Condoms and conversation

Contraceptives, condoms and frozen bananas will make an appearance in this year’s Condom Olympics.

The joint event between the Ruston and O’Bannon residence halls is meant to inform students about safe sex.

Marci Kreutzer, a resident assistant for the Theatre and English LLC in O’Bannon, said this is her first year involved with the event, but she knew she wanted to help based on stories she’s heard about  previous years.

The event is marketed for residents of Ruston and O’Bannon, but Kreutzer said friends of residents are welcome, too.

The junior elementary education major said events like this are important to help inform students about safe sex and the conversations they should be having.

“I think that sex and birth control and that kind of thing is something people don’t like to talk about,” Kreutzer said. “For that reason, I think college students are misinformed.”

Right now, the RA’s are planning for about 40-50 students to attend, a number Kreutzer said is normal for events like this.

Students who do attend will participate in a variety of activities, including a question and answer game about condoms, birth control and safe sex.

There will be a relay race of sorts where students have to see who can get a condom on a frozen banana first, Kreutzer said, and beer goggles will be available to show students how intoxication can affect the use of a contraceptive.

Representatives from the Aids Resource Group of Evansville will attend the event along with representatives from the Recreation Fitness and Wellness Center.

ARG will provide 1,000 condoms for the event.

“When it comes to talking about safe sex, a lot of college students are a little uncomfortable (about the conversation) they have to have or they should have beforehand,” said Tim Chadwick, ARG’s prevention specialist..

Chadwick is one of the members of ARG who provides HIV testing on campus and he said it is important to break down the barriers that stand between conversations before sex.

“If you don’t have a conversation, you don’t know,” Chadwick said.

Chadwick said people will come in for testing and think it is impossible to have a sexually transmitted disease because they don’t have symptoms present.

STD’s, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, are often hard to detect because there are no symptoms in the early stages.

“Symptoms aren’t always an indication of infection,” he said.

Chadwick said for some students this may be their first time away from home and it’s possible their parents never had a discussion about sex with them.

“We just assume everyone knows what a condom is, how to use it and what it does,” he said.

Chadwick said events like the Condom Olympics help reach out to students who may never learn about these things elsewhere.

Chadwick said “the lack of education” is what most issues with diseases and unsafe sex come down to.

Kreutzer said she is glad to be involved with the event because she isn’t embarrassed or afraid to talk about safe sex and she thinks even simple information will benefit attendees.

“We’re going to have facts and statistics that people will be digesting the reality of what STD’s are,” she said. “Even if they stop and think about it for a moment, I think that makes a small difference.”