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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The price of safer sex

    The price of safer sex

    While most students are usually found shopping in the bargain bins at their local retail stores or buying the newest and trendiest threads, it is not always the same for everything – especially when it comes to condoms.

    Though a wide variety of condoms exist: for her pleasure, scented, flavored or ribbed, students said most times, they will pick a condom mainly for the most important purposes for which they were created: to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

    “”You normally don’t spend too much time in the condom section looking at which one you’re going to buy,”” said Alex Feldman, a film studies sophomore. “”But I assume different people like different things.””

    In a February survey done by Consumer Reports, over 23 different condom brands and styles were tested for strength and reliability. These two factors were tested by filling condoms with air to see which had higher breaking points, and almost all of them held about the same amount of 25 liters of air before reaching critical mass.

    All sampled brands received either a grade of “”very good”” or “”excellent”” in both categories – except those that were of assorted colors and given out free of charge from Planned Parenthood.

    This was good news for UA students, who said they usually didn’t buy uniquely styled condoms and preferred going with condoms that were higher in price.

    “”It’s serious business, so you’re not going to go with a 99-cent condom,”” Feldman said.

    And most students said name brands were something they tended to look for when purchasing condoms.

    “”If I were to use condoms (and not on birth control ), I guess I would use Trojans, because that’s the most popular brand,”” said Katie Koskela, a nutritional sciences freshman.

    Leeann Hamilton, a health promoter at Campus Health, said she believes certain brands tend to stand out more for people when purchasing condoms.

    “”I believe that some students tend to feel better with name brands like the ones we carry at our pharmacy – particularly Trojan because they’ve been around for so long,”” she said. “”They have great name brand recognition.””

    But other students said it often doesn’t matter what brand of condom a person uses, just as long as they use one.

    “”Generally people don’t care. Just recently, a bunch of my friends went to Costco to get their condoms, so I don’t think they care which ones they use, rather they can trust that it is a contraceptive,”” said Alex Vega, a journalism freshman. “”I mean, you don’t really know until your girlfriend’s pregnant.””

    Koskela agreed that students probably look less toward novelty condoms and just go with what works.

    “”I think they’re kind of like marketing scams, because there’s so many different kinds of them, but usually, I think if a guy is going to buy them, they’re going to buy whatever, like, ‘Oh, it’s a condom; I don’t really care,'”” Koskela said.

    Vega said that in his opinion, it matters less which condom is chosen, as long as it is used the right way.

    “”As long as you’re responsible, it should work out OK,”” Vega said. “”I mean, obviously if it tears or something, it won’t be that effective.””

    But what happens when it comes down to guess and check?

    Hamilton said that many times it isn’t really the condom, and students run into problems simply because they aren’t exactly using them properly.

    “”I had one student tell me he rolled one all the way on backwards, and then realized and went to flip it over and put it on again,”” she said. “”I thought, that must have taken some work.””

    But Hamilton said as obvious as some mistakes may be, students really need to follow basic warnings, such as don’t reuse condoms, don’t use condoms past the expiration date and don’t store them in wallets since condoms are sensitive to heat damage.

    Sex health information from Campus Health also suggests to never use anything sharp to open a condom, and to make sure to pinch the tip to allow a space for semen to pass at the head.

    “”Most students also now know that water-based lubricants are the only kind to use with latex condoms,”” Hamilton said. “”Using oil-based products such as baby oil or Vaseline can cause the condom to weaken and tear.””

    But with uncertainties always present about which condoms work better most of time or which have better track records, the most one can do is just pick a condom that feels right.

    “”The best condoms to use are ones that you feel comfortable with and will use each and every time from start to finish,”” Hamilton said. “”Some students seem more concerned about pregnancy protection than STD protection, but if a student has a penis or is having sex with a penis, it’s important to put a condom on it.””

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