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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

From the archives: when World AIDS Day was about the penis


Yesterday was World Aids Day. A few years ago the AIDS Foundation called it National Penis Day. I blogged on National Penis day about the AIDS Foundation gimmick, and gave them some suggestions on how to make the day stick out as one to remember. Taking the piss, if you will. This is from the archives.

Who was the “dickhead” that organised tomorrow’s National Penis Day? An AIDS Foundation gimmick, the point of it all is to provide a fun way to promote a serious issue, men’s health - particularly men’s sexual health according to AIDS Foundation Executive Director Kevin Hague. A nationwide discussion of men’s health issues is noble, but it won’t happen as a result of a day promoting the penis. But will National Penis day achieve its aim?

Depending on how you aim. NPD did not get off to a good start when billboards featuring a non erect penis or two (perhaps belonging to “members” of the AIDS Foundation?) were deemed to risque for erecting, and the penises (or more correctly, penes) were ordered back in their respective Y-fronts.

Mind you, driving past a penis billboard may have caused a few accidents. Due to the small size of the member, drivers may have been laughing so much. Why couldn’t they have an erect penis on the billboard, its bigger and can take up more space. The AIDS foundation will just have to email a penis with their media releases to “get the penis out there”.

Now that the billboard idea is canned, will the penis day organiser take the approach of the red nose day, or daffodil day – get collectors with buckets full of penes, charge a couple of dollars, and that will include the women in the event. Both sexes can have a penis for the day – and men can have two. The money could go to the AIDS Foundation and Richard and Judy could wear theirs on One Network News.

Another idea is to get a penis and wrap a condom around it and exhibit it at Te Papa. We could call the exhibition “Penis in a condom” and it could open a debate on monogamous relationships and contraception. It could lead to a debate on the definition of the family unit, and how sex was designed for procreation as well as pleasure. Of course the “Puppetry of the Penis” show would never be allowed as that is abuse of the penis.

But why have a penis day to promote men’s health? Why not have a men’s sexual heath day? Do members of the AIDS Foundation have a fixation on the penis or a concern for men’s sexual health? When did you last go to the doctor because you had a problem with your penis. “Doctor, doctor, I can’t seem to get to grips with this problem, do you think you could get a handle on the issue?”

It gets worse. The AIDS Foundation, in a media release said the penis is “something shared by every man”. I will admit to sharing mine. Maybe they should have said, “the penis is something all men have”. At least they didn’t say the penis is shared with every man. That would penis owners in great risk of catching STD’s.

Do you have a problem with your penis? “Let’s face facts, ignoring a problem and hoping it will go away is just plain dumb,” the media release said. What’s not so clear is whether the penis or the problem will go away. Gangrene anyone?

So will you be involved in a penis show-and-tell or discussion workshop this week, or are you content to have a laugh about the fact that it is national penis day and leave it at that? Since when would a national penis day – or a national scrotum day for that matter – assist in discussing such issues? One NZAF media release actually highlighted the dilemma of testicular cancer in great length, so why not call it a testicle day? After all most men have two testicles – but only one penis, and testicular cancer is a real issue in men’s sexual health.

Sexual health is not just about the penis - that’s just the member that sticks out the most – and its used more frequently for urinating than for sex.

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