Whose responsibility is it to carry condoms?


The condom is like the Swiss army knife of protected sex:  in one unit, you’ve got protection that can be used for a variety of situations, for a variety of sex acts, for a variety of partnerships.

Condoms are the only contraceptive method that helps prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Male condoms can be used on men during oral, vaginal and anal sex; female condoms can be used in women during vaginal sex and anal sex. With a quick snip, both male and female condoms can also be converted to dental barriers for use during oral-anal and oral-vaginal sex.

But in the heat of the moment, who provides the condoms?

There are plenty of people who would argue that it’s a particular person’s “job” to have condoms available: “the guy’s responsibility”; “the girl’s responsibility”; “’responsibility of whoever initiates sex”, etc.

There are no rules out there about who needs to buy or bring safer sex supplies. In theory, if it’s a shared goal to prevent pregnancy and/or STI, then it’s a shared responsibility to do things to prevent those outcomes.

Of course, in practice we at Campus Health Services (CHS) recognize that there are lots of reasons why people don’t have condoms available. Condoms can be expensive. Acquiring condoms before sex requires some planning and foresight. Additionally, for many, condoms can be kind of embarrassing to get or buy. Having them available makes some people nervous that their partner will think they’re promiscuous.

Luckily, CHS makes it easy to get condoms for those who want them! First, they’re FREE to students, so no need to worry about cost. Second, they’re available at various locations in fishbowls and examination rooms throughout CHS, and provided free of charge to most students through their resident advisors or housing communities.

Here at CHS, we strongly believe that sex is a healthy part of relationships and there shouldn’t be shame or judgment associated with having sex or acquiring condoms on campus. We also believe that having condoms does not make you or your partner promiscuous; it makes you prepared. If you’re shy about getting condoms at fishbowls in campus health locations, reach out to a Sexual Wellness Specialists (formerly CHECS)(sexperts@unc.edu) and we’ll hook you up with condoms privately.

And for tips on how to discuss sex (and condom use) with your partner, see our previous blog post on conversation with sex partners.

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