Rubber, johnny, hazmat suit, whatever term you use, you can’t deny that there are plenty of names for the ‘condom.’ But English isn’t the only language with a penchant for amusing prophylactic slang.
Here are some of DrEd’s favourites from around the globe:
1. Germany: ‘Naughty bags‘
Go into any pharmacy in Germany and request a ‘lumelle,’ and you’ll literally be asking for a naughty bag. Save the blushes and say ‘kondom’ instead.
2. Denmark: ‘Rubberman‘
The most common term for a condom here is ‘gummimand,’ meaning ‘rubberman.’ The official Danish is ‘svangerskabsforebyggendemiddel,’ which is a little more of a mouthful.
3. Nigeria – ‘Penis hat’
The Nigerian slang term ‘okpuamu’ or ‘penis hat’ actually has some historical significance. Early rubber condoms used to only cover the glans or ‘head’ of the penis, meaning it did resemble a sort of hat.
4. South Korea – ‘Love and necessity’
South Korean officials have toyed with the idea of replacing the English word for condom with the Korean, ‘ae-pil,’ derived from the Chinese characters for love and necessity. Why? Because they’re sick of fielding complaints from people with identical or similar sounding names. Awkward.
5. Hong Kong – ‘Bullet proof vest’
‘Pei dang vi’ or ‘bullet proof vest’ is a common turn of phrase in Hong Kong. It gives a well-deserved nod to the condom’s awesome protecting ability.
6. Hungary – ‘Safety tool’
Hungary acknowledges the safety aspect of the condom in its slang too, with ‘ovsver,’ meaning ‘safety tool.’
7. China – ‘Insurance Glove’
Chinese slang also focuses on protection with ‘baoxian.’ In 2005 however, some more political vernacular became popular when Guangzhou Haokian Bio-Science launched two complimentary lines of condoms: Ke-li-tun or “Clinton” and Lai-wen-siji or “Lewinsky.”
8. Portugal – Venus Shirt
Don’t think of doing it in Portugal without first reaching for a ‘camisa de Venus.’ Named after the goddess of love, this is one of the sweeter slang terms out there.
9. English – ‘French letter’
It’s thought than this old-fashioned English phrase was coined by a mid-17th Century colonel, wanting to protect his British troops from the decedent, syphilis-ridden French.
10. France – ‘English cap’
Another hint at national tensions, ‘La capote anglaise,’ or ‘English cap’ used to be a popular method of protection against, ‘la maladie anglaise,‘ or ‘the English disease’ (i.e. Syphillis).
Whatever you choose to call it: a condom by any other name is still just as safe. Male condoms are 98% effective at protecting against unwanted pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Stay protected, and insist on a ‘no glove, no love’ policy every time you have sex. All you need to know about condoms.