Durex has launched an international campaign calling for the creation of an official safe sex emoji ahead of world AIDS Day on December 1st.
Durex says its recent research reveals emojis play a vital role young people’s conversation around sex, with 80% of 16-25 year olds finding it easier to express themselves using emojis, and over half of respondents regularly using emojis when discussing sex.
“Many young people have gained their sexual knowledge through their own sexual activity and searching the internet,” explains Mark McCormack, senior lecturer in Sociology and Co-Director, Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities at Durham University.
“While participants generally felt able to discuss safe sex within their romantic relationships, there was more uncertainty with new or potential partners. 80% welcomed the idea of the emoji to make the discussion of safe sex easier and more fun,” he says
According to the Durex, there is a rise in apathy towards safer sexual practises with over a third of survey respondents claiming not care about safe sex.
Durex says a safe sex emoji will enable young people to overcome embarrassment around the discussion of safe sex, encourage conversation and raise awareness of the importance of using condoms in protecting against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS.
“Durex is calling for people to use and share the hashtag #CondomEmoji in support of safe sex,” the company says in statement.
Durex says it hopes 1 million users will let their voices be heard over November so the support can be captured as part of the official submission to Unicode (the company behind emojis) on World AIDS Day.
“Durex believes in happier, healthier sex lives and World AIDS Day is a hugely significant reminder about the importance of safe sex,” says Volker Sydow, global director for Durex. “Looking at how influential messaging is in the development of relationships today, an official safe sex emoji is a simple and empowering step towards better protection and sexual wellbeing.”
Emma Smith, marketing manager for Durex New Zealand, adds, “The reality is, the younger generation of sexually active consumers have grown up without a wide understanding of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“They were not exposed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s and have grown up knowing there are very effective drug treatments available to those living with HIV.
“As a result, we need to consider the way we communicate and educate our younger consumers,” she says. “They consume media in a unique way via non-traditional channels, we want to give them access to resources which allow them to have informed conversations around safe sex in a language that is relevant to them.”