Gizmodo recently reported that graphene, that miracle material that promises to revolutionize technologies ranging from batteries to solar cells and even DNA sequencing is now being considered as a material for condoms.
The use of condoms, once thought to be obsolete thanks to the development of better birth control technology, enjoyed a revival in the 1980s thanks to concern about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Condom use has spread throughout the western world and is being encouraged in the Third World as a means to control often fatal diseases.
There are two problems with condoms, currently made of a latex material. One is that they occasionally break, which can result in all sorts of unintended consequences for a couple making love. The other is that many men complain that using a condom dulls the pleasurable sensation derived from the sexual act.
The FDA notes that even though using a condom will mitigate the chances of catching an STD, it is not 100 percent certain. It does not guarantee, despite public perceptions, entirely “safe sex” but rather “less risky sex.”
Graphene has two properties that would help to mitigate both problems. It is incredibly strong, almost indestructible in point of fact. That would tend to mitigate further the chances of catching an STD from one’s sex partner. It is also the thinnest material on Earth, about one atom wide. As a bonus graphene is a great conductor of heat, an enhancement for the pleasure of the act of sex. Thus an excuse often used to not use a condom is eliminated.
The Gates Foundation has given a $100,000 grant to the University of Manchester to develop the graphene condom. The UK Telegraph notes that the design being worked on would attempt to combine the strength and thinness of graphene with the flexibility of latex to create, as it were, a more pleasurable condom.