Sunday, November 28, 2010

Safe sex ads: where everyone is above average

New safe sex ad from Candies Foundation with Bristol Palin and Mike Sorrentino from Jersey Shore. First, Bristol looks a bit nervous, fidgeting as she's talking about sex and safe sex, which is odd since I would think they could try refilming until she didn't look nervous. Second, Mr. Sorentino whips out condoms, and brags that they're large-sized, and then offers one to Ms. Palin, just in case. A condom that's too large is only marginally better than no condom at all. What good does it do for a safe sex ad to raise the size issue when, by definition, only a small proportion of their viewers need large-sized condoms? While googling around for information about what proportion of males "need" large condoms, I found an article which said that the market share for a single large-sized brand went up from 5% to 20%, but that the condoms are not actually larger than other condoms.

Balanced arguments are more persuasive

According to this summary of a meta-analysis, arguments are more persuasive when both sides are presented, even when preaching to the choir. This research explains why abstinence-only sex education --- which is still funded at $50 million per year and requires that only disadvantages of birth control and condoms be presented, not advantages --- does not encourage abstinence as well as comprehensive sex education does, even among those inclined to believe it, and why the only abstinence-only program found effective (the Jemmotts' program) was not one-sided enough to be funded under federal abstinence-only funds.