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Good news, folks! There’s a new condom “alternative” on the market called Jiftip, a nifty sticker that seals up the penis’ urethra to prevent any ~leakage~ during sex without the buzzkill of a constrictive latex sheath.
The device is pretty simple: You clean the tip, place the shield on your penis, bond it to the head “in advance,” so, presumably well before coitus begins, then “enjoy real sex without side effects.” The “feel shield,” as it’s called, is allegedly designed to keep pre-ejaculate inside the penis, and to stay on the penis throughout sex.
Except, it’s recommended by the company that you pull out before ejaculating and not ejaculate with the sticker on. And it’s a fucking sticker taped to your dick, so you eventually have to (painfully, as reported by two beta testers) peel that baby off.
And it’s not guaranteed to prevent pregnancy.
And it also doesn’t stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
And LOL also, use of this product could cause pain, irritation, or serious harm to the reproductive and urinary systems.
But hey, on the bright side, you get all the pleasure of boning bareback with just some (or ALL) of the paranoia that you or your partner might be transmitting liefelong infections to each other.
Yes, Jiftip is quick to disclaim any sort of actual attributes you’d expect from an “alternative” to condoms—you know, how condoms are used to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STIs. They even go so far to make it a point that condoms themselves don’t protect against herpes, as if to debunk condom usage of diseases and infections altogether (for the record, condoms are more likely to protect against STIs transmitted by genital fluids than by skin-to-skin contact).
One beta tester went so far to defend the product by penning an op-ed of his own volition. The post is, truly, a piece of work, as the tester waxes that if avoiding “sexual problems” was such a big deal, then people would just choose abstinence. Right, no one is fearful of HIV, no woman in the era of Trump is scared to get pregnant; we’re all just boning without a care or not boning at all.
He also compares the “acceptable risk” of using the Jiftip to the daily risks of driving a car. It is, in fact, the poorest attempt at a straw man argument I’ve read in some time:
“Listen, both you and I know that the only SURE way to prevent all sexual problems is abstinence. And even that really isn’t true, since zero sex isn’t healthy either. But we also all know that although people can choose abstinence, they don’t…It’s worth acknowledging that risk is a part of almost everything we do in our daily lives, not just sex. We all make a rational choice to incur ‘acceptable risk’ when we get into a car, or get a dental x-ray, or leave a child with a daycare provider. The real question is, is this level of risk appropriate to my situation?”
But Jiftip’s “we aren’t contraception/STI protection” disclaimer hasn’t prevented the company from marketing the product as such. The company’s back story prides itself as being the end result of “a desperate attempt to avoid using condoms.” They claim you can use the product and have “real sex without side effects,” which is outright ridiculous if not completely dangerous, as pregnancy and STD transmission are definite potential “side effects” to using this product.
Sure, there are probably plenty of couples who might be willing to take on the risks involved in order to have more pleasurable sex—not everyone can take hormonal birth control (though non-hormonal versions of the pill and IUDs exist) and people with latex allergies aren’t able to use the typical male and female condom (though, again, latex alternatives exist).
However, regardless of whether you care about safe sex, the wearer of this “feel shield” puts themselves at additional risk for possible physical damage.
Jiftip admits that their “research here lags the innovation” and that they don’t know if it’s safe for men to “injaculate.” Jamin Brahmbhatt, a physician with Orlando Health, told USA Today that wearers may feel pain or irritation for blocking the urethra during ejaculation, and that the adhesive itself could be an irritant for wearers with sensitive skin.
Ohio-based family physician Dr. Gary L. LeRoy told U.S. News that the product strikes him as potentially dangerous, especially for young people who are just beginning to experiment sexually.
“…There’s a reason that you have a urethra, so that you can expel urine and semen and to seal it makes no scientific sense, no biological sense,” LeRoy told the publication. “How do you unseal it, and what are the potential unintended consequences of doing something like that?”
C. Poly, a professional sex blogger, wrote in an op-ed for Bust that inhibiting ejaculation often can send semen into the bladder and lead to urinary tract infections, and can even cause the bladder sphincter to malfunction and cause dry orgasms, which is also a cause of infertility. She writes that keeping semen trapped in your urethra (which, for the record, Jiftip does not advocate) can also put pressure on the pudendal nerve and cause numbness in the penis—so, hey, guess that “feel shield” might just be a misnomer after all.
Yes, yes. All of these compounding risks do sound manipulatively super scary in a “but what are the chances that any of that will happen to me?” type of way. However, all of this is to say, holy shit, it is probably a very fucking terrible idea to use a sticker to close up your penis, regardless of how imprisoned you feel by a condom. And if you weren’t convinced, just feel the shame of the internet wash over you for thinking doing such a thing was smart:
ahhh time to sit down and read the paper— joel tweets bad (@AdultSippyCup) August 3, 2017
*flushes phone down the toilet*https://t.co/UHR6WnkKH4
1965: I bet in the future there will be flying cars and interplanetary hotels.— Dr Drewster (@DrDrewMann) August 3, 2017
2017: Jiftip the Diktiphttps://t.co/S7T2gKXZKr
"Jiftip" was my DJ name in college— John Burns (@jburns1949) August 3, 2017
And it'll be covered by all workplace health insurance plans that also routinely debate whether they need to cover the pill.— [kie.ran] (@danblackroyd) August 3, 2017
Please, whatever you do, at least consider the ramifications before shelling out $6 for these weird dick stickers. They could seriously fuck you up, and not in the way you intended.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.