Scientists have given the humble condom a makeover by finding a way to make condoms that become slippery on contact.
The new gen condom, which is backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, uses a special, durable coating that should last throughout sex.
And that’s certainly a topic that needs tackling.
A survey last year revealed that almost half of young people in the UK do not use a condom when sleeping with a new partner, leading to concerns about the spread of STIs.
As one such example a recent report by Public Health England (PHE) revealed that there was a 20 per cent increase in syphilis in 2017.
When used correctly, condoms are a highly effective form of contraceptive, but as the stats above suggest, not everyone uses them.
Without enough lubrication, sex can be painful and condoms can slip or even split.
Though condoms are often already lubricated, this might not be enough for some couples’ comfort.
And while additional lubricant can be added, it isn’t necessarily easy or convenient and some lubricants may impact the condom’s effectiveness.
But scientists believe this new self-lubricating condom, which becomes really slippery once it comes into contact with body fluid, could solve theses issues.
The results of friction tests, revealed in the Royal Society of Open Science Journal showed that when dipped in water, the new material was far more slippery than conventional latex and water, and only slightly less slippery than latex covered in lubricants.
The team also tested how the slipperiness changed over time and found that the self-lubricating condoms remained slippery for the equivalent of 1,000 thrusts during intercourse, or 16 minutes of repeated movement against a skin-like surface.
The latex coated lubricant on the other hand, revealed a “decrease in lubriciousness.”
A group of volunteers were also asked to touch and rate both condoms, and the majority of the 33 men and women rated the self-lubricating one more highly.
Commenting on the findings researcher Prof Mark Grinstaff, from Boston University told BBC: “It feels a bit slimy when you handle it dry, but in the presence of water or natural fluids it becomes really slick. You only need a little bit of fluid to activate it.”
The next step is to test the condom in a real-life settings to see how it, er, performs.
The research team aren’t the only ones working to give condoms an upgrade.
The i:Con has a built-in ability to detect STIs and track sexual performance, as users can download data on everything from the positions practiced to the number of calories burned per session straight to their smartphone.
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