the condom conundrum

Halfway through my first year of high school, the halls were abuzz with talk of the new apparatus in the bathrooms. It wasn’t another tampon dispenser. With this machine, if you slipped in a quarter, out came a condom.

Upon hearing this, my friend Jenny and I decided to make a pilgrimage to the bathroom during lunch. There we diligently fed the coin slot, got condoms in return, and did what most thirteen-year-olds with prophylactics will do: we blew them up, bonked each other over the head then ran from the bathroom shrieking.

We did not, as some folks fear, sidle up to the closest pubescent prospect and announce that we were ready to have sex.

That concern was recently raised in Colorado after schools in Denver considered making condoms available to students. Some members of the community thought this was a great idea. Others did not. As a member of the group, Colorado Right to Life explained, "[Providing condoms in schools] will encourage more sexual activity." In reality, the opposite appears to be true. For a long time, research has shown that school condom availability does not lead to an increase in sexual activity.

Not only that, but a new study even discovered that teens who use condoms the first time they have sex have no more sexual partners than teens who don’t. Not surprisingly, condom users were also found to have lower rates of STDs than non-users.

If you’re a high school student, it’s worth finding out what your school’s policy on condoms is. Once you find out, feel free to share with us. I can’t speak for the rest of the gURLs, but I know I’d love to know.

Photo provided by moxiee


Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • dede

    I LIVE IN A BIG TOWN IN LAKELAND FLORIDA WE DO NOT HAVE A CONDOM MACHENE BUT IM IN MIDDLE SCHOOL I GO TO LHMS AND THEY EMPTIED OUT ALL THE PAD AND TAMPON MACHENES

  • Emma

    I think it's totally natural to have condom dispensers in high schools. Why not? the only thing I think is ridiculous is the fact that those also exist in states with statutory rape laws- but that's a different subject. Hell, if they can have an IPOD AND DIGITAL CAMERA DISPENSER in my local MACYS, why not have something as innocent and cheap in a school? Honestly, if I had one of those, I'd buy a whole bunch, fill them up with ranch dressing, then throw some at people. Then maybe get a few and stash them at my house, just in case. It's not as demonic as all those anti-condom, anti-sex, anti-living breathing or laughing people see it.

  • crazyloverblue

    I wish my school had a condom dispenser like the one you speak of. When i first heard about these dispensers i thought what a joke but now i think it could help prevent a lot of unprotected sex from going on. People are going to have sex with or without this dispenser. Hormones are hormones and teenagers are full of them. We don't even have tampon or pad dispensers at our school and i think you have to go see the nurse for that or ask a friend. How embarrassing. And buying condoms isn't such a easy thing to do either. You have to go somewhere where you don't run into someone you know or knows your parents and you have to buy enough to last you for a while. There is no casual way to buy condoms when you're 15 or *gasp* younger. Most people think kids that age should not have sex but i think its okay if you're ready for the consequences and use protection and love the person you are with. I, myself, am deeply in love with my bf, use condoms and birth control pills and am aware of what happens and how my life would change if i got pregnant in the next week. And we have discussed what i would do and what would go on.

  • kayla d

    our school dose not have a condom dispencer but if they did then their would not be 15 girls prego in our school so if u ever want a condom dont go to lake worth isd (texas)

  • Roxanne

    Nope, my high school definitely does not have a condom dispenser. Then again, we also don't have tampons or pads in the bathrooms either. I think there's a rule or something that if you need one, you go to the office and pay a dollar (insane, I know). Of course, I'm pushing 18 and still I would blow the condoms up and throw them around school. Possibly some schools want to avoid the improper use of contraceptives?

  • jILL

    I think this is a great idea. When I was in high school a few years ago, there were plenty of girls who were having sex, and I'm sure a lot of them needed condoms. I don't think it would encourage sexual activity so much as protect the people who already indulge.

  • Baillie

    I think condoms machines are an awesome idea. TEENS HAVE SEX. A LOT. Let's face it, it's happening! So why not do it safely?

