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SEXtember: Safe sex education apps

TURNS out there truly is an app for everything – even how to have safe sex. Amy Lau reviews three free apps that could come to the rescue, whether you need tips on how to use a condom or just want to brush up on your trivia.

So it’s Sextember. I’ve been browsing the App Store for the most informative and interesting safe sex apps, and discovered the following three. They’re compatible with the iPad and iPhone, and available for free.

Sex Education!

Yes, there’s an exclamation mark.

If Sex Education!’s pink background dotted with hearts wasn’t distracting enough, this app also has text that’s unwieldy to read. But all the content is divided into categories, making it easier to navigate than the next app I looked at. From foreplay techniques to “expert help”, this app appears to have it all – at a price (more on that later).

A short preview of each category makes it easy to find what you’re looking for and they have ratings to let you know how accurate and detailed they are. This is indicated by the number of – you guessed it – hearts each category has.

But not all the categories are freely available though, with some going for $0.99. The good news? The free birth control category has plenty of sub-categories with information ranging from the various kinds of birth control to emergency contraception.

If you want, you can also share the app’s information via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. But why you’d want to send “safe sex tips” to family and friends though is beyond me.

Safe Sex Tips

First I need to bring attention to the layout of Safe Sex Tips – which appears similar to a PDF article. There seems to be a problem with the apostrophes in the text as well, while some sentences end abruptly. The information is presented in big blocks of text, making it rather clunky too read too.

Still, if you can tolerate the bad formatting, the information on the app is detailed and helpful. There are pointers on using condoms, ways to avoid contracting STDs, and tips for talking to your partner about sex. Some of the information provided is quite unnecessary though – there’s really no need to state “Step 1: Rip open the condom packet.”

The app also has social media capabilities. Tapping on the mail icon at the bottom of the screen will open up the Mail function and automatically copy the content on your current page into the message field. The Facebook icon allows you to share what you’re reading on the social media platform as well.

My overall verdict though? Safe Sex Tips is a rather careless and clumsy app, which I wouldn’t recommend.

Condom Pro

Unlike the previous two apps, Condom Pro’s approach to safe sex education comes in the form of a short and amusing game rather than actual information about safe sex. The game has you carefully tear open a condom packet before putting the condom on various elongated objects. You’re scored on how well you ripped open the condom packet, and how quickly you managed to put the condom on the object without knocking it over.

While the objectives of the game remain the same as you progress, the scenario gets more bizarre, from a candlestick on a bed (and in case you’re wondering, this is the least weird scenario) to a fish standing upright on a dingy boat.

Still, interesting and useful information does pop out on the loading screen before each scenario. Like the fact condoms are the only form of protection that can help prevent pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

For those who want to brag about their success, game scores can also be posted on your Facebook timeline.

But Condom Pro seems like it’s out to amuse rather than provide concrete information about safe sex. But I guess it’s helpful to realise how delicate a condom is and how to not damage it when tearing open its packet.

All in all, I found these apps disappointing. While there’s no harm having a little safe sex guide on your phone, it isn’t really necessary as you can find more detailed information about safe sex on the Internet. Also, you may find yourself in the awkward situation of having to explain the apps’ presence on your phone to a friend who borrowed it for a call.

This article was written for the month of Sextember. Find out more about the campaign and how you can contribute here.

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Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

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