Durex, the world’s leading sexual wellbeing brand, has launched a new marketing campaign which aims to challenge societal attitudes and long-held misconceptions around anal sex, an often-stigmatised experience of sexual connection. Devised by Havas agencies, creative agency Havas London and earned media agency One Green Bean, with activation support from Havas Paris, the campaign reflects Durex’s commitment to being a ‘mainstream activist’ against stigmas and taboos and to champion a world of uncensored sex for all.
Despite research indicating people have anal sex more than 56 billion times every year, societal taboos around anal sex are still rife – including from the vast majority of mainstream media owners, who explicitly prohibit any reference to it in advertising. To bypass these restrictions, Durex has unveiled a series of billboards that avoid explicitly referring to anal sex, instead decrying the fact that ‘it’s 2020, and we still can’t talk about normal sex here’. These billboards instead encourage people to visit Durex’s educational online hub, which includes a wealth of information and advice around anal sex and which aims to improve the experience of anyone currently having anal sex or simply those who would like to explore it.
Moving away from the restrictions of paid media, the campaign also identifies and addresses a glaring omission within the Kama Sutra. Recognised as one of the most comprehensive guides to sex and intimacy, it spans 36 chapters across seven books – and yet includes very little positive reference to anal sex within its pages.
To rectify this, Durex has worked with French sex expert Maïa Mazaurette to publish ‘The Forgotten Chapter’ of the Kama Sutra, showcasing the potential of anal sex for shared pleasure and intimacy. Five positions including The Fearless Cowgirl and Ride the Tiger are beautifully depicted in a series of vivid and intimate illustrations by artist and illustrator, Shreya Gulati, featuring a diverse array of couples exploring anal sex.
The stunning, one-of-a-kind manuscript was exhibited on Rue de Turenne in Le Marais, Paris from 28-31 August, enabling Parisians to support the cause in championing a world of uncensored sex for all, before being published online at https://www.durex.fr/pages/perfectgliss later this month. In France, 4 in 10 people reported having anal sex in the past year2.
Oriane Kowalczyk, Marketing Director, RB Health France, Belgium & the Netherlands says: “Anal sex has been under-represented in the mainstream for far too long. So often our pre-conceptions are based on outdated cultural references as well as clichés, and the reality today is that a quarter of couples are having anal sex or want to explore it. Those couples deserve the right education, knowledge and products to make shared pleasure possible. Yet, we can’t talk about it. We hope this is the first step in encouraging a more open conversation and a world of uncensored sex for all.”
Elliot Harris, Global Executive Creative Director RB at Havas London, says: “Anal sex is not uncommon, and it’s not abnormal…yet we can’t talk about it on TV, in newspapers, on billboards or even online through social platforms. It’s time to end the stigma around any sex branded as ‘different’ and the negative connotations that implies – and that includes censorship from media owners – to democratise good sex for all.”
Daniel Roberts, Creative Director at One Green Bean, adds: “When we discovered the censorship of anal sex dated all the way back to the most historic of sexual texts, the Kama Sutra, we knew this was where we needed to make a change and spark a conversation on a subject Durex is prohibited from openly talking about. The addition of The Forgotten Chapter gave us an opportunity to update the thousand-year-old original with a modern, inclusive, gender-neutral and open approach to all sex.”
The campaign launches Durex’s Perfect Gliss (already available in the UK as ‘Perfect Glide’) across France and Benelux, a silicone-based lubricant with a long-lasting, non-drying formula to enhance shared pleasure during anal sex. It becomes the first lube specifically formulated for anal sex available in pharmacies, supermarkets and major retailers – not just online or from sex shops.