Improving Pleasure While Preserving Health
Jul 2013 09

Although their design hasn’t changed in centuries, condoms are cheap and effective contraceptives that offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Yet, most people do not like using them for several frequently cited reasons including, decreased sexual pleasure. To help solve this problem, Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health announced a $100,000 grant that will be awarded to an inventor of the “next generation condom”. The “next generation condom” will aim to prevent pregnancies and protect against STDs like HIV, but will also increase condom desirability by enhancing pleasure and preserving sensation. How challenging can this be?

So far, numerous innovative ideas have surfaced for the appealing “next generation condom”. Models, like Pleasure Plus and Twisted Pleasure, which looks like the swirl of a soft-serve ice cream, addressed complaints of tightness and friction of current condoms. This new model is designed with extra space which is intended to be stimulating. Another great idea is the spray-on condom. In this invention, liquid latex is applied to create a condom that fits the shape of each man. Ideally, men would feel like they don’t have anything on while using it. But where would the semen go and how do you get it off afterwards? One promising design aimed at the “donning problem” and currently available in South Africa, is the Pronto 4: Secs condom. Held by a plastic applicator, this condom takes about 4 seconds to put on making it easy and convenient. Closer to home in the U.S., a new silicone condom, Origami condom, designed with accordion-like pleats, loose to allow movement inside, easy to don, and meant to feel more like skin is currently undergoing clinical trials.

The Gates Foundation contest also welcomed designs for female condoms, which have historically been less popular. Innovations have focused on providing discreet ways for women to carry condoms, including containers that look like breath mint boxes and jewelry inspired brooches.

Condoms are subject to a wide array of likes and dislikes. While some people want it clear so that it feels as though there is nothing there, others want special features like a vibrating condom. But what do you guys think?  How would you design the “next generation condom”? Keep in mind that it has to improve pleasure while improving public health.

For more information on this topic, please see original article http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/getting-men-to-want-to-use-condoms/?ref=health&_r=0

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