New Safe-Sex Campaign Paints Health Concerns Blue

Raisins? Blueberries? Prunes? Keep guessing.

A new safe-sex campaign has gone simply ballistic in its promotion of healthy habits for men. A pair of singing testicles warns sexually active males of the tragic consequence that comes from forgetting to pack a condom: a case of the infamous blue balls.

The duo’s homepage declares their mission statement: “to save mankind from big, bulging problems,” and they intend to do so through song.

The minds behind the balls are finding praise for their unconventional approach to safe-sex awareness. Design Uncensored argues that the spokespeople commonly used to teach safe-sex—such as couples, parents and and other humans—are tired and ineffective.

[We] have been educated about [safe sex] for a damn long time and we already know what kind of messages and images the advertisers would use—it’s always the same, so we tend to tune off from these messages.

With lyrics like “If you forget your protection, say so long to your mighty man erection,” this PSA is certainly a change of pace from wrapping bananas in the classroom. On the other hand, at least the bananas taught an important lesson. Through this new approach, the educational aspect of practicing safe sex is removed and we’re left with a less-than-groundbreaking characterization of the male sex drive. In fact, if others weren’t referring to the project as an effort to promote safe sex, The Blue Balls Blues campaign might be nothing more than a creative complaint about sexual frustration; neither “safe” nor “sex” appear anywhere on the campaign’s homepage.

The arrival of these peculiar testes raises some necessary questions. For example, is it a step in the right direction to forego the realities of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy in a safe-sex campaign? What about other forms of birth control besides condoms (which is all this campaign mentions)? And where are women in this scenario? Don’t condoms keep them safe? And besides that, men aren’t the only ones who suffer from sexual frustration. How about a ballad on blue ovaries?

Unconventional methods may freshen up old messages, but one has to wonder if singing testicles are indeed the answer to preventing unwanted pregnancies and STDs. The Blue Balls Blues presents a myopic view of sex and highlights male sexual frustration as the primary (and sole) concern as well as the worst possible outcome of not having a condom. Surely there must be a more effective way to promote safer sex than the looming threat of blue balls. Comprehensive sex education? Affordable and accessible contraceptives? Now that might be worth singing about.

Photo courtesy of  Design Taxi

Comments

  1. I completely agree with all of the concerns you express here, Ms. Valenti — this campaign also may suggest that women will become the ones responsible for saying “no” to sex because a man isn’t packing a condom, putting women in a strange and almost anti-sex position. Moreover, assuming for whatever reason that there aren’t other forms of contraceptives involved, why aren’t the women carrying condoms as well? Also, what about gay men? This song seems only concerned with heterosexual relationships and problematically reinforces many ideas about women being prudish (or sluts) and that sex, heterosexual sex at least, is a manly thing to do and is entirely consequence free so long as a condom is involved. Why isn’t there a song about people and their sexual partners just having a conversation about sex and what types of protection they’ll use before actually engaging in sex?

    • “I completely agree with all of the concerns you express here, Ms. Valenti — this campaign also may suggest that women will become the ones responsible for saying “no” to sex because a man isn’t packing a condom, putting women in a strange and almost anti-sex position.”

      Have her bring her own condom. -__- If SHE brings a condom and HE ALSO brings a condom, that’s DOUBLE THE SEX! If HE brings a condom and SHE forgot hers at home, they can still wookie! If SHE brings a condom and HE forgets his at home, they can still wookie!

      This is ridiculous. I’m a feminist and I think it’s a GOOD THING that there is a safe sex campaign that targets men. The only commercials I’ve seen on public advertising, to be perfectly honest, are the ads that feature lovie-dovie couples being all mushy-gooey. Guess what? Those warm and fuzzy feel-good commercials are targeted to women. Guys see that commercial and they get up to take a piss. Jesus, we’re trying to get EVERYONE to practice safe sex, not just women.

      So, are you saying you would have sex without a condom? Are you willing to pay for the 10x more expensive than condoms morning after pill? How about the 100x more expensive abortion procedure? Have sex all you fucking want. That’s the goal of trying to get him to bring a goddamn condom, so you two can boink and not discover an unwelcome guest about a month from then. Damn.

      “Moreover, assuming for whatever reason that there aren’t other forms of contraceptives involved, why aren’t the women carrying condoms as well?”

      Well, if the women brings a condom, then there is no problem, is there?

      “Also, what about gay men? This song seems only concerned with heterosexual relationships”

      Are you suggesting that gay men don’t get blue balls? Are you suggesting that gay men don’t wear condoms to protect themselves from STD’s? There’s more to safe sex than just pregnancy, you know.

