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How Ohio State’s “Condom Club” is Promoting Inclusive, Safe Sex — One Prophylactic at a Time

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January 29, 2014

One of the first things I did when I set foot on to the Ohio State University campus was sign up for “Condom Club” membership. “Condom Club” briefly known as “Safer Sex Society” is the place on campus to get almost all things a person might need to have safe sex. Oh and they also provide free sex-ed workshops to students.

Ohio State is home to about 60,000 students. The presence of  “Condom Club” on campus is very important. For me, the Club has been instrumental in my sexual education and practice. (Fun fact: the very first lube I ever used was from the “Condom Club”). The Club is about more than providing students with prophylactics. For some like myself, attending one of “Condom Club’s” safe sex workshops was their first introduction to anything resembling comprehensive sex education.

The “Condom Club” has an office in the student health center where students can go to get supplies. And they also throughout the school year  do sex ed workshops where fellow student sexperts (sexperts is the name of the sex education experts) come to classes, club meetings and the like to talk about sex education. The club’s sex education has gotten more and more inclusive over the years. I remember my freshman year when it was mostly centered around penetrative heterosexual sex to now where in addition to that, sexperts talk about dental  dams and finger gloves. The last workshop of theirs I attended (September 2013) I learned new information about STIs. As someone who has a compulsive need to attend any and all sex ed workshops, I didn’t think there was anything about STIs that I didn’t already know.

I spoke with Kelsey Perkins, the Graduate Administrative Associate who coordinates Condom Club programming to learn more about the club.

 

When did the Condom Club start?

1996-97.

How did the Condom Club start?

The Condom Club began as an effort to connect students with accurate educational information about sexual risk reduction.  Additionally, one challenge for students is finding affordable condoms and barriers at retail stores.  The Condom Club connects students to affordable, reliable protection at a convenient location.

How many students are served each year?

In the Fall 2013 semester, we have had approximately 1200 sales (so far). That said, I am uncertain how many of those students are repeat customers.

What products do you offer?

We currently offer more than 10 styles of condoms, including ultra-sensitive, ribbed & studded, non-latex, flavored, larger-size, and snugger fit.  Brands include Trojan, Lifestyles, and Trustex. Condom Club members can purchase up to 25 condoms for $5. We also have flavored oral dams; members can purchase 8 oral dams for $5.  Finally, we carry finger cots, latex gloves, and flavored & unflavored lubricant, which are all free for Condom Club members.

What was the reason behind the name change from condom club to safer sex society?

This semester, we tried changing the name from the Condom Club to the Safer Sex Society in an effort to be more inclusive toward all sexual behaviors and sexual orientations. However, we have found that the Condom Club brand is so well-established that the name change hurt our sales.  For that reason, we have chosen to stick with “Condom Club,” while making a more deliberate effort to provide education about the use of other barriers.  The content of our educational presentations has been revised to address risk reduction behaviors for all sexualities. Additionally, we began making oral dams available in larger quantities to better accommodate the needs of our LGBTQ student population.

 

“Condom Club” is not perfect, but I really appreciate that they acknowledge that there are varied sexual behaviors and orientations. And they are committed to doing something about it. How many universities can say the same?

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