Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Condoms and the Media

Condom-maker Trojan is involved in a bit of a controversy regarding its new ad campaign "Evolve."  It seems that CBS and Fox have refused to air the commercial, even with late-night restrictions.  Fox explained that condom advertising is appropriate for health reasons, but not for pregnancy prevention.  One critic commented:

“It’s so hypocritical for any network in this culture to go all puritanical on the subject of condom use when their programming is so salacious,” said Mark Crispin Miller, a media critic who teaches at New York University. “I mean, let’s get real here. Fox and CBS and all of them are in the business of nonstop soft porn, but God forbid we should use a condom in the pursuit of sexual pleasure.”

Miller makes a good point, and I'm frankly surprised that networks still are drawing those lines.  Another interesting angle is Trojan's tag line: "Evolve.  Use a condom every time."  Yale law prof Ian Ayres comments:

If people followed this advice literally, it would mean the end of evolution as humans would stop procreating. Thanks mom and dad, for not using a condom everytime.

So what should the advice be?  Ayres suggests that we should:

stress a modern day equivalent to the three date rule. When I was going off to school, my parents emphasized to me that it was not wise to have sex with anyone until at least the third date. The modern day update for condom advice is to use a condom no matter what for the first three times you have sex with someone. The power behind the three condom rule is that most sexual pairings in the U.S. don't last 3 encounters. [His coauthor] Kathy Baker and I found that 46% of sexual pairings had sex only one time. From a public health perspective, if we could get people to use condoms the first three times they had sex with someone else we might cripple the power of many STDs.

Of course I won't be able to control what my kids do, but 'm hoping that my advice on sex will be a bit more robust than the "three date rule" or the suggestion that their evolution as a person turns on their willingness to "use a condom every time."


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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