Yes, you read that headline right. Stickers.
"It began as a desperate attempt to avoid using condoms," explains the website for Jiftip, the magic urethra sticker some men have invented in an effort to avoid safe sex. The premise: A guy puts the "tipgear" (their slang for an "adhesive flexible sticker covering just the urethra for the containment of urine and semen") over his urethra before sex, and then gets down to business.
This "feel shield," made with hypoallergenic polyurethane film and an adhesive layer used in specialty skin bandages, is designed to help men "slam the door on foreign invaders and trap those few eager baby-seeds until you're ready to let them go." This is designed to help men "Feel [Their] Partner, Feel Freedom, Feel Safe" in a way that condoms apparently don't allow. (While you're reading this, keep in mind that unsafe sex is the number-one risk factor for illness and death in women.)
If you're thinking "this is a load of BS," you're right. The website explicitly says that Jiftip, which was created specifically to avoid condom use, "is for novelty or entertainment purposes only. THOU SHALT NOT USE IT FOR PREGNANCY OR STI PURPOSES."
So, uh, why use it then?!?! The short answer: Don't.
Doctors (and, you know, anyone with a brain) are adamantly recommending that no one use Jiftip to prevent pregnancy or STDs: "As a clinician, physician, and urologist that advocates for men's health, I am not an advocate of this form of birth control whatsoever," says Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., a urologist at Orlando Health.
Yet the website boasts consumer reviews and links to YouTube testimonials of happy men who've somehow convinced their partners this is legit. But half of the reviewers aren't even using it correctly—many of them discuss leaving Jiftip on through ejaculation and then pulling it off afterward. However, the website explains:
"HOLDING AN INDOOR JIZZ-FEST? DON'T! Not with Tipgear anyway. Not your normal pullout, this is much better. Peel it off before you feel the urge to climax, no scrambling at the last second. Relax, you're covered. That's it, simple. Sex without that rush to gush. Watch that aim!"
Hold up—what? If you're confused (and horrified), you're not the only one. It took a little digging to find a line of fine print in the FAQ section to truly understand how Jiftip should be used: "Reminder: It's recommended you always pullout, remove, then ejaculate."
This makes sense. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why it might not be great to plug up the top of a volcano: "The ejaculate is meant to be coming out and needs to come out almost instantaneously," says Dr. Brahmbhatt. "You can get irritation in your urethra from the pressure...it's just not a good idea."
So if your guy is peeling it off "before [he feels] the urge to climax" then, in essence, this is just a glorified, pre-cum-blocking version of the pull-out method—only he gets the added excitement of having to yank a sticker off his penis. Imagine getting close to your O and then having a Brazilian wax. Talk about a mood killer. Yet, this is supposed to somehow be better than using condoms?
And let's think about that adhesive, for a sec. To stay on a guy's penis through a really frisky romp? That stuff has got to be pretty effing sticky. One reviewer on the site wrote: "felt like my little fella could go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson and still wouldn't fall off!"
Jiftip claims the adhesive is used on bandages and that their "feel shield" is hypoallergenic, but the lack of clinical studies or approval from a medical professional means there could definitely still be a risk of an allergic reaction, irritation, or possible tears in the skin of the urethra or glans, says Dr. Brahmbhatt.
Last but not least, some #realtalk: Probably everyone in the world (regardless of gender) would rather not use condoms. I'd venture to guess that for most people, it's more pleasurable to feel skin-on-skin vs. skin-on-latex. But you know what's also pleasurable? Not getting STDs.
"Really, this is a selfish intent on his part to take that risk because he wants sex to feel better," says Dr. Brahmbhatt. See, even a doctor says so.
No one likes condoms, but you *need* to use condoms anyway. (At least until we come up with a new, less-intrusive, and SAFER alternative.) We're in the midst of an STD epidemic, and antibiotic-resistant STI superbugs are only making the threat even more real. So buck up, guys, and practice safe sex.
And if your partner pulls out a Jiftip and insists it's safe? Tell him he can take his tipgear elsewhere.