Durex has launched an international campaign calling for the creation of the world’s first official safe sex emoji, ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December 2015.
Research conducted by Durex reveals that emojis play a vital role in young people’s conversation around sex, with 80% of 16-25 year olds finding it easier to express themselves using emojis; and more than half of respondents regularly using emojis when discussing sex.
In addition, 84% of 16-25 year olds said they feel more comfortable talking about sex using emojis.
More worrying is the rise in apathy towards engaging in safer sexual practices with over one-third of respondents claiming not to care about safe sex. Further research showed nearly half think that HIV will never affect them or their friends.
In light of this, Durex is calling for an official safe sex emoji to be created by the company behind emojis (Unicode). Such an 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 (STIs), including HIV and AIDS.
Durex is calling for people to use and share the hashtag #CondomEmoji in support of safe sex. The company hopes that 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 on World AIDS Day.
“Many young people have gained their sexual knowledge through their own sexual activity and searching the internet,” explains Dr Mark McCormack, senior lecturer in sociology and co-director of the 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.”
Alexia Theocharis, Durex brand manager, adds: “The influence of social media in our lives is astounding and as Durex we understand the significance and impact it has, hence we have come up with this emoji campaign. With this campaign we want to continue the emphasis on the importance of practising safe sex especially amongst young people and this is hugely important for us as we draw close to World Aids Day.”