October 1980

Advertising Condoms-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Child Health and Development George Washington University Medical School 901 23rd St NW Washington, DC 20037

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(10):1000. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130220076032

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Sir.—In his article, Bergman has some persuasive arguments for encouraging the use of condoms by sexually active adolescents. I would, however, take issue with his approach. He advocates mass advertisement of condoms on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines. Does this mean that when you "go for the gusto," you reach for a condom or that two Wheaties box tops will get you a rubber? Probably not. However, the American advertising industry can take an item like a condom, glorify it, strip it of its moral implications, and make it as necessary for every teenager as underarm deodorant.

We believe that this mass-media approach implicitly establishes a moral standard and legitimizes teenage sexual activity. Dr Bergman states, "by advocating condom usage to those who are already sexually active, the physician does not condone promiscuity." This is, of course, true; but what about sexually inactive adolescents, and the