Erect penises feature in new safe sex ads

Photographer Matt Lambert is joined by Ren Hang and 22 other photographers in a campaign that aims to increase condom use and stop the spread of HIV/Aids

A censored version of “Colby comes", part of “Artists for Safe Sex” campaign Photography Matt Lambert, via

A censored version of “Colby comes”, part of “Artists for Safe Sex” campaign
Photography Matt Lambert, via

In 1989, ads of a hand holding an erect penis and a condom appeared in major German newspapers. The aim was to increase safe sex particularly through condom use and, while it might seem like a shock tactic, it worked.

Article via dazed-logo

With our access to sex, who we have sex with and the ways that we do it increasingly optimised, due in part to online apps and websites, it’s surprising that we’ve rarely seen anything since. Safe sex is something spoken about in doctor’s offices, pamphlets and sex ed classes (if you were lucky enough to have them). As adults, we are often left to “do what’s right” and advertisers don’t know how to navigate nudity and sex, even when it’s in relation to health…

Ready & Waiting by Tom Robson for the Shooting Challenge.

Many people use the internet to look for sex and many find it.  We know it’s it’s exciting to meet strangers too for those evenings of passion which you remember for days on end but you must ensure you are safe with new people you have only just met. It would be irrational to say don’t do it at all so here’s a pointers on how to stay safe while hooking up online.  Casual Sex encounters? – Read this about being physically safe if you’re meeting new people for the first time

…But a dramatic rise in HIV/Aids infections, particularly in Germany, has prompted nonprofit foundation Schooner Zang Foundation to revamp the 80s campaign. Founded by husband and wife duo Michael Schirner and Kexin Zang, who mix art and culture, science, research, education, and training, the NFP have masterminded the campaign “Artists for Safe Sex”. Its aim is to stop all new HIV-infections within the next five years but a significant decline in new diagnoses and increase in condom use will be a good start.

In order to get their message out, Schirner and Zang have tapped 24 photographers, including Matt Lambert and Ren Hang, to interpret the brief of “erect penis with hand and condom” from their own perspectives. A new image will be released each week onto the site and the campaign has already run in publications like Vice and Playboy.

Lambert’s shot, which can be seen in all its NSFW-glory here, features porn star and model Colby Keller, who was a recent muse of Vivienne Westwood’s Jurgen Teller shot SS16 campaign.

There’s also a SFW (without pictures) option on the site for those looking for more information on safe sex as well as the campaign itself. With the first images launched this past weekend, Dazed spoke with Lambert and Schirner below.

In your opinion, have we become less safe when it comes to sex?

Matt Lambert: Just in the last few years, I see so many gay men many having so much careless unprotected sex. The horror of the AIDS epidemic becomes folklore for so many young gay people and the advances in HIV treatment make people so relaxed about using protection.

What made you want to re-vamp this campaign?

Michael Schirner: The dramatic rise in HIV infections – particularly in Germany (+ seven per cent) – especially the growing number of new HIV diagnoses among young people and the declining acceptance of condoms is so alarming that the board of the nonprofit Schirner Zang Foundation has decided to launch a massive campaign against HIV/Aids.

Why did you choose these 24 photographers?

Michael Schirner: Kexin Zang, my wife and the Chinese artist, is creative director of the campaign. She asked our favorite 50 photographers in Europe, most of them are friends we work together since years. All liked the idea, 24 became our “Artists for Safer Sex”.

What was the brief set for them?

Michael Schirner: Please shoot a close-up of an erect penis with hand and condom. The rest is up to you.

“The horror of the Aids epidemic becomes folklore for so many young gay people and the advances in HIV treatment make people so relaxed about using protection” – Matt Lambert

Why do you think erect penises in campaigns relating to safe sex, STDs, health, etc, are still seen as shocking?

Matt Lambert: It’s absurd how a hard cock is still a taboo for some people and it’s funny how many conversations I’ve had with magazine editors about the 45 degree ‘rule’. It’s this uneasiness that some people have to talk about their desire, sexuality and even an erection which can also lead to not wanting to talk about sexual practices. How can you talk about safe sex, when you don’t know how to talk about sex? France has been doing some great advertising over the years that celebrates sex and dicks whilst at the same time advocating for safe sex.

Michael Schirner: I don’t think so. 2016 is the year of dick pics. The internet is crowded with all kinds of penises. We want to help to continue to make penises popular. The Pope accepts them. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t.

Michael, you have been in advertising for decades, how has it changed since the 80s, when the original campaign ran?

Michael Schirner: We changed advertising since the 70/80s to today. Our strategy: Advertising is (fine) art. And art is advertising. Porn is art too. Only Facebook is prudish.

How do you think people will react to this campaign?

Matt Lambert: I’m hoping they see its playfulness.

Michael Schirner: That they’ll love the work and perhaps condoms will become cool.

What do you hope the reaction is?

Matt Lambert: To make people want to f**k, but to do it safely. [sic]

Read more about the campaign here

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2 responses to “Erect penises feature in new safe sex ads

  1. Pelagia Hungwe

    When is the AGM meeting?

    Sent from my Samsung device