The number one issue many people have with condoms is that
the latex deadens sensation - like having sex through a shower curtain
Okay, let's see if we can have a sensible, adult discussion about
condoms while keeping a straight face and without cracking any silly jokes.
First up, National Condom
Day is an actual thing and it falls on Valentine's Day. If you're
wondering why you haven't really heard of it before, it's probably
because the media is more comfortable flogging roses and chocolates
than it is flogging contraceptives.
And while the slogan, "Let's share affection, not
infection" may not be overly romantic, it's certainly practical
National Condom Day began as an initiative by a US AIDS support group
back in the late 1980s when the phrase "safe sex" was still
fairly new. Its objective was to educate people, particularly young
people, about the risks of sexually transmissible infections (STIs)
and unplanned pregnancies.
Now, almost 30 years on, the message is still just as important. Some
STIs such as Chlamydia and HIV are still far too prevalent for
complacency. Many people over the age of 35 would still remember
Australia's famous Grim Reaper TV
commercial from 1987 which was controversial at the time for its
sheer brutality. The campaign captured global attention, marking
Australia as a worldwide leader in spreading the message of safe sex,
and is still considered one of the most effective HIV/AIDS prevention
But in the absence of similarly effective campaigning today, there's
a growing undercurrent of complacency and ignorance among some younger
age groups regarding STIs. For many people, condoms just aren't cool.
The number one issue many people have with condoms is that the latex
deadens sensation - like having sex through a shower curtain. To be
fair, they have a point.
But innovative researchers
at the University of Wollongong are already onto this. Funded
with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the
researchers are working to replace latex with a new material that's
"more skinlike". Made of tough hydrogel, the
condoms-in-progress will be designed to look, act and feel like real
human skin. This kind of hydrogel is already found in everyday things
like contact lenses and even food additives. The research team hopes
this new generation type of condom will "enhance or preserve
pleasure for uptake in condom use" and puts it at the very
of condom technology.
In the meantime, popular slogans like "if it's not on, it's not
on" still need to prevail.