Using a condom has become as optional as getting fries with your fast food over the past two decades, due to both medicinal and cultural advances in society.
As recently as fifteen years ago, the predominant method of contraception enforced upon the sexually active population was the condom. Especially due to the outbreak of HIV, condom sales and enforcements were through the roof. In fact, a positive HIV diagnosis was essentially a death sentence.
“This condom could save your life was the focus,” said Tara Misra, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at Colorado College.
Now that the virus is (more) controlled and treated, Americans don’t consider the lack of condoms alarming.
“That is a silver lining about the HIV epidemic – it’s brought into the forefront of our consciousness, and I feel that going through that as a culture, we have a little more permission to talk about sexual health,” said Misra.
Along with that right comes more exploration in the medical fields and even in the media. For example, the new Brobamacare campaign (created by former Colorado College students) confronts topics such as birth control in a casual manner.
One advertisement reads: “OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance.”
Considering the fact that former propaganda included posters that read, “The pill is a no-no,” society is progressing towards promoting a more open environment for all aspects of sexual health.
With more accessible birth control for women as well as men, any relationship can be protected with variable options – and it doesn’t end at birth control pills. Women can get a number of forms of birth control through their insurance and even emergency contraception over the counter.
Previously, the age requirement for emergency contraception was 18 but, due to recent studies, it has been pushed back to 17 in some states and even no age restrictions in others.
“I believe that the push for exposure to sexual education in schools is crucial,” said freshman Jenna Murray. “When a person’s first time rolls around, you want both parties informed about what’s about to go down. Who wants to go in there completely blindfolded? Unless you’re into that.”
Unfortunately, a fair share of sex-ed does not come from professionals or even family. Instead, media and peers have taken over as the predominant source of information for innumerable individuals.
“I think porn affects condom usage because you never see porn stars use condoms. A lot of people’s main source of sex education is unfortunately from porn, and porn fails to incorporate the presence of condoms, let alone information on how to properly use them,” said Savannah Johnson, head of Colorado College’s FemCo and OrgasmiCC.