Condoms are a hot area for product development. The Gates Foundation is backing dozens of ideas, from new applicators, to condoms made from graphene and beef tendons. Seventh Generation founder Jeffrey Hollender has a more sustainable rubber about to hit the market. And then there are several new lines aimed at women, including the L. Condom.
The Mine condom falls into the third category. Developed by a group of students at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, it's a concept designed to make women feel more at ease buying condoms and storing them openly.
"Mine products are packaged in such a way that women will feel more comfortable having them out on their bedside table or in their grocery bags," says Mansi Gupta, one the students involved in the project. "We hope to encourage more women to buy condoms, thus adopting healthier sexual behaviors."
At the start of their project, Gupta, Emi Yasaka, Willy Chan, and Rona Binay surveyed 207 people (70% women) to understand their feelings about condoms. Three-quarters (77%) said they felt embarrassed buying the product, while 60% said they believed women who carry condoms are promiscuous.
The students decided to create packaging that's less male-oriented, as you can see from the slide show. They also designed refillable bedside holders, and a tube that houses condoms and tampons together. Pairing condoms with everyday products should reduce the potential for embarrassment, they figured.
"If condoms currently make women feel like they are not the target audience and they should not be buying them, Mine is aimed to oppose that feeling and change that stigma," Gupta says.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which wants to see a "positive shift in women's sexual health," set the challenge for the SVA team. Gupta says the CDC may help make Mine a commercial reality, possibly by working with existing condom or female hygiene companies. But first the students need to do more testing, and get feedback on what they've come up with so far.
It may take more than packaging to change stereotypes, but getting women more involved in sexual health ought to be an idea that pays dividends.