“So like, condoms?”

asaap condoms

Whenever I tell someone that I work in HIV education, I’m invariably met with “So like, condoms?”

This response is unsurprising since growing up many of us equate safe sex with only condoms, which is great given that condoms do provide effective protection; however, the reality is so much more complicated than that.

Safe sex requires so much more than an awkward trip to the drugstore, and the new youth campaign from Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention (ASAAP) aims to shed light on exactly that. By depicting different scenarios, the campaign it’s about more than a condom shows how elements like developing support, building trust, dealing with shame and lack of access in our everyday lives shape the way that we navigate our sexual health. Using wordless comic strips, the campaign illustrates 4 stories exploring common scenarios that affect young people and their relationships. Each comic showcases the subtle dynamics that youth go through, highlighting that our sexual lives are impacted by more than what happens in the bedroom.

As a frontline worker, I can provide someone with any number of condoms but that can be less important than the ability to use them. In other words if someone can’t have a conversation with their partner about the need to use condoms, then it may as well be a decorative item in their bedroom drawer. Introducing condoms into an existing relationship may raise questions about trust and fidelity. Even In the healthiest of relationships, navigating this conversation is awkward at best, and may not even be an option in others.

Youth don’t have to be having sex to learn and talk about sex. One of the challenges of talking about sexual health with youth is the fear permeated in society that knowledge about sex will encourage sex.This myth conjures images of teenagers running out of health class to hump away in dark corners of parking lots, with little concern for consequences. In reality, research consistently shows that comprehensive sexual education delayed age of sexual initiation, and increased condom or contraceptive use.

There’s so much marketing that goes into telling young people what to think, how not to trust2cave into peer pressure and how to just say “no,” so few of these campaigns ask youth what they actually think. In a world of sexting, snapchats and sexual misinformation, it is even more crucial to work with youth to create initiatives that are reflective of their own complex realities.

Check out the full campaign here and tell us what you think using #teaseproject

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Suruthi Ragulan

Suruthi Ragulan

Suruthi is a born and bred Scarberian. She is often seen wandering the streets of Toronto with her headphones on, completely oblivious to the world around her. Suruthi is a lover of feminist literature, complex carbohydrates and copious amounts of eyeliner.

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12 thoughts on ““So like, condoms?”

  1. We don’t want to end up like white people..
    According to the CDC about 17 per cent of people ages 14-19 have genital herpes caused by HSV2.
    That percentage is only of people who choose to get tested and the actual number of people who have the virus is likely much higher.
    Even having sex with a condom does not protect someone from the highly contagious virus that only needs skin to skin contact to spread, even if there are no sores present.
    ‘But unless you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship with someone who has never had sex, you can never be sure (Which is why Tamil culture is great).

  2. Ummm. Jenan Lanka please read up on medical info from a reliable website (Mayo Clinic) rather than citing a British tabloid paper on herpes.
    Secondly, while I respect your wish to practise your sexuality how you see fit, I find it concerning that you label everyone else who falls outside of this “bad” or not (good) part of Tamil culture. Why do you reduce men and women to their sexual practices if you earlier argument was to go against this notion but falls utterly short of it. Men or women who were raped, practised pre-martial sex, had teenage pregnancies, had drug problems, had non-heterosexual sex, engaged in sex work, etc. are suddenly not worthy of kindness, respect or humanity in your world?
    “She is human just like men”; “hedonistic hoe” “men never marry a girl who is not a virigin” – eh. misogynist much?
    FYI – Tamil culture before colonialism practised pre-marital sexuality. Something that was practised in a lot of cultures (and still is) because sexuality was tied to economy. It was only after the Victorian period (remember British colonialism?) that female sexuality became regulated around chastity, purity and worth. Please go read some history that is not high school level. You don’t represent Tamil culture. More like the chauvinistic, misogynistic version of it…which makes you into a colonialist mouthpiece for the West.

