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Why are Tulipán’s consent condoms a bad idea?

Why are Tulipán’s consent condoms a bad idea?

My plan was to crack on getting through my review pile, and focus on reviewing a vibrator or five today. Until I saw this Tweet: 

And I have feelings. Lots of feelings.

Tulipán has created a ‘consent condom’. Unsurprisingly, it is an inaccessible design that won’t reduce sexual assault or increase condom use. It is ableist, and a bad idea.

Were there good intentions? Yes. Tulipán had the idea for the consent condom because a study by AHF Argentina found that only 14.5% of Argentinian men use condoms. It’s a time where condom use, consent, and conversation is becoming a bigger focal point, and I’m all for that! If you ask me any question on disability, consent and conversation are going to be my main answers. However, whilst this consent condom might be making a statement on consent, it’s better left as performative art (that I still don’t agree with) than a product made for sale, because that’s what this boils down to – performance.

There is no practicality to this product, for anyone. Want to tie your partner up, and ride them? Damn, can’t unless you untie them so you can both open up the consent condom box. Want to bend over whilst they rip open the foil that will let you have all the fun? Nope, got to pause to both open a condom. What about those that want to go solo with a toy? Have fun figuring out how to open the box by yourself. A little drunk, and want to have safe sex you both agree to? Have fun with coordinating yourselves, and not becoming so frustrated that you throw the consent condom across the room.

When you think about the consent condom, disabled people, and accessibility it gets worse. What about those who don’t have two hands? And those with arthritis, and dexterity problems? What if both partners are disabled? How would a partially sighted or blind person know that you need four hands to open the box? I could go on.

If I were to use this consent condom with my partner, it would require an evening spent de-boxing condoms so we could have sex in the future. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend that time actually having sex.

Regarding sexual assault, the consent condom will do nothing for it. It might spark a conversation between partners about how annoying it is to get the condom open, but it will not prevent sexual assault. Why? If a person is committing sexual assault, they’re not going to pause to figure out how to open a condom box they could crush. And, a partner can change their mind after the condom is on, as consent is fluid

Creating a condom in an inaccessible box will not increase condom use, and if the couple aren’t already having conversations on consent, this condom isn’t going to make that happen. Instead, Tulipán, and other companies should focus their efforts on:

  • Making condoms even easier to open, and working out how to make them accessible.
  • Helping to change the stigma surrounding condom use.
  • Making condoms readily available for all. 
  • Ensuring, and maybe even sponsoring comprehensive sex education.

Finally, if you want good PR all you have to do is design accessible products! I guarantee you disabled people, the elderly, and people frustrated with the current design of products will take notice. We will buy your products, and we will promote you to everyone we know. Accessibility starts at the concept of a design, and should be included throughout every step from the packaging, the instructions, the product, and all the way through to the promotion.

If you want to see the consent condom in action, follow this link:

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