A recent study of 10 years of data from 21 American cities revealed that condom use among men who have sex with men has declined about 40 percent, and it’s not because of PrEP use (the decline predates widespread PrEP availability). Sadly, the study didn’t ask why gay and bi men prefer condomless sex, though we imagine reduced sexual stimulation might be a reason. If so, we found three modern condom designs that could help with that… and explain why they probably won’t reverse the trend anytime soon.
The Origami Condom
The Origami Condom (which is not made out of folded paper cranes, sadly) promised hypoallergenic material (goodbye latex allergies!) and greater stimulation with its looser, accordion-style fit. The sleeve slides up and down the penis rather than clinging to it like Saran Wrap. There was even going to be an anal-version that bottoms could insert long before intercourse, but sadly the entire concept is on hold after the company’s founder got accused of embezzling government development funds. Now their website doesn’t even lead anywhere. Ugh.
In 2013, researchers at the University of Wollongong seemed poised to released a revolutionary new condom: one made from a hydrogel polymer that was wet, soft, self-lubricating and would provide more natural sensation. Furthermore, it was also going to be completely biodegradable and capable of delivering electrical stimulation or Viagra to the boner — hot damn! Sign us up!
They’d developed the condom using funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (when you think of sex, think of Bill and Melinda Gates!). But sadly, the entire project has been held up by the long and costly Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process, a process which ensures that the condoms are safe, effective and deliver their other promised benefits, something that can take a decade and millions of dollars to do.
Galactic Cap condom
Imagine a condom that leaves the penis’ shaft and most of the head completely uncovered for maximum stimulation. That’s the design behind the Galactic Cap condom. Apply some FDA-approved “polyurethane adhesive film” around the tip of your penis (even days before you fuck), stick on the “Galactic Cap” and let the natural sensations take you away! It’s basically a dick-tip reservoir for collecting semen, and while it looks weird, it’s certainly got our attention.
The two downsides: it doesn’t prevent skin-on-skin sexually transmitted illnesses like HPV, herpes and syphilis and it costs $25!!! In fact, quantities are sold out, so if you want one, you’ll have to wait at least two-weeks for a back-order. Geez.
What about women?
A 2010 study revealed that women only use condoms about 25 percent during insertive vaginal intercourse. Nevertheless, there is a device called “The Ring” that allows women to put a rubbery, “cookie-sized” ring into their vaginas and leave it there while it releases anti-HIV medication over the next month. Because it’s discrete and non-toxic, women can insert and leave it in without any mess or fuss.
There’s also films and gels that could help protect women from HIV, but some of these (including The Ring) are awaiting commercial approval. So for the time being, looks like we’ll have to stick with old-fashioned condoms. So much for futuristic sex!