  3. I agree with you
    I find Tamil women in Canada to be full of testosterone., they don’t have that beauty that the girls back home have due to being westernised most of them aren’t even virgin , they also do drugs and alcohol ….A wife has to be kind, intelligent, pleasant, AND respectable. I couldn’t respect a woman as a wife if she wasn’t a virgin.
    Tamil guys – even educated guys who grew up in Canada – are very judgmental about a girl’s past. Even today, Tamil men have different standards for whom they’ll casually date and whom they’ll marry. And a Tamil girl who has had several boyfriends or sexual partners will not be viewed as marriage material. Tamil men won’t settle for what they perceive as “used goods” with baggage from past relationships. While this double standard may seem unfair to the ladies, it is still the reality in our community.
    Tamil guys today can’ go “back home” to marry a virgin bride as our uncles and older cousins did. A Tamil man with a professional job has plenty of options unlike girls even in our old age we can get married to young virgin females.
    You don’t often see cultural Tamil Hindu in Sri Lanka girls slooting it up, hanging out in clubs, being a mess etc…Normally raised in a strict home with moral values. they are more spiritual. most of them smarter than your average insta/fb/twitter selfie addict.
    Gonna be my next wifey! Well Tamil to be precise but close enough! Sick of the Bullchit with western women and their fuarked up drama. Also at my age the best I am gonna do in this society is a 28-40 year old milf sloot with about 3 kids. With an Tamil bride from the actual country I can get a young hot looking VIRGIN honey between the ages of 18-21. , Sex whenever I want, clean house, cooked food, no being questioned about my whereabouts when I get home. The perfect deal. Only a fool would turn down something like that!
    In fact right now I am having my grandfather and some other relatives find me a bride (SRS). We are DAMNED lucky to have an Tamil background and have this option. I am going to utilize it

  4. Vasuki you are wrong Tamils culture in Sri Lanka was always against pre marital sex .You are confusing with India…But we are totally different than them.
    For example, the rape culture that exists among Indian Tamils does not really exist with Sri Lankan Tamils.I am deeply sorry for using the term rape culture, I picked it up from news articles.
    Is it due to Indian culture ?Is it due to the media? For example, in indian films especially older ones in the 80s rape was presented as erotica instead of being something horrifying. I have also seen India(n) nationals in my country clap and whistle when a “hero” in a movie rapes or behaves inappropriately with a “heroine” to teach her a lesson because he is a hero. I have also heard silly comments from India tamilians themselves like the spicy food they eat being the cause of this extreme show of lust (ogling at women openly is a another difference I have noticed).
    Sri Lankans also seem generally calmer and less flamboyant. They do not have this habit of staring at peoples faces on the streets.
    It’s our culture to save ourselves for our husband/wives
    The majority of hindu women same to keep their virginities
    My sisters are very beautiful and attractive. They are all still virgins
    i’m proud of all asian people who migrate but try their best to preserve their culture… and not imitate americans or british etc
    I am very proud of my sisters… that they are decent, respectable… and they keep their chastity and purity until they have their husbands.
    Do you think i would feel good if my sisters married a man who is unclean ? Who gave himself to other women before marriage ?
    Tamils are morally scrupulous, save themselves for marriage, understand the proper relation between men and women, understand courtship practices, and participate in arranged marriages. Western people, conversely, just sleep around, get married and divorced – in short they don’t take relationships seriously. So there is this perception that may have need to be negotiated.
