Roundups Sexual Health

This Week in Sex: China’s Condom Boom and Vegas’ Condom Heist

Martha Kempner

Chinese businesses buy a condom manufacturer for $600 million, and robbers recently stole 30,000 condoms from a Vegas warehouse that offered a lot of protection, but apparently little security.

This Week in Sex is a weekly summary of news and research related to sexual behavior, sexuality education, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, and more.

Condoms Are Big Business in China

Condom sales are up in China. Why? Premarital sex is becoming more common, and campaigns to prevent HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections are more public, as some STIs are on the rise.

In 2011, a Chinese center that tracks STIs reported that the number of syphilis cases was increasing an average of 52 percent per year and genital herpes by 55 percent each year.

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In an effort to combat this epidemic, the Chinese government allowed condom vending machines in hotels and other public places and began to promote sex education in high schools and universities. The country’s first lady, Professor Peng Liyuan, also actively campaigns for HIV/AIDS prevention.

China is currently the fourth largest maker of condoms in the world, but these social and political changes are expected to lead to increased sales. Sales of condoms in China totaled $1.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. One U.S. market research company believes sales will reach $5 billion by 2024.

Durex, manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser, is currently one of the most popular brand of condoms in China; it is the best seller on the Chinese online shopping site Taobao and has millions of followers on its Chinese social media platform.

But Australian company Ansell’s Jissbon brand is also a top seller, and a consortium of Chinese companies including Humanwell Healthcare Group are banking on its continued growth.

Ansell, which has manufactured condoms since the 1920s, sold its sexual health business to these companies for a reported $600 million. The business also sells lubricants and sex toys worldwide under the brand names LifeStyles, SKYN, KamaSutra, and Blowtex.

Thieves Steal 30,000 Condoms From Vegas Warehouse

During Memorial Day, while you were out stocking up on soda and chips for the barbecue, some Las Vegas thieves were grabbing a lifetime supply of condoms and a few sex toys instead. Thieves broke into the warehouse of Swedish sex toy company, Lelo, not once but twice over the weekend.

Though reports vary on which items were taken first, the thieves appear to have gotten away with 30,000 condoms, 48 Kegel beads, and 33 vibrating butt plugs.

The company responded with a humorous press release in which it joked: “WHAT KIND OF PARTY ARE THESE PEOPLE HAVING [sic]. We could have done the sponsorship or something. A friggin’ invite might have been nice.” The statement called the robbers “the horniest criminals in world history” and added “What matters to us is that, like all true romances, they weren’t satisfied until they came twice.”

In a slightly more serious turn, the company asked for the public’s help finding the robbers and said it will donate the full retail price of the stolen goods to the charity of choice of anyone who provides the Las Vegas Police Department with information leading to an arrest.

Yet Another Sex Calculator 

Slate has created a new sex calculator that can show you exactly where you fall in the frequency of sex department. The calculator asks for your age, how often you have had sex in the past 12 months, and whether any of your sex partners have been a spouse or other regular partner. It then shows you a bar graph with a convenient “you are here” arrow.

The calculations are based on data from the General Social Survey (GSS) collected between 2000 and 2014. Other GSS-based research found that people in the United States are having less sex in the 2010s than we did in the 1990s. When the data is controlled for age, it shows that older people (those born in the 1930s) were having more sex than their significantly younger counterparts (those born in the 1990s). It’s unclear though whether this generational difference is being considered by Slate’s calculator—I showed up in exactly the same place on the graph when I gave my true age as I did when I shaved off 20 years.

As usual, I’m not a fan of any tool or system that compares my sex life to yours or anyone else’s (see what I had to say about the “Fitbit” for your penis). Comparing ourselves to others is rarely a good idea—I suppose you could get an ego boost, but you could also end up feeling bad about something you didn’t feel bad about before.

Furthermore, quality and enjoyment should mean more than quantity and breaking down our sex lives into numbers. If you think you’re having enough sex, great. If not, have some more, regardless of what the calculator says.

TV Show Asks Really Old People About Sex

An Australian television show interviewed eight senior citizens who ranged in age from 100 to 106 and asked them to talk about sex on camera. And some of the answers might have surprised viewers who assume that old people (or at least really old people) don’t have sex.

As could be expected, some of the participants said they’d been celibate since the death of a spouse, which for one woman had happened 64 years ago. But others were finding romance and sex late in life.

Alf Jarvis, 102, said it had been about 6 months since he’d had sex. He has a girlfriend who is 20 years his junior, which still makes her an octogenarian. Another 102-year-old, David Goodall, said it had been about four years since he’d had sex. Colin Lowcock, 100, refused to answer the question (and, yes, that’s his real name). But his friend, Lindsay Boyd, also 100, joked that his shyness was actually fear of self-incrimination.

Still, even those who had had sex recently noted that age takes a toll. Goodall, who has had three wives, said that “one’s performance gradually disappears.” Jarvis said he only stopped having sex because it stopped working. He put it bluntly: “I was alright one minute, and the next day it was like a damp cloth.”

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