Battling ignorance 'one condom at a time'

""I once met someone who thinks that pulling out before they ejaculated was a good form of protection,"" said Justin Howes, co-director of Pride Alliance, with a disheartened look on his face.

That quote is all that is needed to display the ignorance of many students on the importance of safe sex and how it can be quite fun, Pride Alliance officials said.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona's Pride Alliance, in conjunction with the Women's Resource Center, chose to battle this army of misinformation one condom at a time. Held Monday night, ""Putting 'Sex' Back in Sexy"" was a workshop full of medical facts, protection methods, toys, lube and yes, sex - well, not literally.

The somewhat uncomfortable atmosphere was quickly broken by laughs when Casey Chimneystar Condit, a Health Education Coordinator for Eon, which is a collaborative program of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, quickly jumped onto the topic of the night - sex.

Once the ice was broken, Condit addressed a more serious issue: communication between partners and most importantly, proper protection.

""In Tucson, approximately one in three people affected with HIV do not know it,"" Condit said. ""I think that statistic says a lot for the lack of sex education.""

Condit, along with health and sexuality intern Jai Smith, discussed the various methods of protection, or ""barrier methods"" as they are called.

The first barrier method is the most likely the most well known, the condom. Smith mentioned to the audience proper ways to keep condoms protected.

""Make sure to keep condoms out of your car in the hot weather, check the expiration date and before using them, check the packaging to make sure the condom wrapper has a slight air bubble. If it does not, then the condom was not packaged correctly.""

Another method of protection is known as a ""dental dam."" The dental dam is essentially a flat piece of latex that can be used for oral sex. Condit made it a point to clear up any misconceptions of the uses of the dental dam.

""You cannot use the dental dams to wrap around a penis - this does not work!"" said Condit, who demonstrated its misuse on a dildo. ""And similar to condoms, you cannot reuse them!""

Condit also introduced female condoms, which were a new sight for many. Slightly larger than male condoms, many sexually active people approved of female condoms because of their increased protection, Condit explained.

""Female condoms can be used either vaginally or anally, and if you have a partner that is not always willing to use protection, you can put them in before hand,"" she added.

And finally, there came the protection method of all protection methods - gloves.

""Gloves are great if you do not know your partner, if you do not know their history. . ."" Condit said. ""You can use them for handjobs, fisting or any skin-to-skin contact.""

""Putting 'Sex' Back into Sexy"" was not a stereotypical sex education workshop, said Smith, which was his goal.

""Pride Alliance wanted to do something for Coming Out Week. . . . I wanted to do a presentation but spice things up a little bit,"" Smith said. ""There was a comprehensive aspect of it, with different methods of protection, along with a toy presentation.""

Two representatives from Fascinations Headquarters in Phoenix, came to add the ""spice"" that Smith was looking for.

After the lipstick-shaped vibrators, the ""Rub-My-Ducky"", a duck-shaped vibrator and the Jenna Jameson vibrator toy viewing, Tamera O., the Fascinations representative, kept the audience in sync with the importance of education.

""Don't always trust your friends, because they can say some things that are pretty wacky,"" Tamera O. said. ""The best thing you can do for yourself is keep yourself educated, because what is education? Education is power.""


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