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Sexual Discourse: Bedroom novelties

Creative condoms becoming more popular despite high costs

 by Erika Wurst  published on Thursday, April 7, 2005

ASU communication freshman Samantha Finkelstein says just as long as her partner is wearing a condom, she is happy./issues/arts/692773
Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
ASU communication freshman Samantha Finkelstein says just as long as her partner is wearing a condom, she is happy.
 
Justice studies senior Zack Taylor says if a condom vibrates, it might be worth $12./issues/arts/692773
Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Justice studies senior Zack Taylor says if a condom vibrates, it might be worth $12.
 

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Condoms. They're rarely used for pleasure.

Rather, they act as a means of protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

But one condom company wants to change the way some couples think of condoms -- as a hassle and pleasure barrier.

Ansell, based in Australia, is making novelty condoms to spice up sex lives while promoting safe sex. And it's working.

The company released a new condom in December, and even though they cost $12 a pop, the Vibe 4U has skyrocketed to become Australia's No.1-selling condom.

With a battery-operated silicone ring that fits over the condom, the Vibe 4U not only protects the user and his mate, but pulsates to stimulate both partners.

Vibe 4U isn't the only condom trying to win the hearts of couples. Other novelty condoms that are on the market include glow-in-the-dark, flavored, musical and ice condoms.

Musical condoms are fitted with mini electronic devices connected to censors that trigger music to become louder as the sex becomes more intense; various positions lend themselves to various tunes. Ice condoms contain a lubricant that will create a cool, icy feeling on contact.

The market is shifting and so is the way people are looking at condom use. SPM hits campus this week and asks students to tell their condom experiences and if they would spend $12 on a novelty condom.

Who: Communication freshman Samantha Finkelstein
Where: At a picnic table, scoping out boys.

SPM: In general, how important is it for you to use a condom when you're with a partner?

Finkelstein: Very important because I don't want to have babies right now.

SPM: Is it ever embarrassing for you to bring up condom use when getting intimate?

Finkelstein: It's not embarrassing at all. I'm not going to have sex with a guy if he's not willing to use a condom.

SPM: What about a long-term relationship?

Finkelstein: No, not always. But that's different.

SPM: Do you ever feel embarrassed when buying condoms?

Finkelstein: I have never bought condoms. I make the guy bring them. I get them for free sometimes, but I've never bought them. I would, though.

SPM: Do you have a favorite brand?

Finkelstein: My favorite would probably be "for her pleasure" condoms.

SPM: Have you or would you ever consider using flavored, glow-in-the-dark or other novelty condoms?

Finkelstein: I would like to try new things and experiment. Have I ever, though? It's very possible. I don't pay much attention. As long as it's on, I'm happy.

SPM: A company just came out with a No. 1-selling condom that has a retail value of $12. What could a condom do that would be worth $12?
Finkelstein: It must guarantee no STDs or babies if it costs that much money.

SPM: Say you are with a partner you feel comfortable having unprotected sex with, would you ever use a novelty condom anyway, just for the fun of it?

Finkelstein: Yeah, definitely if it spiced things up. If I was going to get a different experience or sensation out of it, I would try it, just for experimental purposes.

Who: Justice studies senior Zack Taylor
Where: Chomping on a sandwich outside of Einstein's Bagels.

SPM: Zack, how important is condom use when you're with a sexual partner?

Taylor: Very. It protects me against disease.

SPM: What about in a long-term relationship? Is it just as important?

Taylor: It depends, if you've known each other for a while, you can go get tested together.

SPM: Do you ever get embarrassed bringing up condom use with a new partner?

Taylor: No. It's something that if you're cool enough to be having sex, you should be cool enough to talk about that sort of thing.

SPM: What about buying condoms. Ever get embarrassed walking up to the counter?

Taylor: Guys are always embarrassed to buy that crap, but personally I wouldn't be embarrassed to buy them if I needed them.

SPM: Do you have a favorite brand?

Taylor: Trojan because they're well known. They have a bunch of commercials and stuff, so I'd chose that over some brand I didn't know.

SPM: If you did ever leave the trusty Trojans, would you consider using novelty condoms like flavored or glow-in-the-dark?

Taylor: Heck yeah, why not? Anything that would be fun for me and her. Any suggestions that she would have, I would be up for.

SPM: Now, the million dollar question: A company just came out with a No. 1-selling condom that has a retail value of $12. What could a condom do that would be worth $12?

Taylor: Twelve dollars? It probably vibrates or something, I don't know.

SPM: Wow, we're impressed. That's exactly what it does.

Taylor: I guess it's worth the $12 then. I suppose that gets pretty expensive after a while.

SPM: If you were in a long-term relationship with someone you felt comfortable having unprotected sex with, would you use a novelty condom anyway?

Taylor: I'd say no because it feels better without it. But I guess if she wants to try something like that, then yeah, if it added a little something extra. There are so many stinking types.

SPM: Critics argue that novelty condoms are encouraging sexual activity among young people. Do you agree or disagree with this argument?

Taylor: I disagree. It's better to use a condom than not, and if they are promoting sex, at least they're promoting it safely.

Reach the reporter at erika.wurst@asu.edu.



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