      “and problematically reinforces many ideas about women being prudish (or sluts)”

      …How? Is safe sex a sexist concept in your mind? See, this is the problem with SOME feminists. They talk about education and awareness but anything that’s public and not “WOMENS RIGHTS! WOMEN ARE AWESOME! YEAH, WE LOVE WOMEN!” is ‘sexist’. NEWS FLASH, LADIES: we are HALF of the population. There is a WHOLE OTHER HALF that burp, fart and scratch their asses in public. We need to get them in on this. It’s a give and take relationship.

      “and that sex, heterosexual sex at least, is a manly thing to do and is entirely consequence free so long as a condom is involved.”

      Look. Sex is awesome. I love sex. I’m a woman, and sex is A-HEM-MAZING. Do you know who else enjoys sex? Men. That doesn’t make it manly, that makes it SEXUAL. Risks in sex? Yea, there are risks of STD’s and pregnancy. Definitely. You know what would help with that? If only more people started using more condoms…OH WAIT.

      “Why isn’t there a song about people and their sexual partners just having a conversation about sex and what types of protection they’ll use before actually engaging in sex?”

      Well, I could point out that idea is boring, but instead I will just say, ‘I don’t know, Katherine. Why don’t you make that commercial and see how it goes?’

    • Katherine, there are an infinite amount of issues to sing about. Do you expect them to cover all of them? Why not sing a song yourself?

  2. “The Blue Balls Blues presents a myopic view of sex and highlights male sexual frustration as the primary (and sole) concern as well as the worst possible outcome of not having a condom. Surely there must be a more effective way to promote safer sex than the looming threat of blue balls.”

    I couldn’t agree more. This so-called “safe-sex campaign” is a pretty lame one, in my opinion anyway. I also agree with Ms. Mead-Brewer’s question; why isn’t there a song about people having a conversation about sex before actually engaging in it? But if there isn’t a song out there right now, we can start with a simple script, for girls to prevent teen pregnancy. Such as:

    GUY: I think it’s time for us to have sex.

    GIRL: I don’t think so.

    GUY: Why not?

    GIRL: I don’t want to get pregnant, that’s why not. I don’t want to get an STD either.

    GUY: You worry too much. I can use a condom.

    GIRL: Condoms can break. I could still get pregnant if that happens.

    GUY: Okay, so you can get on birth control pills or something.

    GIRL: Birth control pills can fail sometimes, so I could still get pregnant. So forget it. I want to finish high school, get my diploma, go to college and then have a career. No way am I going to risk getting pregnant and get stuck being a teen mom. That would wreck everything for me.

    GUY: Well if you won’t have sex with me, I’ll have to look for someone else.

    GIRL: Fine. You can get another girl pregnant, not me. If that happens, have fun being a teen dad. I’ll be celebrating my freedom and watching you give up yours. And we’re DONE. Good bye and good luck.

    Then the girl walks away, free and NOT PREGNANT. A guy who pressures a girl for sex isn’t worth keeping as a boyfriend. A girl is NOT a loser if she doesn’t have a guy in her life while still in high school. Now, if a brilliant songwriter would like to make a good song out of THAT, I say be my guest, and have fun with it.

  3. Blue balls is a male created myth and furthermore this campaign is a phallocentric one. So is ‘sex’ just all about mens’ penises penetrating women’s bodies? It would appear so. ‘Sex’ continues to be defined and constructed by men for mens’ sexual pleasure which neatly erases the fact ‘sex’ is not just male penetration of female body.

    The only ‘safe’ sex is wherein the penis does not penetrate the female body and that ensures males cannot transmit STDs to a female partner and/or male impregnating a female. But then that would challenge mens’ phallocentric notion of what supposedly comprises ‘real sex!’

  4. I think this is fantastic.

    It’s about time everyone got off the high horse of sex being so serious and grave. People have sex because it’s fun! This helps people tune in to the message by thinking of another perspective. I’m glad it encourages men and targets them specifically – women have the disproportionate share of sexual concerns. Settle down and think about who will actually listen now. It reminds me of the Don’t Rape campaign and I bet it will be more effective than some dopy couple giggling in post coital idiocy or some heavy handed Your life depends on this!!! message.

    There should be a whole series of these that target all different groups of sexually active people – sex is fun or no one would do it. Why not have ads that act like it is instead of some elephant in the room or deir thing that needs to be discussed in hushed voices. Bring the blueballs on – and email the company about ovaries, gay men and teens. Here is a suggestion though, don’t walk into it like your fighting for a cause… Just offer the perspective. Can we be objective before screaming mysogyny?

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