Research conducted by Durex has revealed that emojis play a vital role in young people’s conversation around sex, with 84 per cent of 16- to 25-year-olds saying they felt more comfortable talking about sex using emojis. More than half of respondents said they regularly used emojis when discussing sex.
The research, carried out by 3GEM, found over a third of respondents claimed not to care about safe sex and nearly half thought that HIV would never affect them or their friends.
Durex is calling for an official safe-sex emoji to be created by the organisation behind emojis – Unicode – by encouraging people to share the hashtag #CondomEmoji. The support gained will be part of an official submission to Unicode on World Aids Day, 1 December.
Premier has developed the global PR strategy for the campaign, with Havas Worldwide as the creative agency on the project.
Dr. Mark McCormack, senior lecturer in sociology and co-director, Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities at Durham University, said: "Many young people have gained their sexual knowledge through their own sexual activity and searching the internet. While participants generally felt able to discuss safe sex within their romantic relationships, there was more uncertainty with new or potential partners. Eighty per cent welcomed the idea of the emoji to make the discussion of safe sex easier and more fun."
Volker Sydow, global director, Durex, added: "Durex believes in happier, healthier sex lives and World Aids Day is a hugely significant reminder about the importance of safe sex.
"Looking at how influential messaging is in the development of relationships today, an official safe-sex emoji is a simple and empowering step towards better protection and sexual wellbeing."