Established in 2013, XSHY is a social venture business which aims to create a culture of safe sex culture in Korea. The name XSHY signifies “not shy,” indicating that people should not shy away from issues of sexuality and sexual practice. The business started when Park Jin-ah, the current Chief Marketing Officer of XSHY, was offered to start a social venture business by her high school classmate, who had already been starting safe sex campaigns on his SNS.
“I was always interested in the field of sexuality such as gender inequality and sex education,” Park said. “I looked back at my childhood and realized that I had never gotten a proper sex education, so it was difficult for me to absorb so much information when I encountered the sex culture first-hand after becoming an adult. So I decided to start a social venture business to become a guide for teenagers.”
XSHY generally focuses on conducting campaigns for sex education for teenagers and young adults. Other than teaching contraception, it is also trying to solve the dangers of unhealthy and distorted sexual practice such as rape, abortion and teen pregnancy.
For teenagers, XSHY manages its own website and Facebook page. They provide posts and articles on the current status of sex culture. The most recent post was about how silence does not equal consent, and that people have to clearly voice their opinions on whether they want to have sexual intercourse or not. Through these online channels, teenagers are able to ask any question about sex in general to XSHY. Moreover, XSHY provides a program called “French-Letter,” where teenagers, who often have difficulty buying condoms, could send requests for free condoms.
“Once, I got a reply from a teenager who received free condoms from the program,” Park said. “He said that thanks to XSHY, he was able to engage in safe sexual intercourse, and wanted to work in businesses that also help to create a healthy sex culture. It was a rewarding moment for me.”
For adults, XSHY runs an online condom shopping mall. They were prevented from providing the same service to teenagers because to purchase sex related items online, one has to go through an adult authentication system by law. XSHY specializes its own business by providing unique packaging. All condoms bought from XSHY are delivered in a white box with a blushed face on it. That way the product inside is disguised, which induces consumers to buy their product. With such adorable packaging, XSHY was able to attract many female customers.
“Our condom business serves far more female consumers than other businesses with our packaging,” Park said. “Around 40 to 50 percent of our consumers consist of women, whereas it is only around 10 to 20 percent in other condom businesses.”
Since it has many female consumers, XSHY plans to expand its business by targeting women. Its next step is to create its own condom brand.
“We have named our condom ‘Eve’ to shed new light on female consumers who have been neglected in the condom market,” Park said. “Unlike the condoms that are currently available, Eve will exclude any of the substances that are harmful to health.”
The packaging of the condoms will provide the following information: according to Korean law, everyone is allowed to buy condoms regardless of sex or age.
“In Korean culture, buying condoms in public is a difficult job, as people consider the behavior somewhat shameful,” Park said. “Therefore, it takes a lot of courage for teenagers to buy condoms, and when they get rejected, it is very unlikely for them to try to buy them again. Any traumatic experiences regarding buying condoms will lead to a lower rate of safe sex. We have decided to put the particular sentence on the packaging so that both the seller and the buyer are aware of the fact that everyone is legally allowed to buy condoms.”
XSHY will continue to strive to implement a safe sex culture for teenagers and young adults.