John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A condom company is developing products for sexual privacy in this ultra-dense city-state, such as a screen that fits over car windows to make the vehicle look empty.
Singapore has a problem: It's a tiny nation with a gargantuan sexual appetite.
With 5.4 million people packed onto an island measuring just 270 square miles, Singapore ranks as the third-densest country on earth. All that seething humanity, bumping flesh on the sidewalks and stacked like warm cordwood in skyscrapers, makes it difficult for a loving couple to just wander off and find someplace to... you know, make more Singaporeans.
Inspired by that lack of privacy, one condom company has built a novel, naughty advertising campaign. “Discover a range of products that help you get better at getting away with it,” is the new slogan of the Okamoto Freedom Project, put on by Japanese condom manufacturer Okamoto – and boy, do the residents of this 100 percent urban nation seem to love it.
The campaign revolves around a handful of Ethan Hunt-worthy gadgets meant to frustrate pervy voyeurs and lubricate the process of clandestinely gettin' it on. The most wowza of the devices for sale at Okamoto's website, for about $55, is an automotive screen called Urban Camouflage. Here's how the condom king describes it:
Hooking up in a car can be exciting, but it also means having to watch out for passersby and peeping toms.
With Urban Camouflage, you can make your car look empty even when it’s not. It's a set of easy-to-install, re-usable screens that help you avoid an unwanted audience.
It's designed to fit the three most popular Japanese car models in Singapore - the Toyota Corolla Altis, Nissan Sylphy and Honda Civic.
Other products on offer include “Tipoff,” an app that turns a phone into a parent-sensing alarm, because apparently folks in Singapore often stay with their elders until they're 30. There's also Nightcap, a bar-drinks coaster with a secret condom inside it, because there's nothing suspicious at all about carrying a bunch of bar coasters in your pocket.
Okamoto is holding a contest for the best secretive sex tech, with a top prize of free airfare between Singapore and Japan (plus the obligatory big ol' bag of condoms). Submissions so far have included a Batmanesque “utility belt” that holds prophylactics, a camouflaged two-person sleeping bag for outdoors addicts, an R-rated version of Apple's Siri that can help lovers find nearby hotels and a portable “Maintenance” sign to hang from the doors of “sacred places like school, church or court.” Jesus, is this a country with sex on the brain, or what?