As a Commerce Editor here at SPY, I’ve written about a lot of sexual health products, from futuristic sex toys to butt plugs. Recently, I spoke to the founders of Jems Condoms, a new brand that’s trying to make condoms cool again. Specifically, they’re hoping to make condoms more attractive to Gen Z.
A fact you’re not ready to hear? Condom use is at an all-time low. In turn, STIs are at an all-time high. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this is something that doesn’t shock me in the slightest. On any gay-focused dating app, the desire for wanting bareback sex (sex without a condom) and anonymous sex is inescapable. No kink-shaming here because I absolutely get it, but I personally believe that folks in my community are less-focused on condom use because of three reasons: the impression that condoms don’t feel “good”, the idea that condom use diminishes sexiness during the heat of the moment, and an expectation that the majority of men who have sex with men are taking PrEP, a daily pill that makes it almost impossible to contract HIV when coming in contact with the virus.
These are problems that Jems Condoms wants to solve, and the company’s sexual health products take a colorful, sex-positive approach to safer sex. If it seems like there’s a hip and design-forward DTC brand for everything these days, it’s because there definitely is. Now, you can add condoms to that list.
A Virtual Condom Aisle for a New Generation
We’ve all been there. The dreaded condom aisle. But, here’s the thing: we’re in and we’re out. No browsing, just an awkward, quick grab of a familiar brand and we’re on our way. The entire process typically takes us less than 30 seconds total, because it doesn’t feel sexy or cool when searching for the best condom.
Plus, the condom aisle hasn’t changed since… well… ever. It’s a very hypermasculine space. Trojan dominates the majority of the walls here with names such as “Fire and Ice” and “Magnum” gracing dated sex-centric boxes in a way that feels very 1995.
In 2022, we’re kind of ditching pre-existing ideas we’ve had on sex, sexuality and gender expression. Folks are escaping the gender binary and Gen Z is queer as hell. The best sex toys for men, women and everyone in between are celebrated in a way they never were. And, when it comes to men, there are thousands upon thousands of men’s grooming products these days — something that didn’t even exist a few years back.
This is something that new condom brand Jems‘ co-founders, Whitney Geller and Yasemin Emory, took note of whilst shopping inside a local pharmacy. It left them thinking that if men’s products are evolving so rapidly, why have condoms stayed the same since our parents were kids? Two years later, the duo is introducing Jems Condoms.
Jems Condoms Is on a Mission: To Get Gen Z To Wrap It Up
Although PrEP is quite literally godsent and has changed the way people have sex for the better, as fear of contracting AIDS disappears, condom use declines. PrEP is only made for HIV/AIDS prevention, nothing else. But, because the majority of STIs are curable, it seems that many folks simply do not care about safe sex. The mindset is almost “no AIDS, no condoms”, which is not something we need to tell the younger generation of queer kids.
This is something I brought up with both Geller and Emory, which is when I learned that the whole motive behind Jems condoms is primarily geared toward Gen Z.
It’s safe to say that sex can be awkward, especially when having sex with a new partner for the first time. It takes a lot of learning to properly feel comfortable having sex with someone, and that’s entirely fine. Sex is awkward sometimes, and so is talking about sex, and that’s nothing we should try and hide.
Gen Z is the newest generation to be having sex. And, in turn, Gen Z is more unique and individualized than any generation prior. It’s safe to say that a walk down the condom aisle isn’t at the top of mind for the generation that practically lives online and dismantles gender stereotypes better than any generation prior. That’s why Jems creates condoms the way they do.
What Makes Jems Condoms Unique?
Visually and chemically speaking, Jems condoms are not your average condoms. Instead of using male-centric colors and branding, Jems’ boxes are covered in funky colors you would typically never see on a condom box. Blacks, deep blues and purples are switched up for slime greens and boisterous blues. It’s refreshing for both first-time condom buyers and older condom users alike.
In addition to revamping condom packaging, Jems is going without all of the wacky ingredients condoms include (yet never really tell you about) by offering up simple natural rubber latex condoms lubricated with silicone. That’s it.
The Jems founders told me that a lot of the time, people will assume they’re allergic to latex when using latex condoms. But, the truth of the matter might just be that these people are allergic to ingredients found in condoms that go untold. Jems are some of the most straightforward condoms you can purchase and help diminish the assumption that latex allergies are the problem. The lower-key ingredients can also make condom use feel better since it might be all of the unwanted ingredients that might make condoms “not feel good”.
To top everything off, Jems also sells adorable condom cases you can use to carry your condoms outwardly and proudly on your pants, keychain or backpack. Gen Z loves cute chachkies, so this is just the cherry on top to Jems. (Could this finally stop cis guys from carrying their condoms in their wallets, which is a major safe sex no-no?)
Let’s get back to square one, though — the condom aisle. How is Jems approaching that ugly, mess of a space? Sure, Jems can create visually-appealing condom boxes, but if they’re still in the condom aisle, people might still fear entering for the fact it still is what it is.
Yes, Jems does sell their condoms in the condom aisle, but they’re aiming at overthrowing the fear of entering the condom aisle by working with retailers in order to get their condoms displayed up by the register. Yup, where all of the gum is. Keeping condoms here is important because it makes them less awkward to pick up and look at. In addition, it makes condom purchasing a lot more casual as a whole.
Here’s the tell all be all: if you have a penis and are having sex casually, you should a plan for safe sex, and that will often include condoms. And with Jems, you can finally celebrate your condom use in a way you’ve never been able to before.
If you’re interested in learning more about Jems, check out their website using the link below. Here, Jems is pushing educational values on sexual health in addition to selling both condoms and cases. Catch everything you need to know and shop Jems now.