Smart Condoms: Do We Really Want Condoms To Be Smart?
Condoms are one of those inventions that hasn’t really changed much since they were invented. But every now and again, there’s a very inventive individual with just the right attitude to take everything we thought we knew about sex and turn it upside down.
And the condom of the future is no different.
Smart tech is getting ever more pervasive, it’s in our homes and on our phones. Even the odd wearable accessory or high-tech sport clothing comes kitted out with a dozen apps and data-collecting sensors.
The idea of technology you can wear has always been a fun little sci-fi idea, but smart condoms are taking the ‘fun’ part a little further.
Ever wondered how many calories you’re burning when you have sex? Now you can actually find out. You could even make and break personal records. In fact, you can learn so much about your bedroom abilities that you could start making a tabletop RPG character from all of the statistics.
Ever wondered how fast you thrust? It never even occurred to me before, but I’d love to find out now that I know I can.
And whilst most of this is fairly amusing, the practical applications are fairly limited. After all, if you start treating sex as a form of exercise you’re going to quickly find yourself losing the enjoyment and you definitely won’t be impressing your partner, even if you are thrusting at 40mph.
Thankfully, smart condoms do a little more than just keep track of silly stats. They’re also a leading new front in the struggle to promote better sexual health. Smart condoms are capable of detecting common STIs that you would normally need to wait until you already had them before you found out a partner carried them – by which point it is often too late for any cure.
The effectiveness of these remains to be seen on a large scale, as they aren’t available for public purchase just yet – but the possibility to detect infections before they spread would be an extremely positive move forwards, and could prove to be a huge step forward to eradicating common STDs.
The best thing about the smart condoms are that they don't actually replace the ordinary condom you’re used to seeing. It’s simply a small and unobtrusive ring that is worn alongside the condom. This means you won’t have to fork over huge amounts of cash to have freaky future-style sex, just a one off purchase.
However, it should go without saying that just because they may be able to detect STIs, smart condoms aren’t going to make you completely immune. First off, if you don’t keep them clean there’s a chance they could actually help spread infections. It’s also important to remember that STIs change and new forms are a constant threat that won’t necessarily be detected.
But if you’re mostly after the novelty of finding out weird little details about your own sex life, the smart condom seems to be as good a way as any other. If you’re feeling competitive, you can even share and compare your stats. However, it seems doubtful that this feature will see much widespread usage.
After all, how many times have you been chatting to an attractive stranger and thought “he’s so hot, if only his thrust velocity was higher!”
Then again, the rise of Tinder and other hook-up apps do seem to suggest that reducing sex to a numbers game is just part of our current society, so who knows. Perhaps the two will combine in the future and you can start swiping right based on performance metrics rather than appearance.
Actually, maybe I’ll get started on that particular app myself…