The spring 2020 semester marks the beginning of a campus-wide contraceptive initiative at the University of Utah called the Pleasure Pack. The Pleasure Pack is a free delivery service ran through the Center of Student Wellness and Campus Contraceptive Initiative where students can order a variety of condoms, lube and other barrier methods for free.
The Campus Contraceptive Initiative did a survey last year on reproductive and sexual experiences. One of their first findings was students said there was a lot of stigma and embarrassment around accessing condoms for students.
Grace Mason, president of the Campus Contraceptive Initiative and a health, society and policy and gender studies double major, said their research started with looking into how to make condoms more accessible to students. “They went into a deep rabbit hole of trying to find the most inclusive and effective way for every student to have access to contraceptives,” they said.
Mason wanted to tackle this issue head on. “How can we make a program that tackles that embarrassment and stigma but also provides for a diverse array of students?” they asked.
Mason found the Pleasure Pack delivery service by contacting different programs and universities across the country.
“We wanted to emphasize that not only should students be able to access the health that they choose and want, but they should also be able to have pleasure in that experience,” they said.
The Pleasure Pack is customizable, allowing students to choose from latex-free internal condoms, an array of sizes for external condoms, oral dams and either silicone or water-based lubricants. It also comes with an informational packet that includes other places to find contraceptives and where to get tested for STDs.
Students can order the pack with their UID. There is no limit to the amount a student can order. On-campus students can order the pack directly to their mailbox in a discreet envelope and off-campus students can pick it up through the Center for Student Wellness in the Student Life Center or in the A. Ray Olpin Union.
Mason said that when they approached the Center for Student Wellness with the idea of using the Pleasure Pack service, the center decided to adopt it and scrap their previous condom distribution service, where students could buy 20 condoms for $2.
In the pilot semester of the program, they have already seen success with around 200 orders, far exceeding the use of last year’s service, when they had around 20 purchases.
Catherine Castillo, a third-year student studying kinesiology and a resident advisor, participated in a service project in January where they put together some Pleasure Packs and learned that the ACES team at the center packs around 15 orders a week.
“I think it is important for the University to put emphasis on contraceptive initiatives such as the Pleasure Pack because college students do have sex, but sometimes don’t have the ability to afford safe and enjoyable products when exploring their sexuality,” she said.
Castillo has even left out a box of condoms and lube for her residents, and she said the large box was empty within 48 hours of setting it out.
“I think the U could improve knowledge and use of contraceptives by promoting services like the Pleasure Pack and supporting initiatives that allow for free to low-cost contraceptives for students,” Castillo said.
As the semester progresses, Mason said they are going to continue to evaluate the program and try to find more ways to make it more accessible to students.
“I definitely see this program moving into future semesters,” they said.