Researchers are formulating a “skin-like” condom that will be an alternative to latex. Called a “tough hydrogel,” the condom will have a more natural feel that scientists hope will encourage more men to use protection and, in turn, prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STDs worldwide.
Even better, the revolutionary project is being funded by Bill Gates. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $100,000 to the University of Wollongong in Australia to develop the condom venture.
In a video clip, Dr. Robert Gorkin, a biomedical engineer, explains the material is "made to act and feel more like real skin."
The project could "truly improve the lives of many," Gorkin says.
Gorkin said his team hopes to change habits in places where protected sex is not perceived as a routine part of sexual health.
“It’s really about us challenging our own perceptions, particularly when developing new technologies to be deployed in places like sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia,” Gorkin said.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named 11 condom research grant recipients in November.
Though there’s long been a commonly held belief that condoms make sex less natural or pleasurable, one study found that with or without a condom, Americans find sex very satisfying. The study took a peek into the bedrooms of men and women, straight and gay.