A team of researchers at Boston University has filed a patent for their newly developed self-lubricating condoms. A study detailing the creation and testing of the condom was recently published in the Royal Society Open journal.
The new condoms were developed as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s competition to design a better condom. The researchers were awarded a $100,000 grant for their research.
The new condoms are made from a rubber developed by the research team that gets slippery when wet. Hydrophilic polymers on the condom’s surface become slick when they come into contact with moisture.
The majority of participants who were involved in the study preferred the new condom over those currently available. The coating kept the condom slippery longer than regular lubricants. The researchers say their new condom is good for “1,000 thrusts,” while typical intercourse lasts for between 100 and 500 thrusts.
This is a considerable improvement over the lubricated condoms currently available in stores, as the lubrication tends to wear off quickly during sexual activity. Without enough lubrication, condoms may break or slip.
The team says their self-lubricating condoms may help increase condom use. Only about one third of men in the US use them. Previous research has shown that pain and reduced sensation are common reasons why people don’t use condoms.
If used correctly, condoms act as a barrier to protect users from sexually transmitted infections. In 2017, nearly 2.3 million sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in the US. Condoms are also 98 percent effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies.
More work is needed before the new condoms become commercially available. The study size was small, just 33 people, and the new condoms have yet to be tested during sex. Researchers hope to start a clinical trial soon.