Condoms: they are not perfect. A condom’s job is basically to be there without seeming like it’s there. It’s the most important thing in your sexual life, in a way, and you never want to actually have to acknowledge it exists in the moment. Condoms are the character actors of the sex world, doing great work, never getting the love and credit they deserve. Condoms are John C. Reilly.
But guess what! Bill Gates, Rich Person, has decided to donate lots of money toward making condoms better, because even the best ones kinda suck. As the New York Times reports, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored a contest to design a better condom – you know, one that men would be more inclined to use. Out of the 812 entries, the Foundation chose 11 preliminary winners, each of whom received $100,000. They’re all up for another $1,000,000 once their designs move further.
And these ideas. Oh, these ideas. Worried about reliving that moment of pure, feral panic when you realize the condom broke? Try the beef tendon condom, an “ultrasensitive reconstituted collagen condom” made out of the animal product and apparently strong enough to withstand a whole day’s worth of pulling and stretching. Prefer a tighter, more personalized fit? Check the super-thin polyethylene condom that “clings like Saran wrap,” or a polyurethane sheath that conforms to your member’s unique shape “like an extra layer of skin.” Constantly confused about how to slide that rubber on (or, always wanted a condom that works like a Chelsea boot)? One team added pull tabs to the condom, to make it easier to use in the dark. The Huffington Post also reports on developers working with graphene, “the world’s thinnest, strongest, and most conductive material,” which could combine tactile strength and extra sensation in a single, er, package.
The Foundation hasn’t yet said when it will announce the winners of all that extra cash. But, for now, I have some ideas for how to improve condoms, too. Bill, Melinda, are you listening?
- Implant a tiny speaker in condoms that would call out to dudes from inside their nightstands with reminders to wrap it up. “Hey, I’m right here. Don’t pretend you don’t know me.” British accents might seem even more convincing. “What’s all this, then?”
- Instead of condoms that are merely “ribbed for her pleasure,” condoms that include map to the clitoris right inside the package.
- A condom that somehow stops people from having sex with Chris Brown.
Image via Veer