being?

As the years progress, condoms are becoming less relevant when participating in sexual activity. NPR released an article that covers a research study conducted by Shankar Vedantam. He states that some students are more likely to have unprotected, casual sex as they progress through college.

The study continues to say that there’s an abrupt drop in condom use that occurs specifically between first-years and sophomore years, and thereafter, their condom use remains stable.

Chico State has programs such as Not Anymore and presentations set up by RAs to inform first-years about the dangers of drinking and having unprotected sex. These events are mandatory for first-years to attend, which is probably why most first-years are more likely to use condoms than an upperclassman. He also mentions that seniors are about two-and-a-half times as likely to have unprotected, casual sex as first-year students.

Condoms are used to protect people from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. With free birth control at the Student Health Center or Planned Parenthood, many women will take advantage of these free resources and contraceptives. Some will even believe that because they’re already preventing unwanted pregnancies, the use of condoms is unnecessary.

Many people use condoms because there is no other way to prevent STDs or HIV, but it is also important to remain safe by receiving monthly checkups for such diseases. If a person knows their consistent partner is always safe, then the use of condoms seems to be. Those in monogamous relationships use birth control more often than condoms.

The last couple times I’ve had sex, condoms were never discussed. That was fine with me. I was seeing someone consistently, knowing I was protected by birth control and safe in regards to STDs. Reflecting on my first year, I realized I wasn’t asking about condoms as much as I did when I first started having sex in college.

Condoms are the safest way to go when sexually active. However, as college students engage in more sexual activity, it’s not the end of the world if condom use is becoming less prominent.

Many people have stopped using condoms because of laziness. Hookups are often unplanned, and although the presumption is that many people should have a condom in their wallet or purse for future purposes, not everyone really takes the time to do so.

Limited condom use should be an incentive for students to be safe, ask if their partner is clean and find the time to get checked out regularly.

Rachel Reyes can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.