You’re in the throes of passion, things are steaming up, your bedroom partner gives you the knowing glance, you reach for the side drawer – empty. You double check your wallet for a backup condom but to no avail. What now?
For years condom brand Durex has been teasing British customers with the promise of a on-demand prophylactic delivery service to ensure you get laid even when you’ve mindlessly forgotten to add rubbers to the big shop.
One 2013 marketing campaign, called ‘SOS Condom’, showed a GPS-locator app that could pin you down and deliver the goods: the advert, still available on YouTube, shows everyone from police officers to pizza delivery guys rushing, James-Bond-style to your aid. Sexual superheroes in your moment of need.
Although it was confirmed as a viral stunt (the website link is no longer active), flash forward six years and it’s being reported the service is actually up and running in China and parts of Latin America.
Customers in Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Mexico can get condoms delivered to their door in as little as 30 minutes. And in Shanghai, the same service is offered by retail giant Alibaba between the hours of 10pm and 7am (peak ordering time is midnight, apparently, and the average user age is 40).
There is no word of the service being launched in the UK just yet. Declining condom sales were cited as a motivator for the scheme – Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Durex, said increasing competition with local condom brands in Asia and Latin America had diminished their share of the market. But will we ever see a roll out in British bedrooms?
Clearly, Brits love a good at-home delivery service. Takeaway food app Deliveroo was on course to hit 6 million UK customers at the end of last year, behind Love Island stablemate, Uber Eats. We are happy to summon everything from that emergency party dress to the weekly food shop to our front door.
“Brits do love a good at-home delivery service...”
But what about our sex lives? Would ordering in contraceptives push the limits of British awkwardness? It’s making us cringe just imagining opening the latch to the delivery driver – after all, what is the etiquette about dressing gowns or showing the obvious flush of someone interrupted mid-preamble?
As for logistics, it stretches the definition of the ‘just-in-time’ supply chain. Everyone knows the least sexy part about sex is the awkward fumble in the drawer or the bag to find the condom – this only lengthens, ahem, the pause. Presumably, you’ll be ordering the goods post-arousal, pre-penetration. But how do you decide the right moment to hit ‘pay now’? And what if your delivery driver get stuck in traffic on the way? You’d better enjoy foreplay.
Of course, waiting to have safe sex is important (STIs are on the rise in the UK with syphilis up 70% year on year) and commitment to the cause – while not falling asleep – is admirable. But can’t we all do what we’ve done for generations – get annoyed for 30 seconds, then have a cup of tea instead?