Slip in the condom ratings

By Clint Gendusa

In order to promote safer sex, NIU’s Health Enhancement Services is sponsoring the Great Condom Rating Contest.

Some 35,000 condoms will be available for ratings by NIU students Monday through Friday. Seven condoms, each a different type, are being packed in 5,000 plastic bags along with a rating questionnaire and a folder on the use of condoms as a way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

ES Health Educator Steve Lux said the program’s goal is to educate the students as well as get their different preferences.

“The questionnaires ask students to judge the seven brands on the basis of appearance, sensualness/comfort, smell, taste, lubrication and sense of security. This is a way to get information back from the students on what their preferences are.

“Students are also asked to assign overall ratings to each of the seven types and to add any specific comments they feel appropriate,” Lux said.

For the contest, participants are asked to rate the condoms on a scale from one (poor) to ten (excellent) on each of the qualities.

“The results will help us determine which brands the students feel comfortable with, so we can purchase them for next year,” Lux said.

The pocket-size folder also offers tips on effective use of condoms, the difference between spermicidal condoms and regular condoms, facts on STD and a risk continuum for STD.

ES Coordinator Michael Haines said any sexual contact places an individual at some risk of infection. However, he said there are prevention methods which HES is trying to emphasize.

“We want to make sure people understand condoms are not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy or disease but can lower the risk,” Haines said.

The brands being used for the contest are Beyond 7, Maxx Plus, Saxon Colored Spermicidal, Saxon Wet Lubricated, Skin Less Skin, Saxon Ultra Thin and Kimono.

“This program is to reinforce the notion that condoms are not embarrassing and help the students find the right one for their personal preferences,” said Lux.

The condoms can be picked up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Wellness Resource Desk located in the Holmes Student Center, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at tables set up in the Pow Wow cafeteria and at various locations around campus, including Jack Arends Hall and the University Plaza.

Questionnaires are to be turned into HES during the week of March 15.

For more information contact HES at 753-9755.