Canadian vegan condom maker Jems says it is advocating for safer, more informed sex by renouncing toxicity in all forms across its vegan condom range. The female-founded condom company, launched in 2021, remove animal products, gluten, and misinformation from the intercourse sector. The ultimate aim is to create a framework that gives everybody access to safer sex.
The startup takes direct aim at other brands that have perpetuated heteronormality within the industry. Alongside, those companies adding toxic ingredients in the name of novelty branding are countered by Jems’ two-ingredient protection.
Latex, silicone, and nothing else
According to Jems, conventional condom companies add unlisted toxic ingredients to their products. These include carcinogenic parabens and unnecessary flavoured preservatives. While these may sound harmless, such additives can increase the risk of HIV transmission and development of yeast infections. Jems favours natural latex and 100 percent silicone lubricant, with nothing else added. This also makes the condoms biodegradable.
Aside from bypassing unnecessary and harmful ingredients, Jems’ founders Whitney Geller and Yasmin Emory are on a mission to remove the misogyny found within the condom aisle. The two highlight what they perceive to be the male gaze that is permanently trained on condoms, with branding geared towards ego-stroking and heteronormative concepts of sexuality.
Jems notes that terms such as “ultra-ribbed” and “XXL” are a misnomer and unnecessary. They are exclusionary as well, with anybody not feeling aligned with the hypermasculinity, perhaps choosing to risk their health rather than buying a product that does not speak to them. With sexually transmitted infections still increasing, this is a dangerous norm that needs to be countered.
Safer sex matters
The global sexual wellness market is predicted to reach $37.2 billion by 2023. Despite this, up to 51 percent of consenting adults are engaging in unprotected sex. This goes some way to explaining the 400 thousand cases of chlamydia in 2017, in Europe alone. 33.2 thousand cases of syphilis were reported in the same year. All sexually transmitted infections run the risk of affecting fertility, if undetected.
HIV continues to present a risk to human health, despite efforts in the 1980s and 1990s to educate sexually active people. Today it is assumed that 37.7 million people are living with the infection, up from 28.9 million in 2000. While lifespan for sufferers has increased thanks to medical intervention, a higher risk of other associated conditions remains. Heart disease, cancer, and liver disease are all connected.
Education and access to sexual protection
Jems states that it is “all about” open and candid discourse. It markets to everybody who is having or considering having sex, with no exceptions. This marks a move away from premium products being aimed at women in the name of false equality. The spectrum of sexuality and gender identity is increasingly fluid and uncatered for, hence Jems looks to cater to everyone without prejudice. There are at least 68 gender classifications as of 2022, so the scale of the representation issue is clear.
Jems condoms are available in Canada and the U.S. All products are vegan, cruelty and gluten-free, unsized and ultra-thin.
Sex that’s safer for the environment
Condoms and other protective items have come under scrutiny for their environmental impact. Frequently manufactured using ingredients that are not biodegradable, a niche for sustainable sexual health products has started to spring up. Like Jems, brands such as Fair Squared and HANX use fair-trade rubber and natural latex, making them easier to dispose of consciously.
Lead photo by Jems.