Living Are Jelly Sex Bracelets Really A Thing? Or Are Parents Freaking Out For No Reason?  

Ann Casano
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If you weren't in school in the early 2000s, you might not know the history behind the jelly sex bracelet trend that had many parents and school officials totally up in arms. Jelly bracelets were inexpensive fashion accessories made famous by '80s pop stars like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, and rumor had it that each color of bracelet indicated a different intimate act. Are jelly sex bracelets a real thing or are they merely an urban legend?

Jelly bracelets became so much more than just a bad reemerging fashion trend. Somehow, somewhere, they gained a racy connotation. But were people really performing the acts, or was it all just a myth perpetuated by the media? Many students warned parents not to believe the hype, insisting that no one actually performs these acts based on the color of a bracelet. Many say that it doesn't matter whether or not the acts are actually being carried out, because they say kids, who in some cases are as young as elementary age, shouldn't be talking about doing the do in the first place. So what exactly does each jelly sex bracelet mean? And should parents be worried, or should they calm down and let their kids don the trendy fashion accessories?

Each Bracelet Color Indicates A Different Intimate Act
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Photo:  Julie Gibbons/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

In the early 2000s, jelly bracelets became known to some as sex bracelets. Each bracelet color had its own special act tied to it:

  • Yellow - hug
  • Purple - kiss
  • Red - intimate dance
  • Blue - oral 
  • Black - intercourse
  • Green - hand fun
  • Clear - person's choice

People reportedly made a game called "Snap" out of the bracelets. If a one person was able to break another's bracelet, then the person with the broken bracelet would have to perform the act associated with the bracelet's color.

Schools Across The Country Banned Jelly Bracelets

In 2003, once word spread that these formerly innocuous jelly bracelets had a whole new meaning, some schools around the country took notice and enacted a ban. For example, Alachua County elementary schools in Florida prohibited students from wearing them. Other schools across the country followed suit. Most of these bans appear to have been enforced after overhearing students talk about the bracelets or after seeing reports about them in the media.

Many middle and high school students are surprised that parents actually believe these cheap, trendy jelly bracelets have "secret codes." 

Jelly Bracelets Came Back In Fashion In 2003 With A Whole New Meaning
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Photo:  Pseph/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Back in the 1980s, almost every young person wore jelly bracelets. Kids and teens would braid them together, wear just one, or don dozens running up the length of their arm. The bracelets didn't signify anything, and they didn't have some special secret code. They were simply fun to wear and super trendy.

Like many fashion trends, jelly bracelets came back in style in 2003. However, they were not simply a trendy fashion statement anymore.

Other Objects Were Imbued With Innuendo In The Past

Twenty years ago, kids had a different version of these bracelets; teens and pre-teens would pull tabs off of soda cans and assign them intimate acts. The tabs had different meanings in different schools; much like the bracelets, various acts were associated with how cleanly the tab was removed.

If the ring on the tab was broken, it indicated a kiss. If the ring wasn't broken, however, it could be redeemed for intercourse in some cases, or for oral in others.