This Self-Lubricating Condom Will Make Safe Sex More Enjoyable

Volunteers expressed a strong preference for condoms that were

Volunteers expressed a strong preference for condoms that were

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Meet the self-lubricating condom, a protective sheath that takes on a slick and slippery quality in the presence of natural bodily fluids.

Latex is the standard material for condoms, but the synthetic substance is known for being pretty dry - not great considering how condoms are used. Nearly all of them agreed it was better than a normal, non-lubricated condom and many of those who said they never used condoms agreed they would at least try it out.

The results show that 85% of the group said that, after water was applied, the new material was the most slippery, while 73% said they'd prefer to use condoms made of the new material and several participants said it might increase their usage of condoms.

Researchers at Boston University led by Mark Grinstaff addressed these problems by adding a thin polymer coating of moisture-activated molecules that entraps liquid rather than repelling it, as latex does.

The researchers behind the lubricious innovation were supported by funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which challenged scientists to come up with new breakthroughs in condom technology back in 2013.

"Those individuals who don't regularly use a condom because it is uncomfortable or because they don't like it say they would be likely to use a product like this", Grinstaff said. This isn't the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's only venture into birth control - in 2013 it provided grants to 11 companies and individuals hoping to make "the condom of the future", although numerous groups have since stopped working on the projects.

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They came up with a compound that both adhered to latex, and held a thin layer of water.

The study, published Wednesday, showed that the coating kept the condom slippery longer than regular lubricants, which can wear off quickly.

"The strategy renders fluid lubricants unnecessary for delivering a feeling of lubrication, as the latex surface itself is rendered slippery by the surface treatment", the team wrote. That is sufficient to wet the surface of the condom.

Researchers compared the new material with regular latex, as well as latex covered with a water-based lubricant from a bottle.

"The last advance in condom technology is more than 50 years ago, and that was when silicon oil got introduced as a lubricant", said Grinstaff. The company, called Hydroglyde Coatings, plans to start human testing of the new condoms late this year or early next year, Grinstaff said.

Discomfort during intercourse and reduced pleasure - noted by 77 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women in a nation-wide survey in the United States - are often cited as reasons for not using condoms at all.

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