Sweden: New App Lets Swedes Test Sex With Friends, Fantasy Figures

As part of a new safe-sex initiative to encourage condom use, the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI) launched an app on Tuesday that allows users to "test sex" with a range of fantasy characters portrayed by Swedish actors. Users can also send a request to a Facebook friend for a test "fling."

"The focus is on condom use," explained Karin Raagsjoe, who thought up the idea for the app for SMI. "We're trying to get this issue on the agenda." Once users decide which character they want to simulate sex with, they are asked if they want to use a condom.

Other messages also pop up during the "sex," including "Did you know that people who suggest using a condom are seen as confident and considerate?" and "Did you know Swedes are among the worst in the world at using a condom?"

Raagsjoe said the app is a fun way to raise awareness and get people to visit the campaign's website, which provides tips for using condoms and other health information, such as STD testing sites.

"Swedes are bad at using condoms," Raagsjoe said, citing studies showing that as few as 40 percent of Swedes used protection. The app targets young people since "it is really hard to reach this group with the message of condom use."

"And people are also a bit shy," Raagsjoe said to further explain why condoms are not used more frequently. "In the north we are known for being open about sex, but it is still hard to bring up the issue of using a condom." Moreover, she said, "it can be hard if you don't make it a habit ... sort of like wearing a bike helmet."