Why Are Olympians Being Asked *Not* to Use Condoms?

Olympians will still be getting their traditional supply of free condoms, but they're not supposed to actually use them

pile of brightly colored condoms
Unfortunately, condoms only work if you use them.
CatLane/iStock/Getty Images

Every four years, the fittest people in the world come together to test their athletic prowess on the world’s most competitive playing fields, and also, as one might imagine, to have a lot of sex with each other. The Olympic Village’s reputation as a site of debauchery is well-documented, and the Olympic committee has dutifully provided thousands of free condoms to athletes since 1988 to ensure whatever happens in the Olympic Village stays in the Olympic Village.

A lot of things will look different during this summer’s Tokyo games, however, and while Olympians will still get their free condoms —160,000 of them, to be exact, which falls significantly short of the record-setting 450,000 condoms needed during 2016’s Rio games — they’re being asked to kindly refrain from using them. While the Olympic condom tradition has its origins in the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, this year the Olympic Village faces the threat of a pestilence condoms are unfortunately powerless to combat. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Olympians have been banned from engaging in any “intimate relations” at all — which, good luck.

Naturally, if one isn’t engaging in intimate relations, they wouldn’t need condoms. Despite firmly banning sex between athletes back in February, however, the International Olympic Committee seems to understand that keeping the fittest bodies in the world from getting intimate with each other while sharing close living quarters is perhaps an overly optimistic goal, so they’re handing out condoms “just in case.” Basically, the Olympic Committee is a high school sex ed teacher required to preach abstinence but who still passes around a bowl of condoms, à la Coach Carr from Mean Girls: “Don’t have sex, because you will get coronavirus and die. Okay, now everybody take some rubbers.”

Still, the committee remains adamant that these condoms are very much not supposed to be used for the sole purpose condoms serve. “Our intent and goal is not for athletes to use the condoms at the Olympic Village,” the committee said, according to Tokyo Sports. So what does one do with condoms if they can’t use them? Don’t worry, the Olympic Committee has a suggestion: bring them home as souvenirs, or, as the IOC put it, “help with awareness by taking them back to their own countries.”

Awareness of what, exactly, the IOC hopes to spread throughout the world via prophylactics remains unclear. Awareness of condoms? The Olympics? Japan? Regardless, it goes without saying that while the Olympic Committee may well feel it has a duty to discourage sexual activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is never a good idea to discourage condom use, for any reason. People are going to continue having sex regardless of whatever crisis the world is currently facing. Mankind has gleefully fucked right on through literally every global catastrophe our species has weathered during our time on earth — our own continued existence is proof of that. Let the Olympians have sex, and for the love of god let them use condoms. After all, condoms only work if you use them, and not as souvenirs.

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