You and I both know them — guys who don't like condoms and give 101 excuses why sex is "better" without them. Well, this ridiculous new trend is the latest way men are avoiding condoms. It's called the Jiftip, and it's a little sticker men put over their urethras to seal it shut during sex. I know — what?! The hypoallergenic Jiftip is made of polyurethane film and a magical "maximum grip" adhesive, of course. It's been in the making for four years now and calls itself the "feel shield." Its website also calls it "Real sex without side-effects." Hmmm...
But before you go order a case of Jiftips (though they appear to come in a trial pack of three for $6, not a case), please note: While you're having sex with a Jiftip on, you don't ejaculate. A Jiftip tells Bustle "it's only for pleasure purposes," which in this case involves pulling out and taking off the sticker.
Their website specifically states: "Reminder: It's recommended you always pullout, remove, then ejaculate." OK, I would love to know what men will be in the moment with their partner and then stop and excuse themselves to go remove this Band-Aid-esque sticker, then ejaculate (and where, BTW?!). Maybe in its next phase, it should come with an ejaculatory cup?! But then where do you put it — the night stand? Hide it in the bathroom? Have your partner hold it for you?! (Talk about becoming closer to someone!) Also, what if you have super duper sperm and they somehow get through the "maximum grip" adhesive?
It Doesn't Protect Against STIs And/Or Pregnancy
"By covering up the urethra, you stop the transfer of ejaculate (sperm and fluid)," Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, a urologist at Orlando Health, tells Bustle. Because the fluid technically would not transfer, then you may decrease (in theory) the risk of pregnancy or STDs."
However, as far as risks of using the Jiftip, Dr. Brahmbhatt came up with several:
- Thinking it's an effective form of contraception by following the hype and then realizing it does not do what its meant to do.
- You may get someone pregnant.
- You may get an STD.
- You may get an allergic reaction from the adhesive.
Is There Science Behind The Efficacy Of The Jiftip?
"There is no scientific data to support the safety or efficacy of the Jiftip," Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine and co-author of The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion, tells Bustle. "It clearly adheres to the tip of the glans penis, the most sensitive part of the male sexual anatomy, and is propertied to act as a feel shield. Plus, there is no evidence to support that pre-ejaculate may not affect the tight seal and cause it to come loose." Loose? Yikes!
What Men Who've Tried It Say
The product is still in beta testing, so some men have tried it. One, Sam, attests to it on Jiftip's website, saying, "...wow I couldn’t believe how well this thing was sticking, felt like my little fella could go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and still wouldn't fall off!! It's near invisible, and if you aren't looking at it, you'll definitely forget it's there, virtually undetectable."
The Jiftip rep shared this comment left on the site with Bustle:
"I think this is a brilliant idea. I must disclose that I, personally, do not have a penis, but, I enjoy playing with them. You all could be on to something here. All you guys that have objections, I think you should consider what your partner (who has the ultimate responsibility and price to pay) goes through to not get pregnant. IUD's, (now THERE is an invasive object, ever seen one?) Pills that mess with your mind and body, and a bunch of other things that are not as common. This could be great for foreplay, eliminating precum, and much tastier play! Hmmmm, I bet you would like that! Be real guys, I don't know if it will be safe enough for birth control, but foreplay, and some fun, before you get "down to business" would be a lot more fun."
But Does It Hurt?!
I would imagine the "maximum grip" adhesive hurts, or at least stings. "Another concern is that this Jiftip adheres to the sensitive penile glad tissue (it has abundant sensory nerves!) — adheres/ glues/ sticks, choose your own word," Dr. Krychman says. "In a strong Band-Aid-like manner, try to pull that off — especially in the heat of sexual excitement and pleasure — OUCH! Let's talk about coitus-interruptus-by-exquisite-pain-on-your-penis! Ripping a Band-Aid off your sensitive penile head — again, OUCH! Just take a gander on the product website's instructions: 'Does it hurt when you take it off? Yes, it does hurt. But you quickly build a tolerance to it — like drinking a beer, strange at first, suddenly you're addicted.' Not sure most men would appreciate paper-like cuts on their penis or the feeling of urinating glass — but to each his own!"
Would Doctors Recommend This Product?
"I would not label this as a new form of contraception until it has been proven to be effective," Dr. Brahmbhatt says. "I would be cautious to recommend this product to my patients or anyone else."
Here's What Men Should Use Instead
"There are way more effective ways to prevent pregnancy and STDs," Dr. Brahmbhatt says. They include:
- Male Birth Control — vasectomy, condoms, pull-out method — which all have their pros/cons. (The failure rate for condoms is up to 18 percent and withdrawal is up to 22 percent.)
- Female Birth Control — Fertility awareness apps/methods (24 percent failure rate), Ring (9 percent failure rate), Pill (9 percent failure rate), Injectable (6 percent failure rate), IUD (0.2-0.8 percent failure rate), tubal ligation (0.5% failure rate).
As far as safe sex is concerned, Dr. Krychman is a big fan of men sticking to using condoms, even the guys who "don't believe in them." "Sometimes an unrealistic fear crops into men's sexual consciousness, especially when they're contemplating using condoms," Dr. Krychman says. "'Are condoms less manly? Am I supposed to a be a risk-taker and risk pregnancy or an STI?' Some men can even suppress the realistic fears of unwanted STIs or unwanted pregnancies, but then become preoccupied with the fear they will lose their erection, be a stud no more, and even fear that sex won't be as pleasurable. Condoms are often equated with rejection, decreased sexual prowess, and often perceived as emasculating. As a sexual medicine specialist, I ask my patients to follow the data: condoms, when used properly, prevent sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy and, in some cases, enhance sensitivity and may promote sensual safe intimacy between partners. It's time to embrace the condom and squelch the condomphobia!"
The Final DL
In all seriousness, on Jiftip's website, when you're about to add some Jiftips to your online shopping cart, they do remind you that it's meant for fun:
"The legal disclaimer: This product is for novelty or entertainment purposes only. THOU SHALT NOT USE IT FOR PREGNANCY OR STI PREVENTION PURPOSES."
Meanwhile, you should remember that Jiftip is what they state they are, a novelty item (and likely nothing more).