    The best thing about Tamil culture is that both men and women preserve themselves and stay virgins for their future partner.. whom they are yet to meet…and probably years after. They lose virginity to their partner only and stay together forever. Remaining virgin is a choice. A choice made to show the ultimate love and respect for their future partner… regardless of how he/she looks, does, where they come from, what they do etc… This is also ultimate self control. If you can control yourself and remain virgin till you get married then you will find it easier to be with the one you are married to. Simple logic. Applied by both men and women.
    For you, sex is just a physical contact which fulfilling your body needs. but for us sex is love. its a bond between the life partners. we want to be special for particular person whoever she may be.
    If virginity is not makes the girl/guy special then what makes the girl special for you?
    if your answer is heart means, are you sure your wife loving you only for entire life after moving for some other.?
    Sex matters… since sex tells you how one can be close enough to a person… having sex with multiple partners / having had sex with multiple partners means thats… One can be close to so many people which disqualifies them for monogamy relationships.
    in your point of view even if a girl says to her husband that she had sex before marriage, her husband who has been upholding virtues taught to him should to say to her Its ok?? i think that might not be possible here !!! because we people here are not like westeners !!
    ‘How many Tamil girls have sex before marriage ?
    The answer varies depends on her IQ , if its easy to trick women into having sex then they will have a lot of sex and blame their stupidity on Beta Provider .
    See “Getting used by men is not a cheap mentality” but Marrying a virgin is “Cheap mentality”
    You are suppose to Judge
    see Low IQ leads to lower Impulse Control and sex before marriage , I mean Girls marry at age of 25-30 if she is not a virgin then what does it mean ? she is stupid , she gives away her vagina like that . Stop giving respect to these , and stop asking for their approval. It was your own fault for being cheated.
    People are so obsessed with following Western Culture. With time they are slowly but steadily becoming from bad to worse. The mass acceptance of evil concepts are becoming so ingrained in them that those evils have lost their identity as evils now. The yardstick for gauging good and bad is slowly getting lost till we will reach a point when no bad things will be considered bad and no good things will be praised.
    Its not just about virginity.. i think we will have problems regarding their past love affairs even if it didnt result into sex.. its not just about us, nobody would want to hear about their parents sexual adventures either.. when we think about our parents we would feel uncomfortable about their first love, second love or third love..
    Same way, if a man has premarital sex, I expect him to be upfront with any girl/woman who is his prospective wife. I do not want a non-virgin man to marry a virgin girl.
    By repeating my words, I hope people get my message drilled into their heads.
    I prefer non-virgins to marry only non-virgins; but once they marry, I want them to be totally monogamous, fully committed to their partners… 100%… until one of them dies. Their colourful pasts should not matter one bit.
    I just hate hypocrisy and deceit and I want to see people open, honest and fair with others as well as with themselves.Please be honest with your future husband not many tamils accept use goods.
    Most of the Tamil unmarried girls are 30+ and probably were not serious about their virginity when they lost it. Now they have to compete with their much younger counterparts in the marriage market who have the advantage of their virginity. Their only hope now is to make videos like this to underplay the importance of virginity. In most conservative societies virginity is associated with chastity and commitment. Not to say that a non-virgin has a loose character but definitely that person prefers sexual pleasures more than moral commitments and therefore such persons are less likely to stay committed in long relationships such as marriages. Our culture taught us to control our Lust and many other negative things. MAN and WOMEN both should be VIRGIN otherwise they should not get offended when society doesn’t accept it.
    Sorry but this is the harsh truth

