A few years ago, a German sexual health educator invented the world's first spray-on male condom. Modeled after the mechanics of a "drive-through car wash," Jan Vinzenz Krause thought his new creation would disrupt the condom industry and completely take off.
Only it never did (technical difficulties), and that's probably why you've never heard about Krause's magic little condom car wash, or the concept of a condom that doesn't come in a plastic package. Here to bring the concept back from obscurity is Michele Chu, a rising senior at the Pratt Institute in New York, who recently created a visual concept for such an apparatus.
The appeal of a spray-on condom, versus the regular, pre-packaged version, is that the stream of latex would perfectly fit any penis, canceling out the "but I'm too big!" excuse. It would also eliminate failure caused by misuse, since the spray or jets or whatever apply it all for you.
Krause's original design featured a small chamber, complete with jets that sprayed latex directly onto the penis. The problem with his design was that the latex took anywhere from 1-2 minutes to dry, which tended to…slow things down in the bedroom. By the looks of it, Chu's concept is more like a hairspray bottle.
Chu's concept goes by the name "Girlplay," and it's only one part of a whole little sex package she put together as part of a school visual communications project, according to the website PSFK. She thinks condoms as we know and love them are primed for an upgrade.
"Condoms look like those little ramen seasoning packets," Chu told PSFK. "They’ve just been these square things forever."
True! While condoms are still the best thing we have for protecting against STIs, the little crinkly sound of peeling back the plastic wrapper isn't exactly sexy. Maybe the act of spraying on the condom with a can will be a bit more appealing?
Male condoms also often fall prey to misuse, which drastically lowers their effectiveness. Bedsider puts the success rate of male condoms at an impressive 98 percent, with perfect use. With typical use, that rate drops to 82 percent.
A lot of that misuse can be attributed to the fact that most of us learned how to put on condoms by watching a gym coach peel a condom down over a banana. Only here's the thing: Human penises aren's bananas. While the fruit may be very well protected in its little condom raincoat, the fact remains that the banana isn't going inside of anyone (we hope). How you take the condom off after it's been…used…is pretty much just as important as how you put it on.
A solution to all this tomfoolery? Spray on some latex and let it adhere to your penis!
Think of it this way. Sunscreen, which is kind of like a condom for the skin (you know, because it protects you from the sun!), comes in rub-in and spray-on containers. The spray-on stuff coats you in a nice, safe blanket of protection—hitting all the little spots you may not reach with the rub-in version. And we've all seen what happens when we miss a spot applying our SPF 50.
Chu's concept is still just a concept, for now. But she did tell PSFK that she would like to develop Girlplay (and the spray-on condom) into a real thing after she graduates.
Hannah Smothers is a reporter for Fusion's Sex & Life section, a Texpat, and a former homecoming princess.