Welcome to the Winter Olympics. No hugging, but help yourself to the free condoms | Sex

Name: Winter Olympics condoms.

Age: 34.

Status: Confusing.

Why do they need condoms at the Winter Olympics? Don’t be so naive. Imagine for a moment that you are an Olympian.

Wow, I’m suddenly so much sexier. That’s right. And during the Winter Olympics you’re going to live in a village populated by thousands of other sexy, hard-bodied human gods who have also spent half a decade denying themselves any pleasure at all in the pursuit of glory. Logically, how would you spend your free time there?

Ah, OK, the condoms are a very good idea. Correction: they are usually a very good idea.

Why not now? Oh my God, read the room.

Oh, right. Covid. That’s right. The upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics will operate under some incredibly strict social distancing rules to prevent the Games from becoming an international super-spreader event. As such, athletes have been instructed to minimise hugs, high-fives and handshakes at all times.

That sounds sensible. And yet journalists entering the Olympics bubble found five individually wrapped commemorative condoms in their hotel rooms.

In fairness, most people can have sex without high-fiving each other. But all the other stuff that goes on, all those exchanged fluids. It’s basically a Covid breeding ground.

This is an ethical nightmare. It is. Since the 1988 Seoul Games, the Olympics has made it a point of pride to promote safe sex to all visitors. The policy has become a fundamental part of the institution. But at the same time, it has a responsibility to keep people apart in the pandemic.

It’s a tricky spot to be in. Luckily – or unluckily – these are not the first Olympics to be held during the Covid crisis. Last year’s delayed 2020 Games in Tokyo have already set a precedent for this exact scenario.

Which was? It still dished out 160,000 free condoms to athletes, but at the same time warned them that breaching social distancing guidelines could result in disqualification or deportation.

A-ha, so they were mementoes. Exactly. Everyone’s consignment of five condoms was reframed as a souvenir.

That’s quite sweet. Unbelievably sweet. An athlete might not have returned home with a medal, but at least they would always have a tangible reminder of that time they could have had sex with several of the most perfect people alive, but didn’t. Isn’t that what memories are made of?

I hope we never have to go through this again. Me too. Call me old-fashioned, but the Olympics simply aren’t the Olympics if none of the athletes get to cheat on their spouse with a Scandinavian triple-jumper.

Do say: “Look honey, I’ve brought home a souvenir from the Olympics!”

Don’t say: “Four commemorative condoms!”

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