April is Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month, and unfortunately, STIs new and old are making the rounds across the nation. Prevention doesn’t have to be complicated: knowing the symptoms of common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), using a latex condom for every act of sex, and engaging in regular STI testing can all reduce your risk of contracting a range of infections. Condoms can also be turned into dental dams for oral sex or to prevent other skin-to-skin contact. Taking care of our sexual health can lead to better, more pleasurable sex for ourselves and our partners during STI Awareness Month and every month.
Public health campaigns like STI Awareness Month can also enhance the health and well-being of our communities by educating citizens, increasing access to resources and care, and changing people’s perspectives about sexual health. STIs can cause pain, mental distress, infertility or even death, and these negative effects impact families and communities as well as individuals. Additionally, a community’s resources and approach to STIs can influence transmission rates, whether or not people seek treatment, and can mitigate these negative outcomes. For example, throughout history, the stigma surrounding STIs has prevented people from buying and using condoms regularly, getting tested for STIs when they were at risk, or even getting timely treatment.
Thankfully, sex-positive advocates and activists have helped refocus STI prevention on education vs. shaming (such as using STI instead of the previous “sexually transmitted disease” terminology) and made STI treatment more accessible. However, the stigma still exists and there’s still work to be done. From pushing for comprehensive sex education in schools and fighting to protect women’s bodily autonomy to ensuring LGBTQ+ people enjoy the same rights as heterosexual people, we can all use our voices, votes, and energy to effect necessary changes and make sex even safer for all.
From the start, Mayer Labs has believed that science is sexy and that sharing accurate, non-stigmatized information can help people make healthy decisions and enjoy their sexuality. Acknowledging that people had the right to seek pleasure while protecting their health, without being shamed or stigmatized, is central to our mission and was a groundbreaking message in the late 1980s. During a time of crisis, fear, and confusion, we were intentional about creating sex-positive condom ads depicting gay men, demonstrating that our products were designed for everyone. We’ve also spent years increasing access by collaborating with community organizations and nonprofits that distribute free and low-cost condoms and lubricants alongside critical sexual health education and support. Finally, and most importantly, we believe that sexual health is crucial to overall health, and subject our products to the rigorous research and testing that our customers deserve.
We may be a small, family-owned company, but we had a vision that involved much more than adding a new brand of condoms to the shelf. This vision, and our commitment to ensuring every person is treated with respect, dignity, and pleasure in sex and life in general, has inspired our work for more than 35 years. We are grateful that, in many ways, our society has evolved to be more inclusive and fair. Yet, there are still too many people facing judgment, oppression, or marginalization based on characteristics like their gender identity, sexual orientation, or skin color—-and we can’t take the work of past activists and movements for granted. As unjust laws deprive people of their bodily autonomy or freedom to live their truths, and a new wave of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment spreads, those of us with a platform must use it to uplift voices, energize supporters, and stand up for the greater good. Together, we can pursue great sex and even greater social change.