5 Next-Level Condoms You Didn't Know About

by Emma McGowan

Try this one on for size: Modern condoms are older than sliced bread. That’s right — the latex condom was first introduced in 1920, while sliced bread became the barometer by which all awesome things are measured in 1927. Unfortunately, condoms haven’t changed much since then. Despite major advances in pretty much every other type of technology (even sliced bread!) in the almost hundred years since the roll-down latex condom was invented, they have stayed basically the same. Just take a minute to think about how telephones have changed in that time period for comparison, and you’ll realize that there’s no excuse for the lack of next-generation condoms.

I have to admit that I don’t hate condoms nearly as much as everyone else seems to. Granted, I’m a cisgender woman, so I don’t have to actually wear them, but I’ve heard plenty of ladies complain about them. For me, the opposition to condoms is more psychological than physical, as I like the idea of truly being skin-to-skin with my partner. I’m actually kinda partial to the fact that, unlike when we use other forms of protection, my partner is in charge of the cleanup.

But I get why people don’t like them, as evidenced in the extremely low rate of usage — only 19 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 44 use condoms every time they have sex. That’s scary low, and the only way that number is going to go up is if that century-old design gets some major changes, stat.

Luckily, we’re living in the midst of a particularly innovative time in human history. There are a few companies and groups that are turning their attention toward making the condom more enjoyable for everyone involved. Some of them integrate tech, some are playing with the old-school design, and some are just, well, prettier. Check ‘em out.

1. VA w.o.w.

While this condom has an annoying name (Please make things easy to remember and say, folks. Trojan! Durex! So easy!), it’s an awesome product because it’s all about providing female pleasure. The VA w.o.w is a female condom which has vibrators studded around the ring that holds it onto the outside of your body. That means that the outer parts of your clitoris and labia are getting serious stimulus while you’re having penetrative sex. It can also be inserted up to eight hours before you do it, taking care of that coitus interruptus problem that traditional condoms pose.

2. Origami

The Origami condom was one of the winners of the condom contest that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation threw a couple of years back. It’s the first male condom to lubricate on the inside, providing added sensation for the wearer, and it throws out the rolled design altogether. True to its name, the Origami condom is folded up for easy application. It’s not on the market yet, but Mic reports that it should be available in 2017, pending FDA approval.

3. Cirq

The Cirq is still totally conceptual, but I like the idea so much that I wanted to share it with you. It came out of a 54-hour startup challenge sponsored by Durex and Tech Hive, China’s premier tech accelerator. It’s essentially a tag with sensors that attaches to the condom and retracts and expands the diameter of the condom based on blood flow. It both solves the problem of too-tight condoms and provides a little extra pleasure with its pumping motion.

4. Lady-Friendly Condoms

If you’ve ever been turned off by the packaging of condoms in a gas station or drug store, than I have two companies for you: Sustain Condoms and Lovability. Sustain is led by father/daughter team Jeffrey and Meika Hollender. You may have heard of Jeffrey Hollender’s former business, Seventh Generation, which sells environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Sustain takes that same environmentalist philosophy and applies it to their fair trade, sustainable, natural latex condoms. They come in cute light blue packaging, and if you’re really into it, you can show your sex positivity by getting one of their “Turn Me On” pouches. I use mine to carry around my Kindle.

Lovability is a female-owned condom company that is dedicated to making condoms as welcome in any woman’s purse as a compact or other accessory. Their approach to making condoms more palatable also focuses on fair trade and sustainable products. And they’ve upped the game when it comes to packaging, with their cute little easy-access wrappers and gold carrying cases.

5. Disposable Cock Rings

You may have noticed these on your trips to the pharmacy — disposable cock rings that come with condoms. You can thank Jen McEwen and Jesse Adams, now of the adult app store MiKandi, for that one. Their former business was designing sex toys, and when they started making disposable cock rings, they reached out to some of the bigger condom companies to see if they were interested in teaming up.

h/t Mic and thanks to Grandpa for sending it to me.

Images: Giphy (1);; Origami Condoms; Beijing Tech Hive; Sustain Condoms; Lovability Condoms