Creative Condom Displays Encourage Safe Sex
October 18, 2006 5:13 PM
Tim McCutchan was surrounded by condoms.
�Condoms, condoms everywhere,� said the 42-year-old senior creative writing major when he first saw the colorful and humorous displays at the Latexhibition, an annual event promoting safe sex that has taken place for 18 years.
�The project is great,� he said. �It was quite creative and I like the message it sends.�
Each semester the Biology 327: AIDS: Biology of the Modern Epidemic, 322: Human Sexuality: Integrated Science, and 330: Human Sexuality class projects are displayed along the walkway between Burke Hall and Student Health Services.
Students reacted to the displays with laughter and appreciation for the creativity and the message of safe sex they sent.
�It�s super. I think it�s a riot and I�m glad there�s lots of safe sex awareness,� said Alison Barid, a 24-year-old student working towards her teacher�s certificate, who got a laugh out of the �Rock out with your cock out� only if it�s wrapped!� project, which used condoms to make a rock band on stage.
�It�s interesting to see how some people stuck to the educational, genitalia diagrams and others do �Suck some Dick Cheney� with a condom coming out of his mouth,� said Sinaya Cotlong, 21, a senior liberal studies major, counseling minor.
Some of the projects illustrated figures by using condoms. �Variations in Sexual location and Orientations� illustrated a gay couple in doggy style, a straight couple in froggy style, and a lesbian couple in 69.
Another group used latex gloves to make a safe sex purse. Others used colorful condoms to make four pairs of underwear, including a pair of men�s briefs and a woman�s thong.
�It�s like a satire form of education to display humor about safe sex,� said 23-year-old senior communication studies major Jess Dietch, who, with her friend Melissa Ray, 26, laughed at the �Play it Safe� display that used condoms on a baseball diamond.
A group of engineering majors, minoring in biology, decided to build a model of the Golden Gate Bridge out of 40 condoms, five latex gloves, dental dams and wood.
Tobe Thomas, 22, who worked on the �Condom Gate Bridge� said the display was quite interesting.
�It�s definitely something new to look at walking on campus,� he said.
Latexhibition began in 1988 in biology classes taught by Ann Auleb to raise awareness of safe sex and make people more comfortable about condoms by forcing the students to obtain, open and touch latex barriers. The event also created a place for people to come and get information.
�A lot of the stuff is funny,� Auleb said. �It brings humor to a difficult situation.�
Past exhibits have been displayed at international AIDS conferences and have even spread to Indiana University.
The biology classes work with SHS to encourage people to get tested for HIV.
�We want students to be as creative as possible,� said biology professor Christopher Moffatt, who teaches Biology 330. �I think it�s a great project, particularly for students uncomfortable with safe-sex products.�
Moffatt said the event had a positive effect for safe sex because it gave safe sex a higher profile on campus.
�The whole point is to get people to get over the fear of buying condoms,� said Lauren Entner, 20, a junior psychology major who created �Sexy Sushi� in about two hours for Biology 330. Her display, made of colorful condoms, looked convincingly like pieces of nigiri and maki.
Ryan Stemmler and Matt Woods, who both work for Educational Referral Organization on Sexuality, said the project makes people more comfortable talking about safe sex and gets people more comfortable about sex.
�Creating awareness is important because we see how uncomfortable people who come in here are,� said Woods, assistant director of EROS. �It�s a drive-by condom taking.�
�If you�re embarrassed talking to people providing you with the condoms, surrounded by porn, what are you going to do when you have to use it?� said Stemmler.
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