Hydrogel Condoms: The Future of Male Contraceptives?

A little over two years ago, former Microsoft chief Bill Gates declared his ambition to fund research into the next generation of condoms. Aware that many people eschew condoms, claiming comfort and pleasure is curbed by wearing them, Gates aimed to inspire scientists and other interested parties worldwide to come up with an adequate, fun and pleasurable solution.

The first well-publicized breakthrough has come courtesy of Australia’s University of Wollongong (UOW). Their solution? Hydrogels.

Hydrogels are not a new fad, but their use in contraception has not been explored until now. They benefit from durability and flexibility. Scientists at UOW are claiming that their new condoms may even feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. According to Science Alert, hydrogels are the perfect fit for condoms owing to ‘the fact they can be made to feel and act like human tissue, and are already being widely used in prosthetics to create things such as blood vessels and even eye implants.’

The UOW believe that they can capitalize on the versatility of hydrogels and create a contraceptive that can self-lubricate, deliver small doses of Viagra and even conduct electricity.

While the possibilities remain just that for the time being, the work done so far is encouraging and a testament to mankind’s ingenuity when it comes to sex. Lead scientist Robert Gorkin told Science Alert that the next stage is biometric testing.

“We’ll be able to look at brain activity to see whether it really feels better than latex” he said.

“If you make them so pleasurable that people can’t wait to put them on, then more people will use them, and we can hopefully stop the spread of disease. It’s as simple as that.”

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