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In a month that's seen a sustained attack on even the non-abortion-providing parts of Planned Parenthood and a battle over the morality and necessity of contraception, it's refreshing to have some different news to share about them both. That said, I kind of wish it wasn't this: Planned Parenthood is distributing free condoms with QR-code that allow users to "check in" online when they're having safe sex.
The campaign is called "Where Did You Wear It" (a question to which there are, I think, just two answers) and is meant to promote safe sex. Users can scan the condom package (fortunately not the condom itself) with their phones and then fill out basic information — name, age, gender, partner's gender — and your approximate location. More than 55,000 condoms have been distributed so far, with sexy check-ins reported in all fifty states and all six continents.
The site's page has this disclaimer:
Sex happens. More importantly, safe sex happens! ... Of course, abstinence from sexual activity is the only sure way to prevent both pregnancy and the spread of STDs. But remember: Sex happens. We’re not encouraging you to have sex or not have sex. We’re just encouraging people to be safer in their activities. This site is intended to provide a visual representation that safe sex happens too. There is strength in numbers. There is leadership by example. Be part of the solution. Be smart. Be sexy. Be responsible. Have safe sex and be counted to help normalize the use of condoms.
Which both pleases and saddens me. Pleases because it's level-headed, clear, and right on the mark. Saddens because in 2012, we're back in a place where Planned Parenthood has to tiptoe around the idea that adults have sex and that they don't always want babies to result — a fact of life that's been around since the first Imperial throw-pillow had to be sent out for dry-cleaning.
Now we all just have to sit back, pray the stupid culture wars cool down, and write to our local FourSquare representatives, asking how long it will take for them to develop a plug-in. Because then I'm gonna be Mayor of that ass.