Chances are pretty good that you’ve used an assortment of emojis to represent sex (ahem, eggplant), but there’s nothing in your vast library of symbols to signify safe sex.
Durex wants to change that.
The condom maker is appealing to the Unicode Consortium to create a safe sex emoji in time for World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1. It makes sense, especially since a recent survey conducted by the company found that 80 percent of 16 to 25-year-olds in Europe find it “easier to express themselves using emoji,” with more than half of those surveyed saying they use emojis when talking about sex — and 84 percent saying they feel more comfortable talking about sex using the graphics in lieu of words.
Taking the awkwardness out of talking about safe sex with a condom emoji might mean more young people will be willing to actually engage in safe sex, a vital thing since the Centers for Disease Control says more than 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed each year. Almost half of those cases are in people aged 15 to 24.
More conversation about safe sex is exactly what Durex wants.
“Durex believes in happier, healthier sex lives and World AIDS Day is a hugely significant reminder about the importance of safe sex,” Volker Sydow, global director of Durex, said in a statement. “Looking at how influential messaging is in the development of relationships today, an official safe sex emoji is a simple and empowering step towards better protection and sexual wellbeing.”
And why not? We already have about a hundred different versions of smiley faces, so adding one more shouldn’t be a problem.