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The Consent Condom – who does it really protect?

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The Consent Condom only opens when it senses four hands on the buttons

The Consent Condom won’t protect women from rape, but it will protect men from rape accusations. 

Argentinian company Tulipan is the latest in a long line of companies creating products and marketing schemes designed to do good that majorly miss their mark. 

“Why can’t this box be opened with two hands? Because that’s how consent works in relationships,” said a post on sexual products maker Tulipan’s Facebook page“Sex is worth everything only if a rule is respected: consent to both do it.” 

The Consent Condom, which requires four hands to open, is designed to ensure that there’s been a clear, consensual agreement between people who are about to have sex. 

The unique condoms were created after AHF Argentina – an advocacy group for people living with HIV – stated that only 14.5% of men in Argentina regularly use condoms, and 20% stated they never used them. 

Figures also show that only 65% of men occasionally use condoms. 

In theory, the condom is supposed to promote parties having a conversation before sex about whether or not it’s something they both want – which is never a bad thing. 

Joaquin Campins of BBDO has released a statement saying: “Tulipán has always spoken of safe pleasure, but for this campaign, we understood that we had to talk about the most important thing in every sexual relationship — pleasure is possible only if you both give your consent.” 

The condoms are not supposed to put an end to sexual assault or be a solution, only to spread the idea that consent is important in all circumstances. 

But consent doesn’t just end after a conversation at the beginning of sex; sex isn’t as clear cut as that and a woman can withdraw her consent at any time. As soon as a woman is uncomfortable the man should stop, and she should be allowed that security. Security that this condom, though without meaning to, completely overlooks. 

Imagine that a woman consents at the beginning, opens the condom and then asks the male to stop. Imagine that he doesn’t.  

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This condom suggests that once consent is given and those buttons are pressed, consent cannot be revoked. Ever. The male can then be protected from any allegations made against him should he continue.  

But that isn’t the only area this product messes up with.  

Consent is something that should be addressed, but very few rapists (if any at all) will stop from carrying out the act should they not have a condom. Whether or not the woman has consented or the act is protected is going to be the last thing from the rapist’s mind. 

Would a rapist even go out of his way to buy a box of condoms that specifically advertise that consent is needed before sex can take place? 

And are we forgetting that any woman who can be forced into sex when she doesn’t want it, can also just as easily be forced into pushing two buttons to open this box, therefore protecting her rapist? 

It can be just as easy, perhaps even easier, to coerce someone into pressing two buttons than it can be to carry out an unwanted sex act itself. 

And let’s not forget how sometimes, rape includes more than two people. Should there ever be a group of males who intend to rape a woman, this condom can protect all of them from any rape allegations the woman may later make. 

It doesn’t have to be the woman’s hands who open the box – and there are of course ways to hide fingerprints. If the men have more than one condom, they could, theoretically excuse everyone by simply opening the box themselves. 

The intent with this product is clear, and the premise has good grounding, but products like this, however well meaning, cater to the needs of men who are afraid of what a woman may say about them rather than the needs of any women involved. 

The condoms will be available for purchase later this year. 

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About Emma Arthurs

As Head of Digital for the Clyde Outside, Emma is hoping to put her love of all things Internet - whether it's blogging, coding or gaming - to good use. Definitely put the gaming to good use. Her work as Head of Digital and Deputy Editor for the Clyde Insider in her first year helped garner their commendation at the SSJA Awards 2018.

View all posts by Emma Arthurs →

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