The Regency Romance Revolution: A New Era of Sexual Health and STI Awareness

Taking the lead from period smashes like Vanity Fair, Pride & Prejudice and Bridgerton, a humorous Regency-themed film has been created after a newly published report from sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook has revealed that condom use among young people is worryingly low, resulting in an alarming rise in STI rates and reflecting the grim reality of bodice-ripping blockbusters on TV.

The steamy antics seen on historical TV blockbusters may suggest consequence-free nights
in pristine mansions, but in fact, sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia were rife.

And a new report by sexual health and wellbeing charity Brook has shown that modern-day
liaisons between young people are eliciting similar results, with condom use on an alarming
decline and STIs rising. To break down the barriers about what is still considered a taboo subject, a new campaign has been created by Leith to show that the threats to sexual health are as real now as they were in times of yore.

Creative agency Leith has created a new campaign to send a strong message that has been
missing from many recent mainstream public health campaigns. In an eye-catching, cheeky film and a series of stunning visuals, Leith has used this new insight to show that the consequences of unsafe sex are not always as romantic as these bonk-buster TV shows and films would suggest.

With sexual wellness still proving to be a taboo subject, Leith has used humour, fresh data and strategic expertise to show that all unprotected sex has risks attached. And what better opportunity to engage with young people than using the fascination for sex-positive, steamy

Regency shows?

You can see the film here:

The work comes hot off the heels of the latest UKHSA data, that shows STI rates continue to soar year on year, particularly among young people. Brook’s new research of more than
2,700 young people shows that nearly half (49%) did not know where to access free condoms, and almost a quarter (24%) did not feel it was important to test themselves for
STIs before unprotected sex. Furthermore, Brook has witnessed a decline in 16-24-year-olds accessing contraception and an increase in emergency contraception use. As a result, this is placing increased demand on sexual health services already under pressure amidst financial constraints from public health cuts and with no clear sexual health strategy.

UKHSA recorded over 400 daily STI diagnoses amongst young people in 2022⅓ of
young people didn’t use a condom the last time they had penetrative sex (of those surveyed by Brook) ⅕ of young people never use a condom during penetrative sex (of those surveyed by Brook).

The new film created by Leith show a decadently dressed lady in Regency-period costume, addressing the camera: “These notorious infections were never cast out of society. In fact… the ‘ton’ is currently rife with them.”

So that we’re reminding viewers that STIs are still ‘out there’, and positioning condoms as
the best way to ward against them so they don’t “ruin all our fun.” At which point a butler
lifts a silver cloche to reveal a pile of Pasante condoms, eliciting a knowing wink from our
gowned beauty.

Pasante’s mission for over 20 years has been and still is to prioritise health and wellbeing by promoting safer sex. Being part of the largest condom maker in the world (Karex), Pasante’s brand provides accessible sexual health products to all.

Justine Wren, marketing Manager at Pasante said: “As the new report shows so starkly, there is a real urgency for young people to realise that unprotected sex can have a serious long-term impact for everyone. The new ad is a great way to break down barriers and talk to young people in a relatable way and give them the help and advice they deserve”.

Isabel Inman, Assistant Director of Communications at Brook said: “Our new data-led insight is a real wake up call. It shows that the lack of investment in sexual health services and public health messaging is failing young people. For 60 years, Brook has been fearlessly standing up and shouting loudly about issues others may consider too risky or taboo, and this new campaign creatively addresses the real-world risks of STIs and gives people the confidence to talk about sexual health in a positive way”.

Debbie Morgan and Mairi Wilson, Creatives at Leith, commented: “Everyone thinks the romance in shows like Bridgerton is red hot, but the reality is it would have left you … well, burning. We wanted to take advantage of this cultural moment to get people to show how important safe sex is. So it seemed like the perfect time for Brook, Pasante and our lady of the manor to restart the conversation.”

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