A peeled banana against a blue background, with a pink rimmed condom applied to its tip.

Are condoms cool again?

In the era of PrEp, BB porn, and oft neglected jars of rubbers at dive bars, it’s not a huge surprise that recent studies show men (and especially those who have sex with other men) are having more condomless sex… even though cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis more than doubled in the past two decades, according to the CDC.

Whether or not you wrap it up, it’s a personal choice and there are many reasons why gay men may choose to use (or lose) the rubber.

But in a “raw is law” economy, we have to admit, condoms are kind of having a moment.

In Prime Video’s new LGBTQ+ rom-com Red, White, and Royal Blue, eagle eyed fans spotted some ripped-open wrappers after a night of lovemaking between Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) and First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez).

Although some Gay Twitter™ circles poked fun at their inclusion, director Matthew López said the choice was very intentional.

“[Intimacy coordinator Robbie Taylor Hunt] and I decided together that the prince is probably not on PrEp, because it would be too dangerous for him to ask for a prescription,” he told Variety. “So the prince absolutely uses condoms … We wanted to also just tell the story that the prince engages in safe sex practices and takes his sexual health seriously.”

And a recent plot line on our fave guilty-pleasure binge-watch And Just Like That involved Charlotte (Kristin Davis) venturing out in a blizzard to procure condoms for her daughter Lily so that she could lose her virginity with protection. (If only Samantha was here, she’d know a delivery service.)

Safe sex practices are hot (and “kind of gay,” according to conservator commentator Michael Knowles), but they’ve also become fashionable.

Recently, Julia Fox rocked a sheer tube top, knee-high boots, and a purse adorned with condoms. She paired it with some latex gloves as, perhaps, the ultimate statement on safe sex. You know, just the kind of low key outfit you could wear to the grocery store.

And a pregnant Rihanna spread the gospel of using protection by sharing some pics of her wearing an oversized Savage x Fenty “Use a Condom” shirt. “This shirt is old,” she joked in the caption.

https://twitter.com/nicspalate1/status/1675560480188792834

Interestingly enough, the designer condom game has also picked up. Yves Saint Laurent is now hawking golden foiled condoms.

Back in April, Diesel partnered with Durex for a collection “all about embracing sex and the freedom of individual expression.” At a Milan show, guests walked in to see a mountain of 200,000 condoms while models walked down the runway to sex noises.

The slogan emblazoned on the clothes read, “For Sucsexful Living.” And they certainly knew what they were doing with this phallic-focused photoshoot.

Even pop artists are taking advantage of condoms’ moment, to pair with your Chromatica jock strap, perhaps?

Noted LGBTQ+ ally Kacey Musgraves dropped some rubbers labeled “Hookup Scene” in conjunction with her Star-Crossed album. And back in February, Omar Apollo announced he’ll be adding condoms to his online shop that say “We cum at the same time,” as a nod to his song “Tamagotchi.” We’re waiting, Omar!

https://twitter.com/omarapollo/status/1628497368030101504

Still, when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, the idea of “safe sex” will always be a loaded topic, considering the stigma of HIV and a society that views queer sex as taboo by nature.

“Condoms are particularly interesting in the gay community because, of course, that piece of latex and the idea of protection, or ‘safe sex,’ is a deeply politicized idea,” Vogue sex columnist Tom Rasmussen told Vice.

“It’s one often foisted on queers the moment they come out to, I guess, pathologize our sex and push it arguably further into the shadows and further from classrooms where it should be discussed.”

And in an era when right-wingers are working to eliminate any form of queer education in schools (and only 8.2% of students who took sex ed reported their lessons were LGBTQ+ inclusive, according to GLSEN), it’s meaningful that we’re talking about options for having safer sex.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. But the options have never been more plentiful.

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