The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

How to become a certified Rubber Lover

Cam’ron Hardy

The Health Resource Education Center (HERC) hosted its first Rubber Lovers event of the semester on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

The presentation was held in the Effingham room on the top floor of the Martin Luther King Union by Health Promotion Coordinators, Jayci Stewart and Maggie Bollinger. 

Rubber Lovers is a program that consists of an interactive presentation with the end goal of promoting safer sex practices and how to effectively use a condom. Once participants complete the program, they become certified rubber lovers.

“It’s just like a one-time presentation to increase knowledge in sexual health, the health community and sexual partners as well as STI prevention and then proper condom usage,” Stewart said. 

The presentation’s main focuses were on absence, high-risk sex practices, physical protection, communication, consent, the 18 steps required to apply a condom, sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) and HERC’s resources. The first portion of the presentation discussed absence, sex and the most high-risk sexual practices. 

The number one way to stay completely safe from any STI or pregnancy is by being abstinent. Absence is the practice of not completing sexual activities. Not participating in any sexual manner whether it be oral, vaginal or anal, is the only foolproof way to be protected and not raise the risk of infection. 

Sex is defined as any form of sexual contact. More specifically, there are four types of sex, oral to genital, oral to anal, vaginal and anal. Regardless of what form of sex is being had, the act itself can result in lasting consequences. It is vital to discuss sexual practices with your partner.

“It’s extremely important for you and your partner to discuss what sexual acts you’re comfortable with,” Stewart said. “A healthy relationship requires healthy communication. So, if you can’t talk openly about your sex life with your partner, you shouldn’t be having sex.” 

The most high-risk sex practice discussed was anal sex without a condom. The skin surrounding the inside of the anus is one of the thinnest layers of skin on the body, so it makes the chance of contracting an STI much higher than vaginal sex without a condom. 

The presentation’s next focus was physical protection. There are three forms of physical protection. Dental dams, female condoms and male condoms.

Dental Dams are latex sheets that are supposed to be placed over the genital area and are used when engaging in oral, anal, or vaginal sex to reduce the transmission of bodily fluids, harmful and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 

Female condoms are condoms that are larger than average. They are placed inside the vagina and can be worn up to 8 hours before sex. Although they can be worn for a long time, they are only used once. 

The use of a female condom and a male condom at the same time is not advised because it will create friction and cause the condom to break. 

Being that male condoms are the most common form of physical protection, everyone must know the proper way to apply a condom. There are 18 steps to using a condom and they are as follows 

  1. Consent 
  2. Sexual arousal 
  3. Check the expiration date on the condom 
  4. Make sure the package is airtight 
  5. Open package 
  6. Make sure the condom is right side out 
  7. Check condoms for rips 
  8. Pinch the tip of the condom to create a reservoir 
  9. Roll condom down erect penis 
  10. Squeeze air from the condom 
  11. Insert into orifice 
  12. Ejaculate 
  13. Hold onto the rim at the base of the condom 
  14. Withdraw slowly 
  15. Remove condom 
  16. Check the condom for rips or tears 
  17. Knot or wrap the condom in tissue 
  18. Dispose of the condom in the trash, not the toilet! 

To further push the routine of how to use condoms, participants were given wooden penises and condoms to practice applying them step by step. 

Next came the conversation on consent and communication. 

Consent is the act of making sure both or all parties who will be participating in sex are on the same page. Consent should be discussed right then and there when the act is about to happen, not an hour before or right after.

Communication when talking about sexual health means talking about sexual health, tests and screenings that have been done and past sexual partners. 

The main reason talking about past partners is important is because of the idea called the phantom partner. The phantom partner is the idea that once a person has unprotected sex with someone else, they have exposed themselves to every other sexual partner that person has been with which can increase the chance of contracting STIs.

People ages 18-24 have higher rates of STIs which is why Stewart and Bollinger strive to share this information with college students.

“My college didn’t offer this [educational safe sex presentation] and it would’ve been nice to have because I think for college students it’s important to remember how important preventing STIs and having safe sex,” said Bollinger.

Bacterial and parasitic STIs like chlamydia and trichomonas are infections that can be cured with medication and fast-acting treatment. 

Viral infections such as HIV or herpes, however, are incurable and can only be treated by medication. 

The HERC offers STI screening on campus for a discounted price. 

They also offer a variety of resources, such as programs for substance abuse, sexual health, personal wellness and mental health

Once the presentation ends, each participant becomes an official rubber lover. With this newly deemed title, participants are given a safe sex pack that comes with 8 condoms, a packet of lubricant, a dental dam, and mini flyers discussing general health, sexual health and the 18 steps required to use a condom. 

Participants also received a rubber lovers punch card which is valid all year. The card allows official rubber lovers to go to the HERC every month and receive a new safe sex pack. All they must do is bring their punch card and get their a hole punched. 

Stewart stated that she hoped students left the presenting knowing, “how to use a condom properly and how they are effective if you use them properly, but they need to be used properly. So just like the education on making sure that people know.”

“I hope students think this event creates a helpful, comfortable environment to learn how to use a condom. This is a place to do that in a judgment-free zone.” 

The HERC will host their second Rubber Lovers presentation on Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Effingham room in the MLK Union. 

For more information, the HERC is located in Blair Hall, room 2201-2222, open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They can be contacted by calling 217-581-7768 or email them at [email protected].


Alexis Moore-Jones can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Alexis Moore-Jones
Alexis Moore-Jones, Feature Reporter
Alexis Moore-Jones is a senior broadcast journalism major. This is her first year at The News.
Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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