Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Durex ad that I didn't need to see on World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. And while many great attempts have been made by social marketers to get people to practice safer sex, the sexual transmission of HIV continues at a worrying pace.

The biggest barrier is that fact that nobody really likes condom sex better than bare sex. "Shower in a raincoat," etc. It will always be seen as a sensory compromise, even if it can improve length of performance or allow a more relaxed response by offering peace of mind.

And even the condom manufacturers know it:

This ad was featured today in Photoshop Disasters, because of the badly altered hand, but I found the concept itself gave me pause.

So, apparently, did @sidgestion, who Tweeted another version of the ad with the comment, "you can leave her pleasantly puzzled - do I need to get an abortion?"

Indeed, the ad seems wrong on so many levels. That a woman would muse about whether her partner used a condom or not brings up all kinds of questions about sexual health, consent, and plain old respect in the bedroom. It implies that she really would rather you forwent the Jimmy cap and jumped in au naturel, no matter what she has said to the contrary. In some ways, this is as bad as "no means yes".

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's just a stupid ad. But in a world where some men would rather have their foreskins cut off than wear a condom, I don't think it's helping the cause any.

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