A Look Into Boston University’s Safe Sex Service: The Condom Fairy

Across Boston University’s campus, there are constant reminders to practice safe sex. I’ve seen condoms in the waiting rooms for Student Health, in convenience stores, and even in vending machines. However, Boston University actually offers a distinct service: the Condom Fairy.  

More than just a convenient way for students to procure free condoms, Boston University’s five-year-old Condom Fairy educates students on how to have safe sex while giving them the tools to do so. The Director of Boston University’s Wellness and Prevention Services, Katharine Mooney, elaborated on the creation of Condom Fairy and the effects it has had on students’ well-being across Boston University’s campus since its conception five years ago. 

What sets Boston University’s Condom Fairy apart from other university safe sex programs is that it’s not only a condom DELIVERY service, it was also the FIRST large-scale college campus condom delivery service. Prior to that, Mooney said that free condoms were available at Student Health Services, but not discreetly. They were also inconvenient for students living in East Campus.

“Feeling embarrassed about getting condoms is an important barrier to students getting safe sex supplies,” said Mooney.

Once the Condom Fairy started its online ordering operations in 2013, students felt more comfortable getting safe sex supplies due to its confidentiality. In the first night alone, Mooney said the Wellness & Prevention staff filled “hundreds of orders”. Since then, BU’s Condom Fairy has sent out a whopping 20,000 deliveries. However, the delivery packages don’t arrive with just condoms.

The Condom Fairy also provides educational materials regarding using protection (e.g. condoms, dental dams, etc.), understanding consent, and information about STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing. These materials do not go to waste—Mooney said the written materials are “oriented towards students” and that the Wellness & Prevention Office has conducted service on the effectiveness of these pamphlets. Boston University provides STI testing, and, according to Mooney, surveys indicate that the Condom Fairy’s implementation has increased STI testing across campus.

Condom Fairy is not only for students, but students run the program. A group of approximately 15 Student Health Ambassadors are trained to fill orders each day, taught about patient confidentiality, and plan sex education for Boston University. The students run the operations behind Condom Fairy, but Mooney says they also offer an invaluable perspective because “they [the students] know what is going to work on this campus.”

Part of the students’ contribution is learning what exactly their peers want in these packages. Aside from latex condoms, magnum condoms, and lubricant, Condom Fairy is one of the only services in the area where students can receive an “FC2” internal condom. An “FC2” condom can be used during vaginal sex, anal sex, and sex incorporating toys. Many students have noted that without Condom Fairy, they would not have been able to get this condom. As Mooney notes, embarrassment is not the sole barrier preventing students from buying contraception—cost often prevents students as well.

The steady success of Condom Fairy means it is here to stay at Boston University—and perhaps spread to other college campuses. Mooney stated that she’s currently working with a researcher in Georgia to draft a paper about the program for The Journal of American College Health. She also said that “a highlight of her career” was when the Center for Disease Control called her inquiring about Condom Fairy.

Mooney hopes that Boston University students will use Condom Fairy to learn more about safe sex and incorporating sex education into their daily lives, saying “[Condom Fairy] moves us towards a more sex-positive campus culture.”

For more information about Boston University’s Condom Fairy:

Website

Valentine’s Day Promo Code

Sex in the Dark Panel

 

Cover photo credit: Bet

 

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