What is a woman’s perspective, exactly? Well, for one thing, it’s what Trojan’s new line of products claims to be. Elexa is a line of condoms that have been repackaged to be more woman-friendly. I imagine that new colors and motifs on the box are the only changes; what else can you do once a condom has been lubricated, ribbed, and given one of those funny little pleasure-pouch things? But since I haven’t actually seen the new products yet, I’ll withhold judgment until my free sample arrives.
In addition to condoms, Elexa has a series of feminine intimacy products that are meant to be sold in the “feminine care” isle of your local supermarket. Their Intimacy Gel is a warming lubricant, not unlike KY Warming (and probably about the same quality, which is to say, poor). You use it like any other lube – on the naughty bits during sexual activity – and it heats up with friction. Sounds nice, right? I’ve talked to a few women for whom warming lube rekindled an interest in sex. There are other products out there which are slightly better quality (Wet Warming, for example, or Warm Embraces), but nothing beats the convenience of buying your lube with your tampons!
Elexa’s Freshening Cloths are just what you probably think they are: wet wipes for big girls. Lots of companies are producing (non-gender specific) products like this now, because who doesn’t like a clean bottom? Always brand menstrual pads is marketing a new product which comes with a cleansing cloth attached to each individual package, which I think sounds perfect for traveling. I’m not the type to use these products obsessively; I think I clean well enough in the shower, thank you. I can see their appeal for pre- and post-coital clean up though: enter Elexa Freshening Cloths! Now that’s some clever marketing.
As for the Vibrating Ring, Trojan began marketing this product about a year ago and I doubt it’s changed much for its woman-friendly incarnation. It’s a simple rubber ring, basically like the base of a condom, with a tiny bullet vibrator in it; it’s meant to be worn around the base of the penis, providing extra stimulation for him. According to several (apparently quite well-endowed) friends and acquaintances who have tried it, the vibrating ring feels great while it lasts – but then the ring busts. What a bummer! But my major beef with this product is the utter wastefulness. They’re intended to be a single-use product (and each comes packaged with a single condom). If you just want to see if vibrating cock rings are for you, this is the perfect option (assuming it doesn’t bust before you can do the deed). But dear lord, I hope people don’t start buying these on a regular basis. I can hear it now: “I’m running to the Stop & Shop to pick up some more Vibrating Rings honey – don’t start without me!” Couples who find that they really like the sensation should invest a little ahead of time buy a regular vibrating cock ring. You’ll save money in the long run, and it’s not creating lots of extra waste!
What I would really love to see Trojan do with this new line is to market a dental dam. A dental dam is a square sheet of very thin latex which can be used between giver and receiver during oral sex on a woman (cunnilingus) or oral-anal sex (commonly called analingus). Why use a dental dam? Because STIs can be transmitted during oral sex. The one that gets people’s attention is herpes. If your partner has a cold sore – even just the very beginning of one – and s/he give you head, s/he could give you genital herpes. You don’t want genital herpes, but you do want to get head? Use a dental dam.
Dental dams are generally considered a novelty item and are pretty expensive; at Wild Hearts in Provincetown they sell for $1.65 apiece, as opposed to condoms, which sell for about a dollar individually. Even at Smith, where I’d like to think that oral sex on a woman is taken seriously, dental dams are in short supply – partly because of the prohibitive cost to Health Services of purchasing them, and partly because of PSE’s inability (try as we might) to convince people that they should be using them. Now, if Trojan’s brilliant marketing execs got behind dental dams, maybe people would sit up and pay attention. Not to mention the fact that it would make Elexa a little less heterocentric and a little less androcentric. So far the only product they’ve released that’s really about her pleasure is the Intimacy Gel, and although the Elexa website and the Blog they sponsor are both choc-full of sex-positivity, it’s all for straight women. Some of us like women, damnit! And dykes use condoms too! If Elexa wants to be a woman's perspective, maybe they should start by realizing that there's more than one.