A Glimpse At The Future Of Condom Technology

If biomedical researchers are successful, today’s condoms may become quaint relics of the past. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a bundle of grants (beginning at $100,000 and increasing to $1,000,000) to a variety of different research teams. The purpose of the research is to look for ways to bring condoms into line with 21st century technology, and enlist them in the fight against disease and overpopulation.

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Gates:  condoms are on his mind

The venerable condom, which has been around in one form or another for over 400 years, is long overdue for an overhaul. For centuries, animal skins were the preferred condom material. With the adoption of latex in the mid-20th century, standards became more or less frozen for decades. New ideas are desperately needed.

Some of the more cutting-edge proposals have a good chance of general acceptance, as they hold out the possibility of enhancing the sexual experience while sacrificing nothing in the way of safety. Surveys have consistently shown that men want a condom that is (1) easy to put on, and (2) is as close to unprotected sex as possible. The Gates Foundation rightly recognized that the biggest roadblock to condom use is the decrease in pleasure felt by both men and women. After much study, trial, and experimentation, the 11 different research teams have advanced the following ideas.

1. Female condoms that use air pressure as an aid to insertion, or that have advanced “ribbing” in the interior for increased stimulation.

2. Replacing the classic latex condom with a condom made from “hydrogel.”  Hydrogel is a synthetic material that is supposed to feel more like flesh than latex. Hydrogel can also be permeated with lubricants, stimulants, and anti-disease chemicals for added effectiveness. One type of hydrogel condom has even been developed that has an antioxidant that enhances male sexual pleasure.

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Hydrogel materials may revolutionize condom design

3. Super-thin condoms that will be vastly thinner than the standard latex condom. The super-thin condoms would also be stronger and more flexible than the current latex types.

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Condom warriors: but who gets to field test? 

4. Human-skin mimicry. Modern technology will be used to engineer condoms that have the same properties as highly-textured human skin. These condoms will also be infused with nitric oxide, a chemical supposedly able to stimulate arousal in both men and women. Nitric oxide supposedly could assist in promoting erectile function.

5.  A “unisex” internal condom that could be used by both men and women. It could also be used for both vaginal and anal intercourse. Until now, the traditional condom has never technically been “approved” for safety during anal sex.

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The unisex condom:  looks like an accordion, feels like one too

6. One group has focused on devising faster and easier ways of putting on a condom. The best idea here seems to be a condom that would be put on much like a “Band-Aid” strip. One prototype can be put on using only one hand, and in less than two seconds (the “Zeus Ultra-Sensitive Instant-On”).

7. One team in India has focused on developing an “eco-friendly” condom that would be less harmful to the environment. This “green” condom, because of its biodegradable qualities, would supposedly get wider distribution in urban areas.

Readers will have to decide for themselves as to which of the proposals above has the best chance of wide adoption. My personal opinion is that the focus should be on: (1) the super-thin types of condoms, combined with a faster and improved method of putting it on; and (2) the “hydrogel” type of condom that mimics human skin and can be permeated with liquids or other substances. I don’t see any future in a “green” condom; the last thing that men will be thinking about in the heat of the moment is whether something is environmentally friendly.

Looking at the proposals above, one can see the increased level of attention being paid to the female condom. Invented in 1987 by Danish doctor Lasse Hessel, it was long the red-headed stepchild of the prophylactic world. It first made its appearance in the US in 1993 to decidedly mixed reaction. The first prototype was a long polyurethane pouch, with flexible rings on either end as an aid to stability once inserted into the vaginal canal.

For years, the female condom went nowhere. Women hated the idea of it, and most men never knew it existed.  ven today, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has even seen a female condom.

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The female condom:  facing an uphill battle

There were good reasons for the female condom’s unpopularity. Critics have cited the high cost of the condom (about five times as much as the standard condom), and the excessive regulatory hurdles that had to be overcome with such a unique product. But cultural reasons played a role as well. The female condom depended on women taking the initiative in safe sex, and this was a role that most (Western) women were unwilling to assume.

The device did enjoy some success in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. From 2007 to 2010, the number of female condoms distributed globally rose from 25 million to 50 million. For all its faults, the female condom has found a niche.

