What dwindling condom use can teach us about advertising.

My generation and the generation coming after my generation (ha!) seem to be anti-condoms.

We’re so adverse that highly-paid admen have been hired by brands like Durex and Lifestyles to figure out why people aren’t “wrapping up” before having a good romp in the sack.

The answers these admen have come up with are reflected in the advertising these brands are putting out.

Trojan hired white, slightly nerdy rapper, Lil Dickey, to promote their condoms by talking about how gross it is that people are having sex without protection and how this can in turn lead to STDs.

This has been the angle condom companies have been taking for decades.

You wear a condom because:

1. It lowers your risk of catching something.
2. It lowers your chance of pregnancy.

Some condom companies have spun out from the herd entirely and have created this theory that the reason their customers aren’t wearing condoms is because their massive members can’t fit inside of them.

So, they’ve gone on to create Magnums. And, since these Magnums aren’t big enough for some, Magnum XLs.

I played sports in middle school, high school and college, which means I’ve showered with lots of men and I can attest that all men are not created equal in this southern region.

However, I think the Magnum XLs are more of an attempt to cater to a man’s vanity and the sawed-off shotgun he “believes” he has stowed away in his trousers that, for the life of him, he can’t seem to fit within a rather stretchy material.

But, maybe I’m just jealous because I have a very normal-sized dick and wear very normal-sized condoms and being that all men give themselves an inch or a mile in this department, this probably means I’m below average.


So, sizing out condoms like t-shirts didn’t really work so the admen went back to the drawing board and, get this, had the epiphany that customers aren’t wearing condoms because the thickness — sorry boys, not you, the rubbers — are stealing the pleasure from the act.

So, they designed thinner condoms, which I find to be a hot crock of shit for two reasons…

For one, many of the men I know are “dry jerkers”, meaning they don’t masturbate with any lotion, which I myself find to be heinous and a bit disrespectful to one’s member.

(I imagine even caveman would split open an Aloe plant or grab some melted down Mammoth fat before milking their snake.)

That said, having sex with a condom easily feels 3x- 5x better than masturbation, especially for the dry jerkers.

For two, we’re talking about making love to a woman here, which one could argue would still be pleasurable if both parties were wearing diver’s suits.

God wasn’t a stupid man in creating us and he knew that in order to keep humankind from “not having sex” and going completely extinct, he needed to work some magic.

He worked this magic, brilliantly, in the space between a woman’s legs, knitting it with some fabric you can only find in an air-tight safe somewhere in the back of his office guarded by a dozen German Shepherds and sharks with lasers on their heads.

So, those two reasons essentially rule out the “ultra-thin” selling point of condoms.

Do rubbers dampen the experience? Sure.

But, they might take the magic from a 10/10 to an 8/10 and I don’t care what anyone says…

Ice cream is still ice cream.

All that to say, here’s the real reason men and women aren’t using condoms with the dedication that they should…


One or both parties have had an embarrassing experience where they’ve been hot and heavy and in the mood and they have to hit pause as the man awkwardly fumbles around for a condom in the dark and sometime in this fumbling, loses his erection.

This is wildly embarrassing for the man because his ego is as delicate as a dandelion and his masculinity is almost completely and entirely tied to his performance in the bedroom.

(Gals, why do you put up with us?)

And, it’s wildly embarrassing for the woman because it makes her feel as though there is something intrinsically wrong with her to cause the kite to lose altitude.

You know what is far scarier for both men and women than potentially catching an STD (at least when in the heat of the moment)?

Feeling unmasculine or unsexy.

So, if these condom companies were smart, they’d shoot a commercial with Little Dicky not targetting “the size of the condom” nor “the thinness of the condom” nor “the risk of STDs and pregnancy when not using condoms”.

Instead, they’d make light of something that happens all too often in the bedroom…

They’d make a joke of it all.

They’d make men feel less like asshats when their cocks take a nosedive and perhaps even help them tie their masculinity to something a bit healthier than the flesh hanging between their legs and, they’d help women realize that absolutely none of these miniature catastrophes have anything to do with them.

(This latter bit might feel as though it should go without saying. But, it doesn’t. I’m fortunate to have very close friends that are women and one of them, just the other day, opened up to me about having a couple at-bats where two separate male lovers whiffed and I had to explain to her that these whiffs had nothing to do with her and everything to do with them.)

With this approach to advertising, we’d laugh about it and we’d joke about ways to get that kite back up in the sky once the wind has died down and then we’d all fuck each other’s brains out, protected.

Advertising isn’t selling.

Advertising is understanding people and, perhaps, it’s practicing empathy.

By Cole Schafer.

Sticky Notes is my email list reserved for entrepreneurs, creatives, marketers, writers and freelancers looking to sell like hell (without losing their soul).

Originally published at https://www.honeycopy.com on April 14, 2021.

I write pretty words and sometimes sell things. https://coleschafer.com/subscribe

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