"But building a perfect condom is more complicated than he thought."
April 2, 2015 11:00 AM   Subscribe

The Tyranny of the Ill-Fitting, Foul-Smelling, Passion-Deflating, No-Fun Latex Condom
We Should Have a Better Condom by Now. Here’s Why We Don’t.
posted by andoatnp (40 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite


 
Was glad to see the article mention Skyn condoms, which are far and away the best condoms I've ever encountered.

Also, latex allergies and latex sensitivity is a real thing, and it sucks (I have it), and finding new materials to use for condoms is a good thing.

Also, female condoms work great for anal sex. Getting them in place can be a bit of a trick, but once there, they work well for both bottom and top.
posted by hippybear at 11:08 AM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can't possibly recommend polyurethane Trojan Supras enough. They're everything latex is not.
posted by eamondaly at 11:31 AM on April 2, 2015


I feel a great disturbance in the Internet, as if a million Kickstarters about "disruptive condom technology" just cried out and were suddenly funded.
posted by penduluum at 11:31 AM on April 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


You know... in the article it mentions that people used to reuse lambskin condoms, but that we shouldn't do so. But could there be some way to clean them? Women reuse prophylactics all the time - although, granted, none that are supposed to prevent disease.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:41 AM on April 2, 2015


Ah.

Yes, they can, but it's a bother. The washing part is easy enough... a mild detergent will take care of that. They then need to be dried, but not too dry. Letting them dry completely will cause them to crack, not something you want in a condom.

Storage is the big pain. They need to be kept moist, but not so moist that mold or bacteria grow on them. Keeping them in a saline solution would work, but it can't be too strong a solution else you run into the cracking problem again, this time because the tissue is being denatured. Keeping them in a water-based lubricant may not prevent contamination; nor in a silicone-based lubricant, for that matter. I suppose you could keep them in oil, but that would mean sterilizing the oil and then constantly refreshing it to avoid rancidity which would also denature the tissue.

Re-use made sense when condoms were handmade and cost a considerable amount of money.

posted by showbiz_liz at 11:45 AM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Storage is the big pain. They need to be kept moist, but not so moist that mold or bacteria grow on them. Keeping them in a saline solution would work, but it can't be too strong a solution else you run into the cracking problem again, this time because the tissue is being denatured. ...
I.e., a storage problem similar to that of contact lenses, where the problem is solved by the manufacture of contact lens solution which has just the right salinity, etc.?
posted by clawsoon at 11:57 AM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now I'm imagining a device similar to the ClearCare contact case but huge and with a penis-shaped structure in the middle
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:01 PM on April 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


I feel a great disturbance in the Internet, as if a million Kickstarters about "disruptive condom technology" just cried out and were suddenly funded.

From the article:
"Meanwhile, in 2014 a California inventor raised more than $100,000 on the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to develop the Galactic Cap."

Other available names:
Rubr
LuvGluv
iSheath
posted by Kabanos at 12:03 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


iSheath

That's like so ten years ago. These days it would be maybe... Fuckify.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:17 PM on April 2, 2015 [19 favorites]


Maybe tissue 3D printing technology will allow mad condom scientists to create a condom that is itself a living organism and can take care of the moisturising and bacteria prevention on its own.

The hallmark of an aristocratic family in the 22nd century will be owning a stable of thoroughbred racing condoms.
posted by XMLicious at 12:19 PM on April 2, 2015 [21 favorites]


I.e., a storage problem similar to that of contact lenses, where the problem is solved by the manufacture of contact lens solution which has just the right salinity, etc.?

Yeah, but when I take responsibility for cleaning a contact lens it's my own eye I'm going to be sticking it in.

And I practically never ejaculate into my contact lenses.
posted by howfar at 12:19 PM on April 2, 2015 [45 favorites]


"practically never"

awesome
posted by hippybear at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Durex Avanti was my go-to back when. Non-latex and thinner, but not as expensive as Skyn or the like.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


And I practically never ejaculate into my contact lenses.
posted by how far


eponysterical.
posted by Kabanos at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oh come on now!
posted by howfar at 12:28 PM on April 2, 2015 [14 favorites]


That's like so ten years ago. These days it would be maybe... Fuckify.

It's a little dated, but you could always go for HardlyEvenKnowr.
posted by The Gaffer at 12:29 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Come on what?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:29 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's curious and does seem kind of typical of hype-centric tech writing that this doesn't mention any of the Japanese brands, like Kimono or Beyond Seven, that have improved the latex product by making thinner condoms more reliable. That bias toward "disruption" and "revolutionary" technology really can sometimes blind you to how significant incremental but cumulative progress can be.
posted by RogerB at 12:33 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Come on what?

Eileen
posted by thelonius at 12:44 PM on April 2, 2015 [33 favorites]


Maybe tissue 3D printing technology will allow mad condom scientists to create a condom that is itself a living organism and can take care of the moisturising and bacteria prevention on its own.

The right kind of scanning device and your own printer (and probably a lot of free time), you can have them custom-made for your junk. And experiment with versions with the various bumps and ridges your partner might prefer.

In fact, in the future, your partners will message you the specs for their preferred bumps and ridges and then you can download them into your scanner, out pops the perfectly sized, perfectly shaped condom for your mutual funtimes.

