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Wanderlust: South Africa is Condom Nation

In South Africa, free condoms are big (but not big enough for some, it seems).

Health4Men, a nonprofit organization providing free sexual healthcare to gay and bisexual men, produces and distributes its own condoms, branded “Play Nice.” They look chic, are about 2 to 4 millimeters larger in diameter than the government condoms and — perhaps more importantly — are clearly marked “large” on the wrapper.

“You’ve got to make it sexy,“ said Glenn de Swardt, psychosocial manager of Health4Men in Cape Town. “Our condoms are very popular. They are more comfortable than government condoms.” When men complain of erectile dysfunction, he said, it’s because the condom ring is too tight.

Every year, Health4Men distribute about half a million of its own “Play Nice” condoms in Cape Town. Men can walk into the Health4Men clinic in Cape Town’s Greenpoint neighborhood and grab as many condoms and lubricant packets as they want. According to de Swardt, visitors don’t have to be gay or bisexual to get free “Play Nice” condoms. 

“We are paying for these to go on penises,” he said.

Whatever works.

Top 10 reasons why African men don’t use condoms (as told to various NGO workers throughout Africa)

1. They aren’t available when one needs them.

2. Condoms cause HIV. Before there were condoms in Africa, there was no HIV. It was the Americans who brought AIDS to Africa with condoms.

3. Good Muslims are not supposed to use condoms.

4. If I am paying for sex, I shouldn’t have to use a condom.

5. Only promiscuous people use condoms.

6. Why would I put my seed in plastic?

7. It’s hard to remember to use a condom when one is drunk.

8. One loses an erection when putting on a condom.

9. It’s not natural.

10. They are too small for African men.

By Iva Skoch

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Catholic priest becomes unlikely sex guru

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