Candies sweet way to broach subject of safe sex among seniors

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No one wants grandma to get the clap, but it is an increasing problem.

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A campaign called F—ing Old is asking Canadian seniors to to make sure they’re safe.

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Seniors are getting busy with the number of grey divorces and readily available Viagra.

The campaign partners with Sex with Sue documentarian Jane Johanson, the daughter of Canadian sex expert Sue Johanson, to raise awareness for seniors to practise safer sex.

The campaign also includes Jems, a body-safe condom brand committed to including a multiplicity of gender and sexual expressions, and is launching a bold new campaign to reach an unexpected audience: Seniors.

The move is to encourage younger Canadians, comfortable in talking openly about sex, to speak with their elders about safer sex.

“Talking about sex with your parents or grandparents may be awkward, but frankly has never been more necessary,” said Jane Johanson.

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“This campaign is about harnessing the power of gen Z, who talk about sex easily and often over their vast social-media networks, to bring that conversation to the older generation who often don’t understand their risks.”

Over the last decade, statistics show that sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates for people over 65 years old have risen by 267% for chlamydia, 340% for syphilis and 388% for gonorrhea across Canada.

Jems’ partnership with Johanson includes TikTok creators and other social-media influencers.

Jems has also created a collection of hard candies, inspired by the longtime association between the sweets and seniors.

The candies are designed to spark conversation and are available for purchase at: jemsforall.com with 100% of sales donated to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights globally.

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“The rise of sexually transmitted infections among Canadian seniors is due to the fact that many seniors who leave long-term, monogamous relationships and re-enter the dating scene are unaware of the risks associated with STIs and hookup culture,” Jems said.

The hard candies are each wrapped with a conversation starter on the topic safer sex. All you have to do is pick a flavour, unwrap it and start a conversation about “wrapping it up.” Each one has a message inside.

“Ultimately, the candies are a sweet prompt to help bridge the gap and promote healthy sexual habits amongst seniors,” said Whitney Geller and Yasemin Emory, the co-founders of Jems.

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“Instead of your grandma giving you a hard candy, this is a chance for you to give her one and ignite a conversation about sexual health and the spread of STIs amongst a generation who is at risk.”

The candies are available in four sweet characters and will be sold in a bag or box with the box also including condoms.

They include Bedroom Berry, which will spark a discussion around having a safer sex talk with your partner, and Bawdy Banana, talking about the importance of using protection. Pleasurable Pear will start the conversation on knowing when to get tested and Sensual Strawberry will provide the chance to talk about the joys of getting it on.

“Jems is a condom brand and sex-ed platform, built on the desire to create something for everyone and normalize sex and condom use. F—ing Old is an extension of Jems’ commitment to making sexual wellness more inclusive for all,” the company said.

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The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging said we should encourage our loved ones to speak with their primary-care physicians to start a dialogue about STIs.

“Even though we may assume doctors will address all important aspects of our loved ones’ well-being, some doctors avoid the topic because they feel uncomfortable discussing it with their patients. They might also make the mistake in thinking that older people are not sexually active,” the institute said.

“Problems such as these make it imperative for us as caregivers to keep our loved ones informed about the dangers of (STIs) until comprehensive sex-ed measures are established for older adults.”

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