Hartshorn Health Services unveiled on the Plaza Monday Pat’s Pleasure Parlor, a mobile sexual health cart to dispense a variety of free condoms, dental dams and lubricants to the student body.
The cart, which will be featured on the Plaza every Monday from 11 to 1 p.m., is currently just a trial run for the Health Center.
“For right now it is starting off as a pilot program,” senior psychology major Zane Guilfoyle said. “It is just a mobile cart that is addressing the issue of sexual health specifically for the CSU community. There is hard data that there is a need for it.”
Guilfoyle, who is the coordinator for the Health Center’s sexual education Web site “Ask Pat,” or askpat.colostate.edu, said Hartshorn Health Promotions professional Debra Morris found in her surveys that 75 percent of CSU’s student body has engaged in some form of sexual activity in the last year. Of those, 65 percent reported not using a condom.
Although Pat’s Pleasure Parlor may sound risqué to some, Hartshorn intern Yvette Lucero said the name was chosen to get peoples attention and stick in their minds as something they’d remember.
“We thought it was a fun name, but more importantly, we wanted people to get the message that we are trying to promote others to ‘protect yourself, respect yourself,'” she said.
Guilfoyle, Lucero and Morris estimated that about 65 people came to take a bag of free condoms and educational material. With time, they hope that more people will feel comfortable coming to Pat’s Pleasure Parlor.
“We didn’t know how many people to expect because this was our launch day,” Morris said. “It was a success. The whole purpose of this is education and reduce risk by giving students products.”
The launch of Pat’s Pleasure Parlor comes just a month after Trojan released its 2008 Sexual Health Report Card for American universities. Although there is no correlation between Pat’s Pleasure Parlor and the Trojan ratings, CSU was ranked 46 most sexually healthy school in the nation out of 139 schools, four slots behind the University of Colorado-Boulder’s 42. The University of Denver placed fifth.
Morris believes that the university can improve sexual health among its students, and hopes that Pat’s Pleasure Parlor will raise awareness of safer sex.
“We are really trying to learn from CSU’s population,” she said. “We knew there was a need for this, but now we are assessing how well people will respond to it.”
Some students, surprised by Pat’s Pleasure Parlor, were skeptical as to how effective the project would be.
“I guess if it’s going to make a difference it’s good but I don’t really see a lot of people going to get condoms from a condom cart in the middle of the Plaza,” freshman business major Sydney Borlabi said. “Test it out and see what happens, I’m just worried people might only go as a joke.”
Hartshorn Health Services purchased the condoms, dental dams and lubricants for Pat’s Pleasure Parlor using student fees that make up the health center’s general fund. Like many other Hartshorn services, the products are free to fee-paying students.
The cart, which will be staffed by student volunteers, is also looking for more people interested in helping promote safer sex practices.
“There are student volunteers, but only enough to have the cart staffed for one day a week,” Lucero said.
Those interested in volunteering for Pat’s Pleasure Parlor, or giving feedback on the services offered can contact Morris at 970-491-1723 or Deb.Morris@colostate.edu.
“We want more student volunteers. I look like their mother, so I might be a little too old to be at Pat’s Pleasure Parlor,” Morris said jokingly.
Staff writer Kelley Bruce Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org