  • I live i SIN CITY…and we dont have condom despencers but we do have a project…IN MIDDLE SCHOOL…where we have to carry around 10 pound babies (you can use 10 pounds of anything) that is the form of "birth control" they give us. And in high school i believe you can go to the nurses office and get some condoms BUT at the same point i'm sure that ifhe condom broke they would blame it on the nurse.
    I believe that parents go around "the talk" too lightly or in the wrong way.
    My mom tried to talk to me but i felt i was just another one her pacients. She is a doctor and it was too akward to finish the talk.
    Then i got a life coach but i told her i had been raped (so true, twice too many times) and so instead of talking and bringing out condoms she told me how other parents talk about sex to their kids.
    And as for my boyfriend, well his mother gave him "the talk", which is good in away because his dad wants him to have sex but it was also like |your kid is freaking 16 and willbe 17 in 2 months and you have the first talk NOW?| but then his step dad started talking about his first love saying "i was in love when i was 17 and we went all the way and i ejuaculted in her" HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS?!?! then they gave him a grocery bag full f condoms.
    Anyways i believe i have learned more about sex and the correct use of protection here and through expreirence than i ever have.

  • kira

    Girls should be educated about birth control when they are old enought to get pregnant: when or before they get their first period. That may be a nine year old girl. You may look at her and think that she's so cute. She can't be interested in sex could she? Well she won't look so cute pregnant. She may not be interested. She could get convinced by a male classmate that unprotected sex is healthy. Girls deserve to be educated.
    I remember learning what sex is and how it works. It wasn't from a responsible adult. It was from a male peer. I remember thinking it seems cool and enjoyable and that I should try it whenever I'd get my first boyfriend. I knew nothing of STIs, STDs, or pregnancy risks. I was actually convinced that the man had to make a special fertalizer and use it during sex to get the girl pregnant. I'm lucky I didn't get my first boyfriend until some time after I was educated enough to decide that sex isn't right for right now.
    It's scary to think how different my life'd be-how much it'd suck-if I'd gotten pregnant.

  • I go to a nice New Orleans public school where we do not have condom dispensers. Honestly, if there were a condom dispenser at my school, I would be more likely to have sex. That is ONLY if it were up to me to get the condoms and he couldn't.
    At my current school they main phrase they use when referring to birth control is "abstinence is key." I disagree with this phrase. If someone wants to have sex, they will. Saying abstinence is the way to go will not convince them. Display the risks and how to combat them (with birth control) so students can make educated, responsible choices.
    At my old school (a New Orleans private school), they were much more liberal. However, I didn't like their approach either. I remember being a fifth grader instructed on the basics of penises (what is sperm, the difference between erectiona and ejaculation, etc.), the fact that we should use a condom every time, and that if we giggle when we hear the word penis we're not ready to have sex. So if a fifth grader can keep a straight face when someone says the word penis they're ready? They didn't even show us how to use condoms!
    I'm still very confused about sex. In my current sexual educational state, I doubt I could make the best descision. I know that on TV shows they talk about being emotionally ready for sex and I don't understand what that means. I've tried talking to my mom about sex but she is convinced that I'm only asking her because boys are telling me to have sex with them, which is not the case. My boyfriend agreed he will wait until I am ready, but I don't know if I'm ready and I really don't want to be wrong. I'm very confused.
    I'ts my lack in faith in school-based sex education that brings me to websites like these.

  • I wish my school had a condom dispenser, or some way of attaining prophylactics, but it doesn't. The high school I'm at now, anyway (in suburban GA.). At my old school, in DC, you simply went to the nurse (popped in at any time, I did), a (warning:bias! I love her :D) sweet, Middle Eastern woman who, when you asked for the condoms, would smile delightedly, reach under the desk into a box, and pull out a string of five Durex. She'd hand them to you, well, me, and I'd stuff them in my bag, grab my best friend's hand, and leave, telling her we'd be back soon. I miss that. Not that I'd need condoms now (I've taken a vow of celibacy as my bf still lives in DC) but I feel that this school I presently attend should offer them, considering the fact that they have many pregnant girls and an ignorant student body. I feel that the idea of "condoms makes more kids have more sex" is ludicrous. Unfortunately, the same kids who want to have sex will do it whether they have condoms or not; condoms and education give them a chance to do it right, do it safely.

