From Durex to Saint Laurent: can condoms be sexy? | Fashion | The USA Print

From Durex to Saint Laurent: can condoms be sexy?  |  Fashion

Although sex has practically become another character in cinema, it is not so common for condoms to appear on screen. Although more and more series and feature films are striving to normalize its use, it was not until 1971 when a condom was shown on the big screen. It was in ‘Carnal Knowledge’, and it took twenty years for cinema to begin to popularize its use thanks to the fact that condom companies decided to implement a product placement strategy with which to promote safe sex and of course, increase your sales. In fact, when in ‘Pretty Woman’ Julia Roberts takes a Safetex condom out of her boot, things changed for the firm. This is what Kim Leffler says, product manager of the company, who confessed in 1993 to ‘Los Angeles Times’ Since then, when people see the brand, they say ‘Ah: that’s Pretty Woman’. We comment on the limited presence of condoms in cinematographic discourse because it helps shape the popular imagination and normalize certain behaviors, something that does not seem to be working well in the case of safe sex.

Dysfunctional figures

This is indicated by Barometer Spaniards and sex from Control, which reveals that in the last year, Spain has taken a step back in prevention and sexual health. Condom use among young people aged 18-26 has fallen to pre-pandemic numbers, reducing its use by 4% compared to 2021-22 and 1% compared to 2019. Currently, 58% of young people between 18 and 26 years old always use a condom when having sex, while this figure, in 2021, stood at 62%.

Series like ‘Sex Education’ have reflected how common it is for men to insist their partners not use condoms. Andrés Suro, sexologist at MYHIXEL, proposes some strategies to address a couple’s refusal to use a condom.

Assertive communication, as it is vital to talk to your partner in a space where both parties can share their perspectives sincerely. Also offer alternatives and involve the man, considering trying different types of condoms and brands. Another good idea is for both of you to go to an expert to receive joint education about STIs, the risks associated with unprotected sex, and the benefits of condom use. If the refusal persists, they should consider seeking help from a sexual health professional,” she explains.

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Fashion protection

Meanwhile, the fashion world is trying to make condoms sexy. While in 2018, Alexander Wang partnered with condom brand Trojan to create a capsule collection called “Protect Your Wang”, in 2019 Saint Laurent launched condoms from the brand. A year later, Vetements co-designed black and pink rubber condoms that served as invitations to its spring/summer 2020 show. The latest case took place last February, when Durex teamed up with Diesel by providing the brand with 200,000 condoms that They were part of the scenography of the parade. «Sex positivity is an incredible thing. At Diesel we like to play, and we do it seriously. Have fun, respect each other, be safe. ‘For Sucsexful Living!'” explained Glenn Martens, creative director of the brand. As if that were not enough, the collection included a knitted T-shirt that changed the D for Durex for the D for Diesel.

Sergio Romero, CEO of VivelaVita, a company that seeks to encourage adventure and new intimate experiences in couples, explains how a product as unsexy as condoms can be made sexy. “The first thing you have to do is take care of your presentation. The packaging design must be attractive, cheerful and current. Positive phrases and expressions could be used. It is also essential to promote the message of freedom and protection, but above all, we must change the idea that it is a boring obligation to that it is a positive experience,” she explains. “There are more than 24 different concepts of condoms: ribbed, flavored, luminescent, retardant, hot or cold effect, granulated… Using any of these models brings play, fun and pleasure, why not use them?” says the condom expert. digital marketing and founder of the creative agency Cerotec Estudios.

From Durex to Saint Laurent: can condoms be sexy? | Fashion | The USA Print

Elena Lavagna, from ElenaLaLáa digital marketing consultant and trainer specialized in social networks, highlights the importance of that campaigns focus on changing user perception. “The key is to present condom use as a smart, sexy choice that empowers men and women to enjoy a healthy and safe sex life. You can collaborate with influencers and celebrities who are known for an adventurous, passionate and positive lifestyle. Also work on the idea that the condom is fashionable. Another option is to carry out interactive campaigns on social networks that invite people to share stories of passion and how condoms have been part of those experiences, with hashtags and viral challenges that encourage participation. Finally, attractive images and high-quality videos can be used that show confident and attractive couples using condoms in intimate situations. This will help associate condom use with pleasure,” she indicates.

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Why do so many people turn their backs on safe sex?

At the ‘Talk’n’Sex round table. Talking about sex makes you free’, organized by the Durex company this year, the company noted that three out of 10 men do not use condoms due to the false myth of loss of sensitivity. Why does sex continue without precautions? Andrés Suro responds. “We cannot ignore the habituation of new generations to impactful social awareness campaigns. From a very early age, young people have been exposed to all kinds of images, advertisements and messages about the risks of tobacco, traffic accidents and, of course, carefree sex. This has led them to become accustomed to these warning stimuli and ignore them, because they no longer impact them. Today, lack of risk perception is widespread: some people tend to underestimate the risks associated with unprecautionary sex, such as the transmission of STIs or unwanted pregnancy. The illusion of invulnerability, that is, the belief that an infection, a disease or any alteration of good health is something foreign to oneself, is usually enhanced by the consumption of substances such as alcohol or drugs, which affects the judgment and decision-making, which potentially leads to situations of unsafe sex,” he says.

According to a report from the Scientific Committee on Covid and Emerging Pathogens of the Illustrious Official College of Physicians of Madrid (ICOMEM), more and more young people are presenting with a Sexually Transmitted Infection, something that, as pointed out Dr. Jorge del Romero, medical director of the Sandoval Health Center (Madrid), is not a new phenomenon. “It is more vertical than in the previous five years, but the increase is incessant, probably due to the loss of fear of AIDS or the preventive effectiveness of both antiretroviral treatment and postponement prophylaxis. All of this, together with the increase in the consumption of substances to have sexual relations and the ease of finding partners or sexual contacts through applications, has made it easier for this increase to occur,” he explains. Dr. Miriam Al Adib Mendiri says that mistaken beliefs that there is no risk of STDs without ejaculation can persist due to a lack of education or accurate information about STIs. “It is important to note that many sexually transmitted infections can be transmitted even without ejaculation, since they not only depend on semen, but also on other body fluids and direct contact with infected areas. Adequate education about STIs and their forms of transmission is essential to demystify these erroneous beliefs,” says the author of ‘Let’s talk about adolescence’.

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The data from the Spaniards Barometer and the Control sex indicate that Only a third of Spaniards go for a check-up punctually or do so only if they have noticed any symptoms that could be indicative of a sexually transmitted infection. “These data mean that two out of three Spaniards neither review nor know the status of their sexual health; and only one in three goes to a specialist at least once a year,” says Irene Asenjo, product manager at Control España. “In the case of men, the serious situation is accentuated. More than half (52.4%) claim to have never had a check-up to find out their sexual health status, and furthermore, only 16% go to a specialist at least once a year. Data that contrasts with the case of women, where the situation is reversed: more than half (51.1%) go to check their sexual health at least once a year; and only 20% have never attended,” he assures S Moda.

The key to achieving a truly happy ending? That sex is safe, and marketing and fashion are already trying to achieve this by selling the message that its use is cool. What is not attractive is having to start a pep talk every time you have sex to convince your partner of the importance of using condoms.

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