I often use PositiveLite.com as a place where I can let loose with some unabashed rants. But occasionally, I do get the desire to blog about things that I actually like! And today I have a topic in mind that really makes me smile – One brand condoms.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when our Public Health nurse showed up in our agency with bags of the artistic, ironic, and hilariously packaged condoms. Our staff went wild, sorting through the condoms, reading the taglines, and laughing. Each condom has a picture and tagline that is a play off the word “one” – such as, “Enjoy one”, “I O U one”, “Hot one”, “One a day”, “Don’t forget one”, “One likes it hot” – and my favourite, “One time at band camp”). Each has a picture to accompany the tagline to heighten the joke (such as a picture of a flute with “One time at band camp”, a picture of a chili pepper for “Hot one”, an apple for “One a day” and a picture of Marilyn Monroe for “One likes it hot”).
I counted 74 unique condoms, although there are many more that I haven’t yet seen. Some of the condoms have been designed through the “Become a Rembrandt of Rubber” contest where people submit their own designs. Brilliant!
There’s been significant discussion in the HIV/AIDS field about how to make safe sex sexy but not so much around making safe sex fun. Well, these condoms are definitely fun. The crazy designs and hilarious taglines make you want to collect them all, like cereal box prizes, only better.
One of their greatest benefits, I believe, is helping to de-stigmatize sex overall. These condoms don’t feel risqué or secretive – they are bold, bright, and playful. If these condoms fell out of my purse (which let me tell you, happens pretty often when you’re a sexual health educator), I wouldn’t feel embarrassed - in fact, you’ll want to display, not hide, these condoms.
A colleague of mine actually put out a great big bowl of these condoms at a party, which served up some great discussion and laughs. She actually worried that the condoms might be too nice – that people might display or collect them instead of actually use them. But I don’t believe that’s an issue – if you’re in the position where you need a condom, you don’t care how cute that Dalmatian is on the package (One hundred and one!)
It makes me wonder if maybe making condoms fun is the right approach. After all, as sexy as condom packaging can get, sex is so stigmatized that people can find it difficult to talk openly sexuality and pleasure. Maybe having condoms that look a little bit less sultry and a lot more playful is the key to making them more accessible.
These condoms would make for a great way of flirting (they look almost like calling cards that could be given to someone at a bar) or for easing in to the discussion of safer sex. I can imagine them being displayed in a bedroom in a fishbowl, providing a fun focal point to ease into the discussion around safer sex with a new partner.
Other benefits to the packaging: they are easy to open, with an existing nick in the packaging to promote easy-tearing. Our only concern is that people need to know to push the condom away from the tear before ripping open the package, so that they don’t accidentally tear the condom itself. Some of the condoms are also colourful; the colours deviate slightly from the normal primary colours of standard colour condoms – they offer a slightly more “tasteful” palette of shades.
How could these condoms not make safer sex easier to discuss and more fun to have! I have only one question - why did it take this long for someone to make condoms that are this much fun?