  • I live in a small-ish town in Illinois and go to a public high school. During sophomore year, boys and girls alike are made to take a mandatory Health Education class, in which the topic of birth control and safe sex is discussed for a maximum of two days. Afterwords, students are drilled for two weeks that abstinence is the right thing to do.
    This is in NO way helpful. I'm a senior now, and I have had at least five friends get pregnant, some of which "took care of it", two that kept theirs and are now having difficult times as single mothers. Sure, they could have read up on the probability of pregnancy, but they're not stupid girls, just made to be ignorant by the school system and administrators that are "protecting them"…
    I'm not sure that schools should be "protecting" students from knowledge.
    Fortunately my mother was very liberal with me, when I was a freshman we decided that I should take birth control–just in case, and also for the health benefits. I thank her for it, too, because I'm just as "active" as she assumed I would be, and very happy that I have the freedom to decide for myself when/if I want a family (and thankfully it won't be any time soon!)
    I think that schools should provide condoms, no questions asked, in the nurse's office. Also, I feel that separating the sex education among the sexes would make boys and girls both more comfortable in this setting, as sophomores, who are typically 15-16, try NOT to ask questions to avoid being embarrassed.

  • shaun

    i go to a small academic school in scotland where there are many kids with different religious beliefs,some with none at all. Unfortunately, our principal rector is very religious and does not believe we should be recieving sex ed as he assumes we know everything already. There is no access to help on std etc within school and definately no condoms in the bathrooms. Personally, being christian im not bothered by this, but i am offended that he doesnt take into consideration other peoples opinions and beliefs on sex ed. its unacceptable in this day and age not to prepare us for sex! Bring on the learning!

  • caroline

    Where I live there is an abstinence rule…you dont get to learn about sex ed at all…I mean you will learn bodily functions but nothing about condoms or birth control or anything of that sort….I dont know why we wouldnt…It kinda makes you unprepared.

  • perla

    i live n a small town in indiana where im a middle schoolar and one of my older friends n high school said that there makin her take pregnancy test i wouldnt b surprised f they put a condom machine n teh bathrooms 2

  • RelapseAndSoda

    I live in a relatively small town in Australia, i go to a public highschool. We do one year of sex ed very quietly and then everyone assumes we're ready and knowledgable…
    Riiiiight. I know seven girls my age who are now pregnant or have tiny babies.
    A waste for small towns? Only got one group of people who sleep around?
    Hey, info check girls, your parents are doing it. The quiet girl in your math class is probably doing it. You just don't hear about it. Providing condoms in schools is just a way of saying "Here, use these if you need to." not "ZOMGODAGE! You can have sexes!"
    The introduction of the contraceptive pill was treated in much the same way. Condoms in schools makes them availible to people who are of age and looking for safety and a choice.
    Get real, stop being so uptight.

  • Heather

    I rather feel if your not mature enough to go out and buy/get your own your probably not mature enough for sex anyway.
    To bad people who want to have sex dont think that that

  • coolkay123

    OK what schools do have condom machines in them ? ? ? ?
    If yours does please put what state and school.
    Helps the rest of us

  • Kelsi

    my school doesnt have a condom conundrum, but i wish that they did.i mean i dont have sex alot but i now that there are alot of gurls that do and my school complains about the increasing number of pregnant gurls.My school is one of those school that have to be perfect and dont want to believe that kids are fooling around with things that they shouldnt be.

  • Kelsi

    my school doesnt have a condom conundrum, but i wish that they did.i mean i do have sex alot but i now that there are alot of gurls that do and my school complains about the increasing number of pregnant gurls.My school is one of those school that have to be perfect and dont want to believe that kids are fooling around with things that they shouldnt be.