Don't Just Hand Teens Some Birth Control!

condomsYou could call me a liberal mom. The kind who believes that kids should be encouraged to masturbate. At any age. That in order to keep kids off Teen Mom, we need to teach safe sex. But when I hear that health teachers are opening up their desk drawers in the middle of class and throwing boxes of condoms at kids, I've got a problem.

Birth control is not for just throwing about at teenagers -- at least not out in public. That's not prevention. That's just a good way to have it land in the trash. And that's not keeping anyone safe, now, is it?


Here's the thing about teenagers. They think they're old enough to be having sex. If they're at least smart enough to be using a condom, we can be glad they're preventing STDs, pregnancies, the whole nine.

But we're talking about teenagers. If they're having it, they're still not comfortable talking about it. Not with an adult. But also not with their peers. And guess what happens when you drop a box of condoms on a desk in the middle of a classroom full of kids? Gums start flapping about exactly WHO will be putting those Trojans to good use.

For the kids who aren't having sex, that's uncomfortable. For the kids who are having sex, that's uncomfortable. As one teenager summed up succinctly, "It's certifiably awkward." And this is a self-assured, take no s--t kind of teenager who doesn't get embarrassed about much.

Most of the boxes get scooted off the desks and left behind. Others land in the garbage. At the bottoms of lockers. Whether kids are currently sexually active and need the prophylactics or NOT, they're so freaked out by the court of public opinion that communal condom distributions don't work.

So what does work? In the schools progressive enough to make condoms available to teens, the old-fashioned jar in the nurse's office, where kids have someone to ask questions without judgment, far away from the eyes of their peers. If you want safe kids, let's give them the means, and make it easy for them to get it. And easy means out of the eyes of judgmental classmates and teachers.

Do you remember getting condoms handed to you in class? Did you use them?


Image via celebdu/Flickr

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