Education

‘Don’t depart for Spring Break unprepared!’ UVA holds ‘Condom Olympics’

This past Sunday, the University of Virginia held a ‘Condom Olympics.’

The event — staged and hosted by Faulkner Residential Staff and sponsored by Elson Student Health and Condomania — promised “free food, free games, free prizes, free condoms, free lube, and free online coupons”  as well as “information about proper condom use, safe and effective forms of birth control, STI testing, screening, and prevention, sex facts, and trivia.”

The Facebook group warned attendee’s, “Don’t depart for Spring Break unprepared!” and stated, “Booths and games will be staffed by local healthcare professionals as well as student leaders from around grounds.”

According to Christina Hadford, a third year student at UVA, “In actuality, neither healthcare professionals nor Peer Health leadership were present for the duration of the event. Rather, Resident Advisors (who, according to interviewed RAs, do not receive any substantial sexual health training) sat around posters decorated with condoms.”

The information on those posters came from sites that would be unlikely first choices to accrue sexual health including “Guyism: What Guys Need Who Would You Rather: Beyonce or Jennifer Aniston? and  14 mind-blowing things you need to know about threesomes.”

Condom Olympics staged at UVA

Condom Olympics staged at UVA – Young Americans Foundation

One of the stands included a “Wrap the cucumber” game so that people could get a grip on using a condom.

Wrap the cucumber game at UVA's Condom Olympics - Young Americans Foundation

Wrap the cucumber game at UVA’s Condom Olympics – Young Americans Foundation

A recent study published by the Kinsey Institute conducted by Justin Garcia and a team from SUNY Binghampton concluded that “Hookups are part of a popular cultural shift that has infiltrated the lives of emerging adults throughout the Westernized world” and in research to be published by the Journal of Sex Research, psychologist Melina Bersamin from Sacramento State University found that “College students who recently engaged in casual sex reported lower levels of self-esteem, life-satisfaction, and happiness compared to those students who did not have casual sex in the past month” and that “people who engaged in more hookups had greater psychological distress.”

Hadford says “the Condom Olympics perpetuates a false social norm that has proven utterly destructive to the UVA community and society.”

Despite being associated with the event, even the Department of Student Health at the Elson Student Health Center notes that, “Overestimating unhealthy behaviors and underestimating healthy behaviors can create internal pressure to behave a certain way.”

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