I Rebuke Thy Assertion: NYC Condoms Should Be Free!

Aren’t free things great?

Remember when you were little, and you used get “free” toys with your Happy Meal?

Or how about when you’re at a restaurant, and the waiter gives you something on the house?

We New Yorkers do our best to take advantage of free entry at the local museums, especially the Brooklyn Museum’s monthly Saturday Night shindig.

Frequent clubgoers love free open bars, which makes myopenbar.com the Holy Grail for starving artists in Williamsburg.

Of course, the best things in life are organically free, such as love, friendship and sex. And in college, whenever you could get a free meal it was the equivalent of an orgasm, because free food always seems to hit the spot.

But some people aren’t as happy about free things as you and I are. In fact, some people would tell you that programs giving things away for free should be stopped. Including those programs that help keep the organically free action of sex completely devoid of any monetary costs.

Danielle Alio, apparently of TheLoquitur.com, expressed her (I’m assuming Danielle is a she) opinion that condoms should not be given away for free. I came across her piece when I was researching perspectives on New York City’s condom wrapper design contest that is challenging New Yorkers to come up with designs for the $40 million or so condoms the city will disperse in 2010 free of charge. Needless to say, Alio’s perspective shocked me. Here are a few points from her piece. Don’t worry; I will dissect her argument piece by piece.

“In my opinion, giving out free condoms does not promote a healthy sex life in any way. I believe that the free distribution promotes promiscuity because it is making condoms easily accessible to everyone. It is almost like shouting to the world that everyone can have as much sex as possible without worrying about sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancies.” ~ Danielle Alio

Alio’s assertion that free condoms don’t promote a healthy sex is life is absurd. What do they promote? Unadulterated and unprotected sex? Please! Free condoms absolutely promote a healthy sex life, which is why governments across the world use the marketing of free condoms as a way to increase awareness of the protective value of condoms. The idea that giving away condoms somehow tells people to have sex without worrying about STDs and pregnancy is like saying free hand sanitizing pumps encourages people to not worry about contracting or spreading germs and viruses via their hands.

“Modern movies, music and television promote sexual promiscuity as “cool” and something to do because everyone else is doing it. I think that now having a free distribution of condoms supports all of the messages in today’s world that promiscuity is cool; therefore, they are now available to everyone so everyone can be placed in the same category.” ~ Danielle Alio

I agree with Alio on this to some degree. Giving out condoms for free, and encouraging a wrapper design contest on top of it, does make sex sound cool. However, in the process, it makes the use of condoms sound cool. And the fact is if movies and TV are going to continue to promote sex as a cool thing to do, then condoms should be promoted in the same way, since we know that sex is going to be well-receiver with or without the help of music and television.

“I also believe that handing out free condoms is like saying that one does not have to think through their actions or show responsibility because they are so easily accessible. I know that condoms are pretty expensive to purchase, but at least when they have to be bought, one can think through the purchase about what may or may not happen.” ~ Danielle Alio

This has to be one of Alio’s silliest points. Is she really serious? Giving away free condoms eliminates the thought process of sex? Au contraire, it actually enhances the thought process. I you have a free condom on your person when you are about to have sex, aren’t you more likely to use it than if you didn’t have one.

Free condoms are targeted for people who would otherwise buy them, because those people are already considering their safety. They are targeting people who wouldn’t necessarily go to the store to buy a condom, either out of a lack of money or a lack of concern, in order to make sure they have a condom on their person the next time they have sex. And even if they don’t, at least the act of receiving or being offered a condom would have that type of person thinking about condom usage.

“Because of these defective condoms, a countless number of unplanned pregnancies end in abortion each year. About 54 percent of women who have had abortions blame the pregnancy on a failed contraceptive. Sexually transmitted diseases are also easily spread. The most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States is the human papillomavirus also known as HPV in which a condom gives virtually no protection.” ~ Danielle Alio

Here’s where Alio’s agenda begins to kick in. Now she’s talking about how often condoms don’t work, as opposed to how they do work? I don’t need to see the stats to know that condoms prevent more STDs and pregnancies than allow for, but Alio doesn’t want to present those facts. She mentions how HPV is the most common STD in the US because of the condom’s lack of protection against it, but she fails to mention that the spread of many STDs, most notably HIV/AIDS, has been dropped significantly as condom use has become more and more prevalent.

In Alio’s piece, she also mentions how mass produced condoms given out for free are not safe, uses a Christian faith sponsored company as one of her resources, and asserts that Trojan condoms are safer than those given out businesses or schools. But here’s the kicker:

“I am not one of those people who are completely against sex. I am just against the idea of promiscuity, which in my opinion is defined as sleeping around with many different people and engaging in what is called the “one-night stand.” I believe that one should only engage in sexual acts with someone they trust and have deep feelings for. It also does not hurt to get tested for a sexually transmitted disease before possibly infecting one’s partner.” ~ Danielle Alio

First of all, Alio does appear to be one of those people who are completely against sex. Maybe not necessarily all sex, but one who is against young, unmarried, unadulterated sex many of us enjoy on the regular basis. However, Alio does admit to being against promiscuity. But why?

What’s wrong with promiscuity? All it really means is having many partners. Granted, that’s not the safest way to go about having sex, but having sex with one person for your entire life really isn’t the sign of these times, or the sign of times in decades, centuries and eras past.

But that’s not even the point.

The point is that condoms don’t promote promiscuity. Sure, they make condoms more accessible, but that doesn’t make sex any less accessible. Anybody who wants to have sex is going to have sex, whether or not they have to buy a condom. And in reality, people are going to have sex with or without a condom, even in casual cases. That’s the world we live in.

So, Alio, instead of being against free condoms, be against the non-use of condoms. Next thing you know, you will be telling us to close soup kitchens for the homeless because it encourages obesity, when the fact is that people have to eat, and as much you don’t want to hear this, people have to have sex, too.

You can read Danielle Alio’s piece in its entirety at TheLoquitur.com.

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