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STI rates on the rise among Canadian seniors: why it's time to talk about safer sex practices

If you think talking to your grandparents about sex is uncomfortable, just imagine how they feel about it.

Mark your calendars folks, April is STI Awareness Month, making it the opportune time to get familiar with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

And while it's a good time to start having 'the sex talk' with with adolescents, now, more than ever, it's important to have these conversations with seniors. 

STIs are rising at a dangerous rate and Canadian seniors are at risk due to a lack of awareness and education about safer sex practices, with many seniors who leave long-term, monogamous relationships and re-enter the dating scene being unaware of the risks associated with STIs and hookup culture.

In fact, in the past decade, STI rates for seniors over 65 have risen by a staggering 267% for chlamydia, 340% for syphilis, and 388% for gonorrhea. 

In response, Jems, a body-safe condom brand dedicated to promoting diverse gender and sexual expressions, is launching a bold campaign called 'F#cking Old'.

Partnering with Jane Johanson, daughter of globally recognized sex expert and beloved Canadian television personality Sue Johanson, Jems is encouraging younger Canadians who are comfortable discussing sex to speak with their grandparents about safer sex practices.

Johanson, co-creator of the 2023 CSA award-winning documentary "Sex with Sue", is no stranger to discussing taboo sex topics and is a perfect partner for this campaign.

"Talking about sex with your parents or grandparents may be awkward, but frankly, has never been more necessary," said Johanson in a release. "This campaign is about harnessing the power of Gen Z who talk about sex easily, and often over their vast social media networks, to bring that conversation to the older generation who often don't understand their risks."

Because let's face it, the only thing seniors should be catching in their golden years is a good deal at the early bird buffet, not an STI.

Jems F#cking Old Hard Candy Wrappers

To help spark conversations about safer sex, Jems has also created a collection of F#cking Old hard candies, which can be purchased on their website with 100% of sales proceeds going to Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights. The campaign is not only about promoting safer sex practices but also about breaking down the taboo surrounding sex and encouraging open and honest communication between generations.

"Ultimately, the candies are a sweet prompt to help bridge the gap and promote healthy sexual habits amongst seniors," says Whitney Geller and Yasemin Emory, co-founders of Jems. "Instead of your grandma giving you a hard candy, this is a chance for you to give her one and ignite a conversation about sexual health and the spread of STIs, amongst a generation who is at risk."

The candies are available in four sweet characters and will be sold in a bag or box, with the box also including Jems condoms. Flavours include: Bedroom Berry, Bawdy Banana, Pleasurable Pear, and Sensual Strawberry. 

With STI rates on the rise among Canadian seniors, it's more important than ever to have uncomfortable yet vital conversations about sex and safer sex practices with loved ones. And remember, if you think talking to your grandparents about sex is uncomfortable, just imagine how they feel about it.