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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool

    “No glove, no love” is a tried and true, whimsically crude euphemism that stands the test of time, a jingle chanted by many generations of sex-ed instructors. This rhyme, and many like it, represent a choice. When consumed by present activities, there comes a time when a person can choose concern for the future or elect to skip the concern in the midst of sexual indulgence. 

    Though condoms appear to advertise sexual satisfaction, their utility and history prove to be so much more. As we usher in Valentine’s Day and this weekend of love, consider condoms. Saturday marks both a holiday of lust and lovemaking: National Condom Day.

    The history of condoms is a chronicle of hunger, desire, humor and fear. Tempered by upbeat and suggestive advertising, the road to the modern condom has been long in the making.

    “You might be surprised what people have used as condoms throughout history,” said Emily Kjesbo, senior account executive of condom brand SKYN.

    The history of condoms is too briefly told. Since the beginning of recorded time, bladders, animal membranes, sheaths and salve-coated clothes were used as male-contraceptive substitutes. Giacomo Casanova capriciously dubbed them “English frock coats,” in the 18th century, and more provocatively, early 20th century ad campaigns peddled condoms under names like “night caps” and “love socks.”

    However, the genesis of the modern-day Jimmy hat can be found in Charles Goodyear’s 19th century discovery, treatment and vulcanization of rubber. No matter how you wrap it, the basic purpose of condoms in history has been long standing. 

    Like the diseases they foil, condoms are an integral part of American history. In an effort to ward off venereal disease during World War I and World War II, the U.S. government initiated campaigns regarding the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. With over 18,000 soldiers benched in World War I for venereal disease alone, the U.S. government hastily adopted a pragmatic attitude.

    By distributing military “pro-kits,” which provided cleansing and protection for the troops, the U.S. government became the first in the battle to ward off STDs through the use of condoms. In more recent history, condoms provided a thin-but-effective barrier between health and disease during the onset of HIV and AIDS in the ’80s.

    Though campaigns advocating the use of condoms are as old as the product itself, there still exists a disconnect among sexually active consumers. Such campaigns pose questions regarding how the populace consumes sex media and sex advice.

    In an interview conducted by Vice’s Shanrah Wakefield with Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation founder and president, Weinstein claims that though condoms are as accessible as Q-tips, people still aren’t buying. 

    “Eighty percent of the battle is getting [people] to think about [sexual health],” Weinstein said. “We sell everything with sex, but we don’t want to admit people have sex.”

    Despite the prevention of possible pregnancy and unwanted disease, the condom often receives a bad rap. Viewed as a sacrifice in the moment, many young people choose to avoid the use of condoms and the implications they carry.

    According to a 2014 SKYN Sex Survey, 40 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds report not using condoms. Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims condoms are the second-most effective way to prevent STDs short of abstinence, a large portion of the population continues to shun them.

    The same 2014 SKYN survey reported 37 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds choose not to use condoms because they do not fear pregnancy, and 28 percent surveyed choose not to use condoms because they do not fear contracting STDs. 

    Though studies by the National AIDS Foundation found that couples that use condoms are 98 percent more likely to remain uninfected, STD stats nationwide remain high. With many in the younger generation basing much of their sexual-health knowledge off loose-leaf flyers passed out hastily in high school health or passing billboards on the interstate, it’s important to note that condoms are one of the cheapest and most effective means of protection for the sexually active. 

    When it comes to condoms and the discussion therein, young people and adults alike are quick to forget the reality of their utility. The truth of the matter is that condoms serve a very serious purpose in sex.

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    Follow Elise McClain on Twitter.

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