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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

California Dreamin'

By February 24, 2012

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I love the west coast. The California Family Health Council recently set up the Teen Source website, which not only helps teenagers find local clinics where they can get free condoms and sexual health screenings but also allows them to order free condoms and lubricant online. This is a great service for those teens who would like to practice safe sex but either can't afford condoms or are too embarrassed to purchase them in a store.

Unsurprisingly, there have been some objections to the site from parents who are worried that giving teens condoms will encourage them to have sex. However, there has been extensive research showing that safe sex education and providing condoms in schools doesn't encourage teens to have sex, so it seems highly unlikely that a service that requires them to actively go and request condoms would do so either. I mean, just think about it. Can you really imagine anyone saying "Wow! I can go online and get some free condoms. Suddenly I'm inspired to try having sex, when I never would have done so before!"?

Being too poor, or too ashamed, to buy condoms may be a barrier to safe sex, but it's not a barrier to sexual exploration. If they can't get condoms, or birth control, many teens are perfectly happy to go ahead and have sex anyway.

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