Move over latex. Condoms that feel exactly like human skin could soon be a reality.
Researchers hope to make sexy time a little more sensual with a "next generation" condom called GELdom.
The condom is made from a class of materials called hydrogels, which are described as soft, squishy and wet, and are said to feel "like real human tissue".
In a bid to test just how stimulating the new condoms are, researchers from the University of Wollongong and the University of Swinburne used brain scanners to test the pleasure impact of hydrogel on volunteers.
Participants were asked to run their hands over condom materials 80 times. Meanwhile researchers monitored the activity in the volunteers' brain pleasure centres.
According to scientists, the hydrogel condom was the only one which hit a "strong hot spot" at the front of the brain.
"We also got a perceptual novelty response, as in ‘oh that’s different, I want to feel more of that'," said Joseph Ciorciari from Swinburne University.
He said of the condom material: "It’s really unusual to touch. It feels like real human tissue, like when you’re touching someone but they’re covered in a lubricant."
Hydrogels consist mainly of water held together by molecular chains called polymers. They also have properties close to tissue and can be designed to feel like skin.
In recent times, scientists have developed a tougher type of hydrogel which has properties similar to rubber - so they can stretch over 1,000 times their initial size.
"They can also be engineered to be effective biological barriers," reads the GELdom website. "It’s these specially developed materials that are being used to create the hydrogel condom."
Researchers hope to conduct more condom trials over the coming year. Watch this space.
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