Self-Lubricating Condoms Are Groundbreaking, But Here’s Why You Can’t Purchase Just Yet

I love a good “two-in-one” product, like shampoo with conditioner, peanut butter with grape jelly in the jar, and sporks, of course. But now we can add one more to the list: Condoms with their very own lube. I know what you're thinking: Aren't there already lubricated condoms? Yes, but there are new ones on the horizon that feature the lube of the future: Super-hydrophilic nanoparticle condoms that become activated and slippery when they come in contact with bodily fluid. In other words, self-lubricating condoms. But when will self-lubricating condoms be available to actually buy and put to good use? The answer is, unfortunately, that you're going to have a wait a bit before you can get your hands, and, ahem, other things on them.

To find out when these new condoms are hitting store shelves, I reached out to Dr. Stacy Chin, one of the co-authors of the scientific paper reported by Royal Society Open Science Journal about this new condom and now, the co-founder and CEO of Hydroglyde Coatings, which is working on bringing the condoms to market. According to Dr. Chin, the condoms are still "in development and [they're] working on a marketing study." So basically, the project is still its the early days. Dr. Chin says they expect the condoms will be available for sale to consumers in "about two years."

What exactly makes these new condoms worth the wait? Well, they really are an incredible advancement in barrier contraceptive technology. They were developed by a team of researchers at Boston University — of which Dr. Chin was a member — as part of a competition to build a better condom spearheaded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The innovation for which this team was awarded a $100,000 grant was to add a coating of the super-hydrophilic nanoparticles, which outperform current lubricated condoms in friction tests. As the report in Royal Society Open Science journal explains, these new self-lubricating condoms are able to withstand 1,000 thrusts, beating the store bought condoms by 400 thrusts. Which, if you approximate one thrust per second, means a total of six more minutes of sweet lubricated lovemaking with the new condom. That alone makes this condom exciting, but it actually has another incredibly exciting benefit. Thanks to this condom’s more slippery and effective lubrication, it's actually a safer and more effect barrier to pregnancy and STIs, since they are less likely to slip or tear than the current store-bought condoms.

But here's the real kicker: These new self-lubricating condoms feel better too. If you've ever been with someone who has complained about using condoms because going without one "feels better,” first of all, too bad. If they aren't willing to wear a condom and for you it's a deal-breaker, then really, they should remember that safety comes first. But the good news is that in the same study of participants who were asked to touch non-lubed, lubricated, and the new self-lubricating condoms, 73 percent preferred the feel of, and were more likely to use, the self-lubricating condom. That's awesome.

As you can guess, I will be keeping a close eye out for when these new self-lubricating condoms hit shelves. After all, who isn't excited about safer sex that feels better too? Hello, sign me up!