Condoms are a necessary evil; something that sort of sucks, but that you need (listen, children, you need them) to use. But now, they're finally getting an upgrade. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation sponsored a contest to develop the "next generation of condom."
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Condoms aren't as widely used as they should be because, according to the foundation (and people with penises everywhere), "condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom, creating a trade-off that many men find unacceptable." The competition encouraged inventors to come up with a condom that does its duty and keeps sex safe, while still being something that "preserves or enhances pleasure." Revolutionary!
The winning team of scientists walked up with $100,000 for coming up with a self-lubricating condom, which they hope will "increase condom usage among populations that do not consistently use condoms."
As opposed to pre-lubricated condoms, where the lube tends to wear off during sex, the self-lubricating condom includes a specially-designed layer of hydrophilic polymers across its surface. The polymers make the condom slippery when it comes into contact with moisture. And it stays slick: the researchers say the condom works for "1,000 thrusts" (though this condom, like all condoms, is not reusable). Seems like overkill.
A study published in the Royal Society Open Journal detailed how the researchers determined the "frictional performance" of various condoms, using both a machine and human touch. The study included both male and female-identifying subjects, 73% of whom said they preferred the new, self-lubing condom design to any condoms they'd used before. Even those in the study who had never used a condom said they'd give the self-lubing one a shot. We hope this thing makes it to mass-market!
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