Rubbers are in the news, and the childfree may well want to pay attention. Not only are condoms one of the most reliable, affordable and convenient ways to preserve your childfree choice, but if Microsoft strongman Bill Gates has his way, next generation condoms will also be one of the sexiest (and most enjoyable) ways to avoid pregnancy.
Here’s the problem.
Most men prefer sex without a condom, but the risks of not using one are disproportionately borne by women. That’s a big problem. (SodaHead)
But that first part, the part about men preferring to skinny dip, that might be changing soon. Bill Gates will pay you $100K to dream up a sexier condom that men will choose to wear because it enhances protected intercourse.
This winning idea would need to be a condom design that doesn’t reduce sexual pleasure for either party, and if possible, makes it more pleasurable than if you didn’t use one. (SodaHead)
As ABC News put it, “Bill Gates’ latest project gives a whole new meaning to the old Microsoft slogan, ‘Your potential. Our Passion.’ The Microsoft founder and its former CEO is getting out of software and into, er, hardware.” Forgive me. I couldn’t resist including that. There’s something about condoms — whether old school rubbers or “next generation condoms” — that tend to make men a little squirrely when we talk about them. We love them. We hate them.
$100,000 Condom Challenge
Some clever sheafmeister may be headed to the bank soon if he can figure out a way to invent a next generation condom that makes intercourse so much more enjoyable that men the world over will prefer to use it than skip it. Great concept, Mr. Gates. And that $100,000 is just the door prize. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a lot more loot ready to transform ideas into sex toys. Er, contraception and HIV prevention supplies.
The estimated 80 grant recipients can then apply for a follow-up grant worth up to $1 million. (ABC News)
Intriguing, transform condoms from necessary inconvenience to smart sexual enhancement gadgets that just happen to also prevent pregnancy and the transmission of disease. It’s a compelling concept. Here’s the way Bill and Melinda talk about the future of man’s other best friend.
What if we could develop a condom that would provide all the benefit of our current versions, without the drawbacks? Even better, what if we could develop one that was preferred to no condom? […] The idea of a condom that men would prefer to no condom is a revolutionary idea, but we know more today about sexual function than at any time in the past, and advances in relevant disciplines such as neuroscience, vascular biology, urology, reproductive biology, materials science, and other fields can contribute to new and unconventional approaches. (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Impatient Optimists)
Is this pie in the sky carrot dangling or is the Gates Foundation propelling innovation toward a realistic, deliverable objective? Well, it turns out that at least one forward thinking company is already working on next generation condom prototypes. It turns out that Marina del Rey based ORIGAMI Condoms™ is independently working on a similar project.
Three patented silicone condoms, invented by Danny Resnic of Los Angeles, CA, began their US clinical trials in the fall of 2011, with funding from the National institutes of Allergies and Infectious Disease, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (ORIGAMI Condoms)
And if you thought that $1ooK with a possibility of $1 million follow-up funding from the Gates Foundation was good, listen to this.
Generous NIH funding totaling nearly USD $3,100,000 has supported the company’s R&D and three Phase I clinical trials. An additional USD $3,000,000 of NIH funding is anticipated for 3 large scale Phase II clinical trials of the ORIGAMI Condoms™… (ORIGAMI Condoms)
So what’s so innovative about ORIGAMI Condoms™ that explains such significant investment so far? Take a look at this video to see what they’re working on.
Still with me? Good. Because I’ve saved the best for last.
Makin’ Bacon Condoms
While Bill Gates was offering a small fortune for a condom that “feels good,” the bro-y entrepreneurs at J & D’s were busy creating a condom that tastes like bacon. (Gawker)
You read that right. And sorry, no video for this one. Here’s what Justin and Dave of J&D’s have to say for their effort to trump lambskin sheafs. Or something…
J&D’s Bacon Condoms™ are proudly Made in America of the highest quality latex. Every Bacon Condom has been rigorously tested to help ensure reliability and the utmost safety for when you’re makin’ Bacon. As an added bonus, J&D’s baconlube™ ultra premium water based meat flavored personal lubricant has been generously applied inside and out for an even more hot pork experience. (Bacon Condoms)
As Jenn Harris at the Los Angeles Times asks, “Why did it take so long to put a smoked meat-flavored contraceptive on the market?” Why indeed?
Only time will tell whether or not the next generation condom will remember the ancient art of folded paper or the equally timeless allure of bacon…
Until then, you can rest assured that no hogs were slaughtered to make the bacon condoms:
Don’t worry, though: Bacon condoms only appear to “make your meat look like meat.” The condoms are made of latex, and come coated with the company’s special brand of water-based lube. (Huffington Post)