all things condoms

KY: For sex or surgery?

Posted by Condomologist on February 10, 2009

Back when I first started talking sex to students in Madison, one of my stump lines stolen from my peers was: “The reason KY Jelly gets so tacky is that it was made for gynecological exams, not for sex.” Now that I’m finding that certain recurrent teachings in the sex ed field are not so well grounded, I went in search of the answer to the KY conundrum. If, in fact, it’s proven true what I’ve been spouting to the kids all these years, it would make sense that its shortcomings might be due to its not-so-sexy beginnings. The KY folks tell us it got its mojo going in 1917 as a personal lubricant. Funny that the US Patent Office tells a different story. It’s hard to read, but it’s dated 1906, and it says: “The class of merchandise to which the trademark is appropriated is medical and surgical appliances, and the particular description of goods comprised in said class upon which said trademark is used is antiseptic, non-fatty and soluble lubricating jelly.” You be the judge.


Update: The Trademark and Patent Office link appears not to work, but the serial number for KY is 71015387 and the registration number 54,124. I’ll try to change the link once more, but if it doesn’t work, try punching in the numbers if you’re interested.


2 Responses to “KY: For sex or surgery?”

  1. Dan said

    Interesting. But do they still use basically the same formula? Or is it a totally different substance. Not to get all freelance writer-y on you here, but it sounds like there’s a good article, maybe for one of the gay magazines, about a) the history of KY (pointing out that they’re lying about their history), and b) the science of lubes. What are the differences between the major brands, and why does KY suck?

  2. Jonathan said

    Let me see what I can figure out. And we’ll see if further investigation (and possibly an article) is warranted.

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