Why was the female condom more popular in the Third World than in the West?  The likely reason is that in many traditional societies, men simply refuse to use condoms. In some places in sub-Saharan Africa, a female’s insistence that a male wear a condom can lead to domestic violence. With these realities, there is an obvious incentive for women in poorer countries to take their own initiatives in matters of sexual hygiene.

But as discussed above, some of the current research being done is focusing on ways to enhance the appeal of the female condom.  My personal opinion is that such efforts will not amount to much in the West. The increased cost of the female condom, their requirement for female initiative in their use, and their lack of availability will ensure their marginalization for the foreseeable future.

Research efforts are better expended on improving the standard male condom, which, for better or for worse, is likely to be with us for another 400 years.  The sexual urge is probably the strongest of all human urges, and any attempt to improve condom engineering must take this truth into account. Social truths also need to be taken into account. Western women have (at this point) rejected the female condom, preferring to leave prophylactic initiatives in the hands of men. It is unlikely that any amount of marketing will change this.

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44 thoughts on “A Glimpse At The Future Of Condom Technology”

      1. Actually, the birth control pill already somewhat plays that role… ironically.
        While women are on the pill their bodies are tricked into thinking they are pregnant. Pregnant women are not attracted to bad-boy psycho alphas because they could bring conflict to the environment and harm the fetus.
        Thus, women on the pill are typically more attracted to beta-males because beta-males are more focused on acquiring resources and creating safe and stable environments.
        Ok this isn’t exactly a suppressant to hypergamy… a cheating woman is a cheating woman… but she probably wouldn’t experience the same kind of instinctive and urgent desire for the guy who appears to just not give a fuck. She might actually experience appreciation that someone gives a shit about her.
        This effect of the birth control pill has been cited as a possible stress on marriage because women sometimes go off or on the pill after marriage… all the sudden she doesn’t feel the same way about her husband and you know the rest…

  1. Gates family is fighting with ‘overpopulation’, sad..
    I wont be using theirs condoms cause they could destroy your capability to produce healthy sperm and when you want to have baby and go raw it would be impossible.. nowadays condoms are some sort of dangerous too beacause overusing them could destroy your immunology system on your penis and you will have to use them even for bjs if you want be healthy [just theory]
    I dont think that condoms moistened with chemicals are good for you and your partner.
    Whats your thoughts?

    1. Yes, because going raw won’t risk destroying your entire immune system either (coughhuman immunodeficiency viruscough).

    2. I don’t think that condoms lubricated with chemicals are nearly as risky for you as the STDs or potential pregnancy you are exposing yourself to if you go without a condom.

    3. lol you dont have a dick immune system, just like you dont have a brain immune system or arm immune systems. its one big thing. covering your dick and saying its making you more susceptible to diseases is like covering a finger and saying youre more susceptible to the common cold.

    4. >nowadays condoms are some sort of dangerous too beacause overusing them could destroy your immunology system on your penis and you will have to use them even for bjs if you want be healthy [just theory]
      what the fuck are you talking about?
      As long as men and women are no longer having monogamous relationships you are going to be a STD riddled cadaver if you go it raw dog all the time.
      Sure no condom is the ideal but the kinds of women that are around nowadays you are taking your life into your own hands if you dont wrap it up

    5. let’s all take a few moments out of our day and waste our time trying to explain how things work to this moron. aaaaannd go…….

    6. Are you crazy? There are no side effects to condoms and they don’t do anything to your sperm. Where do you get such lunatic ideas?

  2. He needs to do large tribal ones and promote them to African Men. Tribal condom challenge: Can you roll it all the way? As soon as it’s a symbol of masculinity to wear them, them Africans will be shooting each other to get their hands on them.

        1. Yep, that’s about it. Now you just need to set up some factories in Africa where they can make American versions.
          It’s a win-win. We can pay slave wages (they prefer being treated like slaves), and can help stop them breeding so much. Can maybe make a special Ebola lubricant as a bonus.

  3. I wish they had birth control pills for men.
    Like how some BC pills improve women bio-chemically, perhaps it would help increase testosterone, etc.

    1. Well there once was research into using testosterone as a contraceptive but it proved unreliable. Also it usually needs to be injected.

  4. Just make sure your fuckbuddy doesn’t poke holes in them.
    On a side note: When the fuck does the male pill come out?