  5. Stop saying like a clown that she has been used.
    Is she is 8yr old girl that she can be used?
    She is an adult and she should know what is right and wrong.
    The word “USED” is used for a victim who has trapped by frauds or “UNWILLINGLY”, but “WILLINGLY” indulging in s*xual activity is not called “USED”. It was 50-50 “ENTERTAINMENT” for both the adults.
    And yes, i have every right to ask about a girl virginity, because it is “MY” marriage, my “PRIDE”, my “HONOUR”, my “EMOTIONAL” health. So i have every right to know what girls are doing these days so that i can choose the “BEST” and reject the “WASTE”.
    A girl who has loosed her virginity before marriage, then it simply means she has no or little value for marriage.
    What family a unchaste girl provide, will i be able to tell my child that your mother has slept with X and Y and Z.
    She may indulge in adultery too after marriage, so i think she is not my marriage material.
    Unchaste girls are for community.
    Virgins are for husbands.
    I definitely respect women who are chaste, intelligent, and cultured. I don’t respect those, “hymenally challenged” ones who spread their legs before marriage….why should I ? In regards to my so-called double standards, well…let’s just say that men and woman are fundamentally different in that men are born with the ability to inseminate virtually unlimited women, while women can only support being pregnant once a year. Thus, monogamy makes sense for women (and for men in marriages), but for unmarried men, having multiple sex partners isn’t such a big deal. I know that may sound unfair, but don’t yell at me…go scream at god or something. Also…no amount of social activism can change this fact that men are programmed for having multiple partners, while women are not. Call it “double standards” or call it “sexist” or whatever….you can give it any label you want…I just call it nature
    The marriage certainly brings a man and a woman together, they know each other carnally (s*xually),the love between them deepens, arrival of children further strengthens strong emotional bonds between them and the whole family. But what is more, much more, and not usually spoken about is the fact that there is much deeper joy, bliss, contentment, peace, confidence that make human life really full of happiness. Virginity may well be lost before the marriage in many cases, yet the man and the woman can come together emotionally and then enter into marriage bond. In the earlier times of greater social purity and in absense of rampant promiscuity today, virgins (boys and girls) may certainly be rare finds, but that does not at all cancel out the possibility of good, happy and blissful married life. As for s*xual pleasure, it happens in one`s brain/mind and it is not at all physical. It is the best when it is in the mind. When one is aware of its physicality, the joy is already reduced. When this process begins and grows, perversions can come in. What we see today is that perversion in our young boys and girls. The promiscuity enables frequent change of partners which leads to reducing the s*x to purely physical. It is impossible to convince the youth today but it is still the truth that we need to go back to our social behaviour a hundred or atleast 70 years ago, for a fuller life, bliss. The alternative is pure chaos and a jugle, animal culture.
    If she losed her virginity and ditched by her bf, so she thinks s*x is love, then the product is below standard and i will not buy it.
    She could also have been fallen in love without s*x, but this is not the case, she feeled extreme urge physically and shared her bed with her bf. I don’t respect such a girl who can’t control her urge and can share her bed with anyone just to satisfy her physical need.”
    No man is having sex with a woman without her consent (except in rapes and ‘real’ rapes are very few). Woman is 90% responsible for intercourse between man and woman. That is why societies controlled women in late centuries. So man is not taking advantage, but woman is exploiting a man by allowing him .
    Men take advantage of women only if women allow men to. It is the woman who decides whether to make company with a man, whether to go round with him, whether to invite him or go to him, whether to allow him to touch her, whether to allow him to undress her and it goes on… so everything up to women, not men. Men are affectionate to women by nature. Men only can propose, it is the women who decides whether to approve and do immoral things. If the women are good, men also become good automatically, if the women are bad, men take advantage of it. Thats why every society is measured by its womens’ conduct.
    And about the raped girls, then Ihave sympathy for her if it’s a real rape because there was 0% fault on her side.
    And “YES”, i can marry a girl who has been really raped if she had not indulged in s*x after that incidence.

