Play Safe. Wear Protection.

“Fishnets and booty shorts!” These are the first words that come to the minds of many when they think about roller derby. And roller derby does include women wearing less clothing doing more hitting. (But we know it to be a lot more.) Still, with a reputation for being a sexy sport, it is our responsibility to be willing to have real and honest conversations about sex. After all, we are empowered adult women. We wear what we want. We are athletic. We are sexy. And we care about our community. That is why we decided to team up with Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center this February to do an education campaign celebrating condom awareness.

Gear up. Play safe.
Wearing protective gear is a really important part of roller derby. Everyone who plays this sport understands that it comes with some risks. It is a full contact, competitive sport- and it’s played on roller skates. If you play, you are to some degree, a risk taker. But our safety is important, too. Referees check the gear of every skater before a bout, and we play safe at every practice. We learn how to fall, to fall small, and to keep our fingers in a fist so they don’t get run over when we hit the floor. We wear helmets, elbow pads, knee pads, wrist guards, and mouth guards. But we still risk injury. Truthfully, the only way to prevent a roller derby injury is by not playing at all. But roller derby is super fun so we risk it anyway, knowing that our protective gear will keep us safer.

Play safe. Wear protection.
Just like with roller derby, being sexually active comes with some risks. Those risks are a bit different, and can include contracting an infection and possibly creating a pregnancy. And while the only way to be completely safe is to not engage in sexual activity with another person, most people at some point in their lives will decide they want to participate. Similar to the safety precautions we take to play roller derby, there are ways to keep yourself safer during sex; one of the best ways to protect yourself is to use barriers. Condoms, dental dams, latex or nitrile gloves are all great tools. Using these barriers correctly, every time, will significantly reduce the risk involved with being sexually active.

Let the good times (un)roll.
This Valentine’s Day, as we gear up and play safe at practice, we encourage folks celebrating this romantic holiday to play safe and wear protection. Just like us.

The images in this article were part of a campaign created for this year’s Condom Awareness Week by the skaters of Central Maine Derby and Steven J Gray Photography.  To see all the photos, check out the album on our Facebook page.