Daily Apple | Trending health topics © MSN Healthy Living

Condoms of the future

What technology can do for your sex life and global health

By Christine L. Chen Dec 6, 2012 9:51PM

Today, as Washington joins the list of U.S. states that legally recognize same-sex marriage and becomes one of two states to legalize marijuana possession, it’s not a stretch to say Washington has a progressive vision of life in the future.  And, that includes the future of condoms.

University of Washington teams in Seattle just developed a condom  that is made of “nanofabric.”  You don’t just buy that at a fabric store alongside the Project Runway contestants searching for silk or satin, though.  Nanofabric is made when scientists create fibers from liquid inside an electric field, a high-tech process called electrospinning. 

The first of its kind, it’s like a vaginal ring in the sense that it can be inserted into the woman’s body.  But unlike anything else, it dissolves inside and releases preventive drugs.  It can be used alone or with your current contraception to prevent pregnancy and STDs.  That’s a big step up from nonoxynol-9 and latex (no matter how thin).  Researchers say the nanofabric condom might make a big difference in places like Africa, where HIV is common, but that it could also be used to handle contraception challenges here too.

Meanwhile, a Seattle affiliate of Planned Parenthood this year raised the stakes on futuristic condoms with another kind of high-tech condom.  Have you heard of the ones with  QR codes  so people can “check in” and share where they’ve practiced safe sex on wheredidyouwearit.com ?   Also, people can make comments on your check-ins in an interactive map.  Does this qualify as “oversharing“? 

There’s so much stuff going around these days, anything that creates a safer sex environment is a health bonus.  Keep in mind that the Seattle area is in the same league as Silicon Valley for high-tech companies large and small.  The nanofabric condom research was founded, in part, by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Think about it, these futuristic condoms are so innovative, maybe nerd culture just got a little sexier in Washington. 

Who knew that electrospun condoms and coded contraceptives could make healthy sex so exciting?  Hopefully, the condoms won’t be more exciting than the sex itself.

More on Healthy Living:
Social media could boost condom use 
Common STDs and their symptoms
More than 1 in 4 teens has sexted


Dec 6, 2012 11:27PM
They'll just find something wrong with this down the pike like penis's falling off or vagina's gluing shut. Sounds to good to be true and we know how that usually ends.
Dec 7, 2012 1:53AM

Why would ANYONE "check in" on 'Wheredidyouwearit.com?  To brag or give someone else a thrill?  Talk about over-sharing, sheesh.  With all due respect, we all know how to do it and we dont need to know where you did it or any other details about your sex life.  Grow up and learn that some things were meant to be kept PRIVATE.

Dec 6, 2012 11:10PM

Not sure why this is going to change anything.  Groups will say this will corrupt minors, against their religion, or will encourage lustful behavior.  Thanks to groups like this, unplanned pregnancies and STDs will be with us for a very long time.

Dec 6, 2012 11:21PM
I will stick with Trojan Latex Condoms, never had a problem with them.
Dec 7, 2012 1:43AM
great..... it's inserted into the woman's body where it dissolves to release preventive drugs.... yeah, this sounds soooo friggin' pleasurable I can hardly contain myself...
Dec 6, 2012 11:45PM
A million years ago when I was a lad, you got a vasectomy and they clipped a little piece out of your tubes and laminated them under plastic on an ID card. That card got you more action than a Ferrari. Our mailman GOT AROUND.
Dec 7, 2012 12:21AM
It might be funny to see where other people were having sex, but I don't think I'll be sharing that information with anybody.
Dec 6, 2012 11:52PM
Awsome. Intercourse will actually be pleasurable now. Also, the porn industry will have little problem with the condom law in California with these. It will be great to find out how well these stand up to their claims when the porn industry gets a hold of them.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
featured on msn
answers to your health questions
editor's picks
meet our bloggers
About Healthy Living MSN Healthy Living does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information