  5. I’m all for better condom alternatives, but they’ll STILL never be as good as the real thing.
    If you’re a guy, ask yourself if you really need to wear one anyway. If you are STD free you don’t have much to worry about, since most are harmless. The only one that isn’t is HIV/AIDS, which is pretty much impossible to receive from a woman. So if you are a straight male who doesn’t use drugs with needles, you have a 99% chance of never getting AIDS. The other STDS aren’t fun obviously, but they’ll only have you out of the game for a few weeks at most. And just look for sores on the woman’s cooch and you’ll reduce the chances even more.
    For most dudes, condoms only need to be used as pregnancy prevention, and if that’s the case then why do we ALL need to sacrifice pleasure when women can just take a pill? Shit, if I could take the pill I would. They’re all on it anyway, and my dick is clean so far, so condoms are just an annoying obstacle for me. Maybe my mind will change later.

    1. You’re taking a true fact (that homosexual men are more likely to get HIV than heterosexual men) and exaggerating it to the point of silliness. Of course you can get HIV from a woman. You think all those men in Africa with HIV were fiddling boys?
      And about other STDs, they’re definitely harmful. Hepatitis is not fun. Syphilis can also fuck you up bad. Even worse than HIV can.

  6. An Australian company named Ansell will be releasing condoms coated with a gel that kills some STD bacteria and viruses. The gel is already used in Japan. Australia will be next. Not sure if the FDA has approved them yet. You can always buy online though.

  7. Off-topic but a fascinating new study confirms what we all have come to suspect. Feminist women are psychologically masculinized by high testosterone levels in the womb.
    http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01011/pdf
    Abstract
    The feminist movement purports to
    improve conditions for women, and yet only a minority of women in modern
    societies self-identify as feminists. This is known as the feminist
    paradox. It has been suggested that feminists exhibit both physiological
    and psychological characteristics associated with heightened
    masculinization, which may predispose women for heightened
    competitiveness, sex-atypical behaviors, and belief in the
    interchangeability of sex roles. If feminist activists, i.e. those that
    manufacture the public image of feminism, are indeed masculinized
    relative to women in general, this might explain why the views and
    preferences of these two groups are at variance with each other. We
    measured the 2D:4D digit ratios (collected from both hands) and a
    personality trait known as dominance (measured with the Directiveness
    scale) in a sample of women attending a feminist conference. The sample
    exhibited significantly more masculine 2D:4D and higher dominance
    ratings than comparison samples representative of women in general, and
    these variables were furthermore positively correlated for both hands.
    The feminist paradox might thus to some extent be explained by
    biological differences between women in general and the activist women
    who formulate the feminist agenda.

  8. Notice how women have a firm advantage on child birth. Outside of prevention (i.e. condoms), men do not have access to the male equivalent of ‘the pill’, and they have zero say in abortions. Talk of the next generation of condoms is interesting, but what would be best is control of child birth itself, not just prevention of impregnation, but actual fertility control and rights to birth decisions.
    However, I doubt that there will be such a shift in the near future. This is not because men do not want control over child birth, rather, there is a lot of vested interest in keeping men out of receiving child birth empowerment. Alimony settlements give law firms huge amounts of revenue. Child welfare gives governments an argument for an increase in taxation and their power. Domestic abuse (which can now be as little as ‘finanacial abuse’, which involves denying a woman money) helps make the case for more police and more money spent on the police department. There is so much wealth that can be generated by keeping men helpless like this, and also by letting women have all the power.
    “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” – Lord Acton

  9. The sheer idiocy of the indoctrinati just never ceases to amaze me….
    What do these yahoos think will happen, when one half of the population (the one they identify with as “their” part) take heed of this nonsense and start fighting “overpopulation” in this manner?
    While the other half just work as hard as they can at getting as many kids as God will give them, and teach those kids to be soldiers in the war against the the condomists?
    Despite a century of near universal publicly funded indoctrination, isn’t there some basic understanding left, that developing and distributing the means of ethnosuicide, is a rather self limiting and ultimately futile endeavor?

  10. “The female condom depended on women taking the initiative in safe sex, and this was a role that most (Western) women were unwilling to assume”
    Right. A lot of the women I know enjoy STDs and unplanned pregnancies. .

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