£400 to have sex on screen? Does this really sound like a typical University project?
As part of promotional video for condoms, Coventry university is seeking couples to have sex on film. For £400, three couples aged between 18 and 25 will be filmed in ‘natural settings’ having sex. These settings include a student room and a car, chosen to promote the idea that using a condom doesn’t have to ‘kill the mood.’ The videos are a part of the Chance 2 Change project, which targets 15 to 24 year olds in encouraging the use of condoms. The Coventry Telegraph have reassured the public that the video will only be available to over 18s.
Clips of people putting condoms on in ways in which ‘increase pleasure’ and couples talking about how they incorporate condoms into their sex lives will also feature. The project is titled ‘Wrapped’ and the users can request a sample pack of 12 condoms to be sent to them discreetly. They can also request chlamydia-self testing kits. Likewise, a nifty box containing headphones can be requested which has a ‘secret pocket’ for storing condoms.
Dr Newby assured that the videos will be ‘tastefully shot’ and use ‘real couples in loving, consensual relationships.’ Dr Newby argued that this campaign is vital given that the NHS still spends £620 million per year treating sexually-transmitted illnesses. She says they hope that they can convince people that ‘condoms needn’t be awkward, embarrassing or an obstacle to enjoyable sex.’ A study from 2013 found that 16 percent of 16 to 25 year olds reported having sex with at least two people without using a condom.
The overall objective of the videos is to reduce STI rates though the encouragement of condom usage amongst the young, an extremely important initiative.
Is this project problematic though, I hear you ask? Unsurprisingly, the campaign has faced a backlash of opposing opinions given that in essence, it is a case of “sex for money.” According to the Parents Outloud group, students could run the risk of “jeopardising” their future careers as the videos could stay in circulation for years. Given that controversial Facebook status’ can cost people a job, Parents Outloud could speak some truth. And although Coventry University argues that the 18-25 year olds who apply may not be students, skint and desperate students will no doubt be drawn in by a £400 lump sum. Likewise, one could question where the line is drawn between filming sex for a charity and becoming an amateur porn star.
It appears to me that the charity has good intentions, but it seems the monetary reward is understandably very problematic.