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New in Clue: Our sex tracking icons got a makeover

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This week we released a special update to Clue. If you take a look at the sex tracking section, you might spot something different: new icons for protected and unprotected sex.


Why the change?

The original icons were designed to be humorous, and some people reached out to us to say they liked the “guy in the tie” icon for protected sex.

But we also had many people contacting us to say the icon was sexist and heteronormative. While we always felt that ties are unisex and the icon didn’t necessarily represent a guy, people told us they felt it implied that if you’re using Clue, you’re probably having sex with a man. This is not true for many people who use Clue.

So we decided to update the icons, and make them more gender-neutral, in keeping with the rest of our design. We are continually working to improve Clue, and this is just one part of that.


The design journey

Katrin Friedmann, the Creative Director at Clue, reflected on the design process.

“Our first thought was, ‘What if we take out all the fun and just make it really graphic?’ So we drew three X’s and then put them inside a rectangle to show ‘protected’. It looked cool but it was also boring and too abstract.

And then the Clue designers all sat together and we came up with the idea of showing the feet of two people having sex — of course, maybe it’s not always two people! To show protection, we tried a shield icon, but it’s a very hard symbol that could be unclear or even triggering for some people. So that wasn’t optimal.

Next Hans Raffauf (our COO) came up with the idea of using a motorcycle helmet in the open and closed position. But that also could come across as a bit manly, even if plenty of women—including our CEO Ida Tin—ride motorbikes. Then I was scrolling through the internet and thought about flip flops, and I think it was Ida who came up with the idea of rubber boots. When you think about some of our other icons like the peach (good skin) and the cactus (dry skin), that is what we are moving towards in terms of design: humor, but with emotional intelligence. After many discussions and polls within the team, we decided on the flip flops and rubber boots. I really like it, I think it fits Clue very well.”

Why track sex?

Tracking sex allows you to notice patterns in your sex drive in relation to your cycle. For example, around fertile days, you may experience greater sexual desire and motivation (1). In particular, if you’re planning for pregnancy, keeping track of your sexual activity will allow you to accurately identify potential dates of conception. Regardless of your choices, Clue can help you understand when you’re most likely to get pregnant. (However, Clue by itself should not be used to avoid pregnancy.)

How to track sex in Clue

“Sex” can refer to many different types of activities, including oral sex, masturbation, “penis in vagina”, anal sex and more. For you “protected” could mean protection against pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or both. The most important thing is to be consistent in the way you track.

If the type of sex you are having means you have zero chance of getting pregnant, but you want to be aware about possible STI transmission, then you can use “protected” for when you used a condom or other barrier, and “unprotected” for when you went without. This information can be a useful reference for your next sexual health check up.

What do you think about the new icons? Let us know via Twitter.

Download Clue to track sex, your cycle, and more.

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