North Texas Daily

Wrap it before you tap it this Valentine’s Day

Wrap it before you tap it this Valentine’s Day

Wrap it before you tap it this Valentine’s Day
February 11
21:53 2020

In the hallway of the right entrance of the Union, students may be surprised to see a newly-installed vending machine advertising “free safer sex kits.”

This vending machine is sponsored by the Condom Club and will let students customize their own safer sex kit. Students will have to swipe their student IDs — with a limit of once per week — to use the machine and get to select four condoms of choice, two lubricants and have the choice of a finger cot kit or oral sex kit as an additional option. Safer sex kits are also available in the Meadows Center for Health Resources located on the third floor of Chestnut Hall. The vending machine is currently not operating, but the Condom Club is hoping to have it running by the end of February.

While having this machine available may be shocking to some, it is important that students have access to it. The sex education system in the state of Texas is a poor one. Public schools are actually not required to have sex education be taught, but if schools do choose to teach it, it is required to focus on abstinence and emphasize that it is the only 100 percent guaranteed way to effectively prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs, according to Texas Education Code §28.004. Schools are also not allowed to give out condoms while teaching sex education.

In 2016, there were 30,169 teen pregnancies in Texas out of 212,062 in the entire country, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That’s about 14.2 percent of teen pregnancies. Texas ranked fourth out of 51 (the states plus the District of Columbia), with “1” being the highest amount of teen pregnancies. As of 2018, only 16 states required instruction on condoms or contraception when teaching sex education, according to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

Practicing abstinence is nothing to be ashamed of. However, expecting everyone to practice it is an unobtainable expectation. In the state of Texas, it appears that being taught about safe sex falls in the hands of parents, but if we’re being honest, it is probably a tough talk to have, if even talked about at all, in a state as conservative as this one. Plus, not every student has a great relationship with their parents. 

In states that teach comprehensive sex education instead of abstinence-only sex education, it has been found that teen pregnancy rates are lower, according to aclu.org

Having Condom Club on campus along with walk-in STD testing and free HIV testing is a positive resource to have on campus. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it is important to utilize these readily available resources. Many of us may not have received inclusive sex education, but we can definitely start to educate ourselves and practice safer sex. Utilize this Valentine’s Day season to learn how to practice sex safely and consensually. 

Featured Image: The Safer Sex Kits vending machine is located in the right entrance of the Union, right outside Starbucks. Image by Ricardo Vazquez Garcia

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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