Jiftip wants you to seal your penis during sex. For some reason, men don’t seem eager.

Jiftip wants you to seal your penis during sex. For some reason, men don’t seem eager.
The Jiftip (not pictured) is akin to taping closed the urethra. ronstik/Shutterstock
The Jiftip (not pictured) is akin to taping closed the urethra. ronstik/Shutterstock

Gluing one’s genitals together will strike most of us as a patently bad idea, yet against all odds, a few enterprising sexual health entrepreneurs persist: Consider Jiftip, a small adhesive penile patch designed to fit over the urethra, closing it off so that no ejaculate escapes during orgasm. (“Injaculation,” the site calls it.)

We have so many questions. Why would a person want to bottle things up that way? Is this an upgrade on the condom? What compelling reason exists for someone to stick a piece of polyurethane film over the tip of his penis before sex? If you used Jiftip with the company’s “orgasmic oil,” would it even stay on?

According to the website, Jiftip — which is still in limited beta — exists solely to keep your “nest” from turning into a “Jizz-Fest,” a convoluted way of saying to guard against semen-stained sheets. Its creators clearly acknowledge that “there will be failures” in these early days, and thereby command you: “THOU SHALT NOT USE FOR PREGNANCY OR STI PREVENTION PURPOSES.” As for whether it’s functional, the website posits, “How can you know? How can anyone know? — until they try.”

No one — not even the company that makes it — is saying Jiftip works. So you might be asking, why make it it all? To answer that question, we brought the matter before medical professionals and sex-having men alike. The consensus? A resounding nope from every party polled. The apparent risks of both sexually transmitted infections and pain did not outweigh the product’s murky benefits.

“I’m pretty skeptical,” Srinath Kotamarti, a third-year urology resident at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, said in a phone interview. The ends — avoiding post-coital wet spots in your bed — don’t seem to justify the means of holding semen inside the urethra for an unspecified amount of time in a so-called “injaculation.”

“That’s really meant to come out,” Kotamarti said. “I don’t know why you’d try to keep it in.”

Kotamarti speculated that ejaculate retention might feel a bit like having one’s urethra dilated, a “very, very painful” procedure. Alternatively, it might evoke the unpleasant sensation of stopping one’s urine midstream. There’s also a heightened potential for infection, he said.

Sex with a condom is also “real sex.” Jiftip

Jiftip’s creators declined to comment for this story, saying “all the information you need is on the website.” Much of that language raised questions, and much of it has been updated or deleted since Mic initially asked for comment on the specifics.

In its frequently asked questions section as of Aug. 8, for example, Jiftip heavily suggested condoms are an unnecessary inconvenience. Stressing that “healthy skin is a virtually impenetrable natural germ barrier,” a previous version of the FAQs also asserted that “condoms do not protect you against herpes,” citing research the Guttmacher Institute released in 2001. That research has since been removed and replaced with the statement, “We keep telling you Jiftip doesn’t protect anything except pleasure.” The bit about healthy skin has been updated thusly: “We feel that healthy skin is a virtually impenetrable natural barrier,” with the proviso that a person should always “verify” with their partner before sex.

Which is good: What we know about herpes’ various strains and the ways in which they’re passed from person to person has evolved quite a bit in the past 15+ years; what hasn’t changed is the fact that wearing a condom does reduce (though not necessarily eliminate) a person’s risk of contracting STIs like herpes, which can spread through skin-on-skin contact or skin-on-mucous-membrane contact even when the infected party isn’t showing symptoms. One 2009 study showed that consistent condom use, while imperfect, lowered participants’ risk of getting HSV-2 by 30%.

As Kotamarti emphasized, though, herpes is far from the only STI out there — and unfortunately, the United States finds itself in the middle of a sexual health crisis. More than half the country’s population will contract an STI at some point in their lives; chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea diagnoses are on the rise, especially among the 15- to 24-year-old set; and antibiotic-resistant strains of each are becoming more prevalent. All things considered, now simply doesn’t seem like the time to encourage people away from safe sex. (To be fair, Jiftip’s updated language is much clearer about the fact that the company “makes no medical health or safety claims.”)

But if you are monogamous and you and your partner have both been tested for STIs; if pregnancy either isn’t a concern or is already accounted for; if you really care a lot about your sheets or are just very averse to sleeping in the wet spot; the Jiftip may well be for you. But in an informal survey of Mic men, enthusiasm was decidedly lacking.

An informal poll suggested many men don’t think Jiftip is penis genius at all. Jiftip

“God,” writer Miles Surrey said. “No ... thank you.”

Mics Anthony Smith took a similar tack.

“I literally don’t get why anyone with a penis would try it,” Smith said, pointing out it seemed eminently possible for the sticker to slide right off with the addition of lube.

“The disclaimer couldn’t be more ‘We have no idea if this works!’ if it tried, so if you’re going for this, you may as well do nothing and just try your luck with coitus interruptus — which is obviously bad, but [it’s] just as bad as this product and also free,” Smith said. (He did not find the $6 price tag for a pack of three “dicker stickers” reasonable.)

The unifying theme among male reactions, though, was confusion.

“Honestly, my biggest worry about wearing this would be finishing but nothing has anywhere to go so it just, like, floods the tunnel, goes right back up inside you,” writer Zak Cheney-Rice explained. “Obviously I did really well in biology,” he added.

Kotamarti said that probably won’t happen. Reversing the flow of ejaculate — called retrograde ejaculation — is an unlikely prospect for anyone who hasn’t had prostate surgery or isn’t taking prostate-related drugs. Fluid isn’t going to flow backward into the testicles, either, he said. That would defy some fundamentals of human anatomy.

“From what we know about how the body works, what we use dilation for and what the point of this whole thing is,” Kotamarti said, “it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

Outside the Mic offices, men didn’t find the prospect of becoming human “cum-tainers,” as the website somewhat problematically puts it, alluring.

“Definitely reassuring that it’s for ‘novelty only’ and the only risk is all the risk,” Michael Getz sarcastically mused, wondering if it’s ever advisable to tell users to “step up [their] pullout game” when marketing a product that’s easily misconstrued as a condom replacement.

Chris, who preferred to be identified by first name only, said he was “horrified” by the concept and didn’t see the point.

“If it doesn’t prevent STDs or pregnancy, then why bother?” Chris asked, remarking that removal seemed like it could present some problems. “Nothing sounds good about putting anything with adhesive over a small, sensitive area like that,” he added.

Graham Jones agreed: “Anything involving the tip of the urethra sounds painful, particularly putting a sticker on it and then peeling it off.”

Jones also noted that condoms, for him, were more about STI prevention than avoiding pregnancy, so the Jiftip didn’t seem like a particularly useful or fun product.

“Wearing it while ejaculating sounds uncomfortable,” he said. “They say it’s like holding in a sneeze, but holding in a sneeze is inferior to actually sneezing into a tissue.”

Many of the men polled were skeptical the Jiftip could stay put. “The concept is cool but without the kung-fu grip, I don’t see how it securely stays on,” Donaldo Prescod offered.

Most of the men interviewed also found it simply strange. Sam Dresser, for example, classified the Jiftip as “spooky and extremely unlikely to work.”

Women, on the other hand, seemed amused. “After all the sexual indignities women have been made to suffer at the hands of men, I just want ... stickers for my boyfriend’s urethra,” Cat Chapman said.

Ceci Graña-Rosa was more blunt, commenting: “I’m all for UTI equality.”