Here’s a thought for the day: What exactly makes a product gay-friendly?

Do you slather it in rainbow colours? Do you slap a spunk on the packaging? Or do you come up with a name that sounds vaguely European and then double the price?

I’ve been pondering this issue ever since I received a media release declaring, Ansell Launches New -˜Gay-Friendly’ Condom Following Community Research. About time, wouldn’t you say? I suspect rising HIV-infection rates among gay men can be directly linked to the fact that they just can’t relate to the condoms on the market.

I must admit, I personally don’t feel validated as a homosexual by my Life-Styles Xtra Pleasure, and I stopped using Durex years ago, ever since I accidentally bought a packet of Her Sensation. That pleasant berry scent still haunts me every time I walk into a chemist.

I did have a brief dalliance with the Madonna range, but then she decided to call herself Esther and I just couldn’t get it up. Glyde I simply cannot use (I’m allergic to misspelling). And as for Four Seasons, well, my interest waned after one.

Thank God then for Ansell’s new release, Power Play. As the packet says (presumably in one of those deep American voices that make you want to run out and buy something, anything) Power Play condoms are strong, safe and incredibly versatile. This last bit intrigues me. Does that mean they work on both you and your sex partner? Do they turn tops into bottoms? Perhaps their design is also suited to making balloon animals? (This is not recommended for foreplay.)

If you’re not convinced by these claims, the new packaging is sure to eliminate any doubt that Power Play has been lovingly crafted especially for you, the gay man. It features an illustration of a smiling, shirtless, musclebound twink unbuttoning his jeans. It’s not so much a case of glad to see you as glad to be seen, and if that isn’t a gay marketing message I don’t know what is.

Power Play will probably race off the shelves (unlike Ansell’s ill-fated Bareback range for gay men. Where was the community research then?) and while I support their endeavours to corner the market, one line on the packet did make me pause: Non-vaginal use of condoms may increase the risk of them slipping or breaking.

Doesn’t sound that gay-friendly to me.

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