  6. an entertainment magazine called “Tamil culture” asked 19 men and 19 women…that is not a representation of Toronto or Tamil culture and something any good social scientist or math class would flag as a bad survey and bad math. please read the above article that they posted on exactly this issue on how youth have a lot of misinformation on their hands (and check out their resources instead).

  7. If you are ashamed of your culture and proud of West and look upto their culture for future direction, then Ms Shan and everyone else who is pushing the bar just a little higher … be prepared for to manager this from your children 1) Teenage pregnancy 2) Depression 3) Drugs 4) Shooting and guns in schools 5) Suicides
    This is what west has got from their past. From our past this is what we still have – we still have our family system intact and certain virtues are still given high value. Parents still care of their children until they are married and further and children support their parents in their old age. This has kept our economy strong, where the world is under deep crisis. Such an idiot you are, you think joint families are bad. You’ll know if you have lived in one. Ms Rachael and the likes …Just because you have no control on your senses you want to push this idea on the population in general and calm your inner deep sense of guilt… think abt it ! coz this is what I see .
    I am a virgin Tamil guy and so I want a virgin girl. My future wife will face torture from me if she had sex before and lie to me before marriage. Non-virgin girls should never play with the feelings of virgin boys and they should always tell their life partners about their virginity before marriage.Today there are many murders and crimes because of cheating in marriages. You guys must be aware of that. When a husband/wife finds out about the extra marital affairs then he/she kills his/her life partner along with the other person involved. Such crimes were not present in those days when men and women were virgin before marriage. But since both men and women are losing their morals and virginity the crimes and murders are increasing…
    There are many men and women,who,under the garb of so called “modernity” marry a person even after knowing his past affairs.they feel that past is past and marriage is like some button,which,once pressed will make that partner totally faithful to his spouse.but this is not so.
    Many times,even after marriage,the partner keeps in touch with her/his old boy friend or girl friend,and then the person who married him/her regrets why he married this person who had such a past.
    Then follows suspicions,anger,jealousy,quarrels and so many complications b/w the spousesso its much better to marry a simple,gud charactered and faithful person
    Western Tamil girl logic:Girls fall for Mr wrong for various reasons and get B A N G E D. Whereas Mr Right focus on their career and life not getting diverted. Later when girls think about future settlement then they look for Mr Right and now they are worried about the lost virginity and its acceptance ???
    Many people highly criticize virgins by telling them you are narrow-minded. But in reality, it is a excuse to be promiscous.
    Faith cannot be done on a partner who has promiscuous past and neither i can create any emotion for her.
    Will you mary a girl who has AIDS, just to get marital status and survive in the society ?
    Their new meaning of love is s*x.
    Just look at the behaviour of her mother because if mother is characterless then her daughter will be the same..Trust me you don’t want to procreate with such devils .
    Living with a non-virgin is like silently killing myself, my emotional health will suffer a lot. So i will prefer to stay “HAPPY” virgin than to “”SUFFER” my whole life with a non-virgin.
    I an’t live with a non-virgin girl… i will prefer to die happy virgin than to marry a loose character girl.
    And if i need physical satisfaction, I can pay for s*x with pros without any commitment….so why marry a non-virgin because there is not much difference between a pros & non-virgin girl.
    If i didn’t found hymen and she did not bleed, she will be out of my house & life on the wedding day itself.
    An unchaste or characterless girl will not stay even a single day in my house. Tamil culture has taught us that celibacy until marriage is the best.
    A virgin girl is clean of disease, and she’s always going to remember her first as her first. They make the best marriage material .Sex will be within our marriage, and we’d have a lifetime of exploration with each other. I personally feel that Tamil men love women more when they have saved themselves for their hushand and vice versa. I think it is.men feel more respect for and have sincere tenderness toward a virgin.i guess it has something to do with the pure incecents that men see when we look at a virgin. Virgins on both sides is best
    As for non virgin Tamil females, They’re damaged goods, Why should a Tamil man marry a girl who has had multiple penis’s inserted into her mouth, vagina and anus. Every Tamil man deserves a virgin. Non virgins are infested with every sort of sexually transmitted diseases and they are not marriage mariterial ,yet we all must be nice to them but we will never consider marrying them.
    Tamil guys – even educated guys who grew up in Canada – are very judgmental about a girl’s past. Even today, Tamil men have different standards for whom they’ll casually date and whom they’ll marry. And a Tamil girl who has had several boyfriends or sexual partners will not be viewed as marriage material. Tamil men won’t settle for what they perceive as “used goods” with baggage from past relationships. While this double standard may seem unfair to the ladies, it is still the reality in our community.Tamil guys today can’ go “back home” to marry a virgin bride as our uncles and older cousins did. A Tamil man with a professional job has plenty of options unlike girls even in our old age we can get married to young virgin females.

  8. … you just publicly admitted that you will engage in a criminal offence (domestic violence, physical assault) on a publicly viewed forum. I hope that you are not looking to get into universities/colleges/trade schools, get hired for a job or want to stay in school. oh wait, you only need your virginity to be respectable and find a wife. i forgot.
    “My future wife will face torture from me if she had sex before and lie to me before marriage.”

  9. Jay the rationalization hamster is an analogy for the thought processes used by women to turn bad behavior and bad decisions into acceptable ones to herself and her friends. When a woman makes a bad decision, the hamster spins in its wheel (the woman’s thinking) and creates some type of acceptable reasons for that bad decision. The crazier the decision, the faster the hamster must spin in order to successfully rationalize away the insanity
    I simply can’t offer better examples than The Anonymous Man’s post does, so I encourage you to read it for more examples. Here are a couple of the most common:
    Here are a couple of the most common:
    Bad Decision:
    “I’m going out and getting drunk with my friends.”
    Resulting Consequences:
    Drunken and unsatisfactory hookup sex with a stranger.
    Hamster Processing Result:
    “I was drunk and he took advantage of me or maybe even raped me! Maybe it was a date rape drug!”
    Final Result:
    “It’s not my fault.”
    The emphasis in this example being that the sex was in fact consensual (although alcohol was involved), but the woman justifies it (rationalises it… with her hamster) to get over the guilt associated with making a bad decision.
    Bad Decision:
    “I deserve only the most attractive and successful man despite the fact that I don’t have much to offer in the context of dating and relationships.”
    Resulting Consequences:
    Can’t find any man for dating or a relationship or only has one-night stands.
    Hamster Processing Result:
    “There are no good men” or “Men suck”
    Final Result:
    “It’s not my fault.”
    Viewed within the context of the Red Pill, the Rationalisation Hamster can be recognised in many places.

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