Blood Ties throws condom contest

Have sex, win an iPod Nano. That's the pitch being made by Blood Ties Four Directions. That's the pitch being made by Blood Ties Four Directions. The non-profit wants to know which condom brand the territory should distribute freely in the future, so it's giving away free sampler packs that feature four different styles.

Have sex, win an iPod Nano.

That’s the pitch being made by Blood Ties Four Directions. The non-profit wants to know which condom brand the territory should distribute freely in the future, so it’s giving away free sampler packs that feature four different styles.

Respondents who rank the condoms in an online survey will have their names entered to win the 8GB iPod.

The Yukon government gives away approximately 60,000 free condoms annually in the hope of curbing sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. But there’s one big snag to the scheme: many men dislike the Durex-brand condoms the government buys.

Common complaints: the condoms don’t fit well, they decrease sensitivity too much and they have a worrisome tendency to break.

That’s the consensus that emerged from a number of focus groups held by Blood Ties over the winter.

“If you’re talking to a bunch of men in a room, and you’re talking about Durex, and they’re saying, ‘I’ll use nothing before that. Yes, I care about my sexual health, but I hate that condom,’ then you have a problem,” said Patricia Bacon, the group’s executive director.

Some men had never tried Durex, but “they wouldn’t use it because they’d heard so many bad things from other men about it,” said Bacon.

“There was just a general perception it was a bad condom,” she said. “As soon as men walked into the room, a few of them said, ‘Oh I hate those, those are awful.’”

So Durex is being dumped.

The trial package contains four different condoms: Kimono MicroThin, HardCover, LifeStyles Ultra Sensitive and LifeStyles Lubricated.

“They’re not all the same. There’s quite a bit of variation in terms of fit, how it fits, where it’s tight, where it’s not,” said Bacon.

Blood Ties distributes 30,000 condoms through its office, Yukon’s bars and other public locations. The territory’s health promotions branch gives away at least that many, said Bacon.

One thousand of the free condom packs are being given away in Whitehorse and 1,500 in the communities.

The contest ends May 31. But the free condoms packs will likely be gone well before then.

By last week, Blood ties had given out about 700 packages from its office.

“They’re going fast,” said Bacon. “And when they’re gone, they’re gone.”

The packs can be found at the Blood Ties office or at the following other locations: the Yukon College Bookstore, student lounge, and residence; Better Bodies Cross Training Centre; Adult Room at Rogers Video; Sundog Carving Studio; Culture Shock; Adult Temptations; Napa Auto Parts; Skookum Jim Friendship Centre; Condom Exhibit at Yukon Arts Centre; Champagne Aishihik First Nations Office; BYTE; Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre; Titan Gaming; CAIRS; Peak Fitness; Music Emporium; and Yukon Brewing Co.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.