Equally beneficial to the joke industry, a million new "the printer jammed at just the wrong moment!" jokes are born.
posted by emjaybee at 12:49 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


It'll never take off, as many men are not usually comfortable or particularly interested in factual information when it comes to certain measurements.

see also astronaut pee sleeves
posted by poffin boffin at 12:51 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eileen

Eyes see what you did there.
posted by ostranenie at 12:56 PM on April 2, 2015


Also: cumulative process.

Cumulative.
posted by ostranenie at 12:57 PM on April 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


It'll never take off, as many men are not usually comfortable or particularly interested in factual information when it comes to certain measurements.

Same problem as with dress measurements for women. The solution is the same: Sizes. Not measurements. Over the years, sizes inflate. (Or would they deflate?)
posted by clawsoon at 12:59 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


A fully prosthetic penis with a disposable pre-lunricated outer shell and full neural interface. Shells come in a variety of colors and may be primed with a growing selection of more than 40 different lunricants, and a variety of hardness, textures and size settings. And internal vibrator also is available along with a feature called load augmentation that can change viscosity, flavor and acidity of a man's cum to improve contraception or make oral sex more pleasant.
posted by humanfont at 1:21 PM on April 2, 2015


It'll never take off, as many men are not usually comfortable or particularly interested in factual information when it comes to certain measurements.

Nobody's going to know except the machine. If you like it can be programmed to say "OMG that's the biggest one I've ever seen!" when you get scanned.
posted by emjaybee at 1:31 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nobody's going to know except the machine. If you like it can be programmed to say "OMG that's the biggest one I've ever seen!" when you get scanned.

“Gosh your big, you’re so big. My goodness, look at you!”

“Fill me up, Chandler. Put it in me!”

posted by andoatnp at 1:39 PM on April 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


“Both women and men mentioned disliking the smell, taste, feeling, inconvenience, and sense of wastefulness of condoms.”

Also, the goddamn motherfucking nonoxynol-9. I know you can get condoms without it, but why is this skin-irritating, UTI-causing shit even allowed to be used on condoms at all, since it does not increase their effectiveness for contraception or preventing STD transmission, but does shorten their shelf-life?
posted by desuetude at 2:02 PM on April 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think you answered your own question there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:12 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Same problem as with dress measurements for women. The solution is the same: Sizes. Not measurements. Over the years, sizes inflate. (Or would they deflate?)

I once read about the TheyFit condoms the article discusses. If I recall correctly, each of the 55 different sizes was assigned a unique, non-sequential alphanumeric code to make it extremely difficult to tell, from the condom label alone, how any given penis compared to others.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:51 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Back in the mid-'90s I saw a documentary that wasn't specifically about condoms, but at one point there were interviewing an elderly gent and he was talking about how young guys these days complained about having to use them, and how they didn't know how good they had it. Then he produced for the camera some sort of monstrous antique reusable condom that looked like a shed snakeskin and bellowed "Look at what WE had to use!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:44 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


nice humblebrag there, gramps
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:58 PM on April 2, 2015


That's like so ten years ago. These days it would be maybe... Fuckify.

Is bonr too 5 years ago?

It's curious and does seem kind of typical of hype-centric tech writing that this doesn't mention any of the Japanese brands, like Kimono or Beyond Seven, that have improved the latex product by making thinner condoms more reliable.

These were the ones my high school gave out for free. We all hated them. They were stored correctly in the cool dark dungeon of an office(and science classroom) and never expired, since they got taken so quickly, but they broke way too often even just when you were putting them on. And were just generally too tight/uncomfortable.

It made me realize shitty condoms are worse than no available condoms, because it puts people off using them in general.

Quite a few of us just started spending our budget for arizona tea and taquitos at the adjacent minimart on trojans or durex eventually.
posted by emptythought at 4:22 PM on April 2, 2015


When we finally switched to non-latex the first moment of trial I made this odd noise, and my partner was concerned so I explained.

"It doesn't sting."

Then he was even more concerned that for all the times we'd used condoms, I'd been in this state of low-level vaginal and vulval stinging.
posted by geek anachronism at 6:36 PM on April 2, 2015


That's like so ten years ago. These days it would be maybe... Fuckify.

Fuckify no
posted by threeants at 7:54 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a really interesting article. I know one guy ho says he likes condoms, but otherwise when the subject comes up people talk about not liking them. We need more invention and engineering, not more hectoring and guilt.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:53 PM on April 2, 2015


The solution is the same: Sizes.

From smallest to largest, they would be called:

Too Big
Huge
Enormous
Gargantuan
Terrifying
Apocalypse
posted by soundguy99 at 11:18 PM on April 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


The bit about They Fit condoms is completely infuriating.

Condoms that are too large have a nasty habit of slipping off mid-coitus, completely obviating the safe part of safe sex. Meanwhile, condoms that are too small strangle erections until the sex part of safe sex is somewhere between unpleasant and impossible.

Penises come in different sizes. Condoms should, too. Creating a list of standardized condom sizes and tolerances seems like one of the easiest things that the ASTM could take on, especially given the crazy range of things for which they create standards.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:00 AM on April 3, 2015


What about some kind of insta-drying liquid you just dip johnny in before going at it, like a chocolate-covered strawberry?

Talk about perfect fit.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:42 AM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


What about some kind of insta-drying liquid you just dip johnny in before going at it, like a chocolate-covered strawberry?

Here you go. And it comes in colors.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:44 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


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