A self-lubricating condom

In response to a brief by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers at Boston University developed a condom that self-lubricates during sex.

Most commonly available condoms have a silicone oil coating as lubricant, but this can wear off after a while. To find a solution of this problem, the researchers developed a special coating that responds to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery.

The condom is coated with a polymer that holds onto water molecules. This thin layer of water resides on the condom to improve lubricity, eliminating the need for extra lubricants like silicone oil.

After 15 minutes of rubbing the polymer coated latex over a surface resembling skin, it performed better than standard latex lubricated with water. Non-treated latex with a commercially available lubricant performed better at first, but after the 15 minute test period was still not as effective as the polymer-coated latex.

The next steps include manufacturing the condom under good manufacturing practices and conducting a marketing study with couples.