‘Safe Sex’ Guide in House Gym Causes Embarrassment
Hill, April 2, 2003
By Sam Dealey
An explicit guide to safe sex in the House gym that
vividly describes sex acts illegal in 14 states is causing discomfort among
At least one piece of advice deals with the use of drugs
that are illegal under federal and state laws.
“Almost anything you want to do, you can probably do
safely. Be creative, and have a healthy, safer sex life,” the how-to
Entitled “Good Sex is Safer Sex,” the publication was
paid for by the D.C. Department of Human Services and sponsored by the
Whitman-Walker Clinic Inc. It was brought to The Hill’s attention by an
outraged lawmaker who sought to remain anonymous.
“I was downstairs in the House gym using the phone, and
during a break I just grabbed something to read,” the lawmaker said. “And
I learned not to use a condom twice, among other things,” the offended
The 400-word guide offers explicit guidance on such
matters as foreplay, oral, vaginal and anal sex. It often employs vernacular
language unsuitable for general publication.
Many lawmakers were unaware of the pamphlet. But when
they heard about it, nearly all who were contacted were united in their
“If this is their best hit on safe sex and AIDS, it’s
no wonder we have an epidemic,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.).
“Teaching children safe sex this way is about as effective as having a
needle exchange program and saying you’re saving lives.”
Among the tamer examples, readers are advised not to
share “vibrators or other sex toys.”
Of the 14 states that outlaw sodomy, 11 apply to both
heterosexuals and homosexuals. Four apply only to homosexuals.
The pamphlet includes explicit illustrations of the
proper methods for putting on a condom and engaging in oral sex.
The guide also contains a section addressing alcohol and
“If you shoot drugs or steroids,” it advises,
“never share your works (syringe, cookers, cotton, etc.). If you have to
share your works, squirt bleach through the needle and syringe three times,
then squirt water through it three times before you use it.”
Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio), who chairs the informal
House gym committee, was unaware that the pamphlet is available in the
facility until a reporter brought it to his attention. After briefly glancing
at the guide, he declined to say whether it was appropriate material for the
House gym. “It’s probably none of your business anyway,” Oxley said.
House gym operations—the facility is also known as the
Wellness Center—fall under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol.
“The pamphlet is one of a series of fifty different
ones that were provided as a part of the Wellness Initiative,” said Eva
Malecki, a spokeswoman for the architect’s office.
“They provide information and educate members about
various health issues. People can pick them up and browse through whatever
topic they’re interested in, just like you would in your doctor’s
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