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Condoms, lube and dental dams oh my

MEGAN MILLER / THE STATESMAN
Resident Assistants are in charge of distributing condoms, dental dams and STD prevention materials to all students within their residence hall. MEGAN MILLER / THE STATESMAN

Sex, drugs and alcohol. This magical trifecta is usually used to describe college life, often negatively and by people who may not have any idea what they are talking about.

But, at the most technical level, they are not wrong.

Sex, drugs and alcohol are a very real part of college life, but just how big of a part these things play is up to you. And seeing how drugs are illegal and most of us can not drink until our last couple of semesters, sex is all that is left. And that too is a choice, up to you and you alone.

But, other factors will come into play; peer pressure and the worry that “everyone is doing it [literally] and you are not.” Regardless, the decision is still yours.

One the many jobs of a Resident Assistant is to help you make that decision safely. Which basically translates to “We have a bunch of condoms and stuff, if you need them, ask. No judgment, I promise.”

Every college office in every residence hall has some sort of receptacle that is filled to the brim with what can be collectively referred to as HIV Prevention Materials.

It is the RA’s duty to hand these materials out and make them available for any and all students to use.
Amazingly, I have only seen people come in to the office specifically to get something out of there only two or three times throughout a whole semester and I am not sure why. It could be that most people buy their own condoms. Maybe people feel awkward coming into the office for condoms.

To that, I say that sex is a natural thing and no one should be ashamed about it. Safe sex is important and the materials are there for anyone who needs them. That is why we have so many. Like seriously, a lot. Let me try to paint a picture for you.

RAs get their first huge bag full of condoms during their summer training. This will usually last you the whole semester, if not longer. In that bag are dental dams, lube and female condoms as well as Ultra-Lubricated, Ultra-thin and Ultra-Sensitive Lifestyles condoms. It is literally a bag of everything you need and a lot of things you did not know existed.

Why every type of Lifestyles is prefixed with the word Ultra is a mystery (Maybe it is an Ultra-Mystery). In addition to their starter bags, RAs can request additional condoms to be given out at programs they put on. We usually get a bunch of the little BYOC (bring your own condom) packets that each have safe sex-ed information and a few condoms. Personally, I have about 200 to 300 condoms leftover from my programs. They are just sitting there.

RAs are given these materials so we can make them available to the residents, but let’s be honest; most of the time, the materials are used for messing around: for condom balloons and such. Let me give you a breakdown of what exactly goes into these “condom bowls” and what they actually end up getting used for.
First up are condoms. Now, typically condoms just get stretched over people’s arms or blown into balloons (sometimes with faces drawn on), but you can also actually flick an unopened condom like you would a playing card. They get some pretty good distance too. Next up are dental dams. These are stretched over your mouth to make funny faces.

Finger cots are only used for showing to people who have never heard of or seen them (imagine individual condoms for each of your fingers).

Same thing with female condoms. Whether or not this indicates a lack of proper sexual education in schools is an entirely different, and important, discussion. The only thing that does not get used for jokes is the rare packet of lube you might find in one of those bowls.

And, on the even rarer occasion that you find a condom in the bowl that is not a Lifestyle (I will not even mention the possibility of finding a Trojan for fear of jinxing it for the whole campus), people will not throw those around. They will usually fight over them.

So what am I getting at here? Well, I know that the RAs, myself included, are here to help you guys. We have the materials here to make sure that you guys have safe sex instead of unprotected, unsafe sex, and we have a lot of them. Do not be ashamed if you come to us looking for all of the aforementioned products because there purpose is to be used by students just like you.

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