Scientists develop new self-lubricating condoms that could encourage safe sex

Use of the self-lubricating condoms could reduce friction-associated pain during sex

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Wednesday 17 October 2018 15:30

Scientists have developed new self-lubricating condoms that they believe could encourage more people to practise safe sex.

The condoms, which have been developed by researchers at Boston University, have been designed with a special, durable coating that becomes slippery when it comes into contact with natural bodily fluids.

The team believes people who are sexually active may feel more inclined to use condoms that have been made using the self-lubricating latex, concluding in a study that the condoms can improve comfort during intercourse.

Last year, a study conducted by YouGov found that almost half of people aged between 16 and 24 who are sexually active don’t use protection when sleeping with a new partner.

However, the number of people using contraception may increase if they're given access to self-lubricating condoms, as the team from Boston University explains.

“Such a coating shows potential to be an effective strategy for decreasing friction-associated pain, increasing user satisfaction and increasing condom usage,” the researchers state in a study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal.

73 per cent of the participants enlisted for the study stated that they would prefer to use a condom that has a self-lubricating surface.

Furthermore, the team state that encouraging more people to practise safe sex by using the self-lubricating condoms could in turn lead to lower incidences of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

In 2009, a study conducted by Indiana University with almost 2,500 women aged between 18 and 68 found that for the majority of the time, 65.5 per cent of women find it pleasurable to use lubricants during sex.

However, the team from Boston University explain that there are drawbacks to using traditional lubricants, stating that “lubricants pose disadvantages of dilution in physiologic fluids and sloughing away over repeating articulations.”

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For the study, the researchers had 33 participants carry out “touch tests” by comparing non-coated latex, non-coated latex that had been lubricated by a personal lubricant and the self-lubricated latex.

While the results of the study demonstrate a strong interest in the self-lubricating condoms, the condoms can’t be tested during sexual intercourse until the product receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Earlier this year, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning to Americans to stop reusing condoms, stating: “We say it because people do it: Don’t wash or reuse condoms.”

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