If you look at our most e-mailed list, you’ll see that two of our more popular entries have been about the science behind sex. I suppose I’ll continue the trend and see where it goes, especially after hearing about the spray-on condom.
The spray-on condom is being developed by a German company called Vinico, and they’re hoping to make it available commercially by 2008. According to the website, it works like any aerosol spray. The spray itself contains a combination of Indian rubber and water and hardens at room temperature, then it becomes flexible after a few seconds (I’m sure getting it down to a few seconds was a key point of research if it was going to be practical).
Spray-on rubber is nothing new, but I suppose my concern would be the process of vulcanization by which the condom hardens. Vulcanization is a chemical process by which polymer molecules attach to other polymer molecules resulting in a cross-linking of molecules. One of the best chemicals for achieving the vulcanization of rubber is sulfur, which gains viscosity as it increases in temperature. Its plasticity is caused by the rapid cooling of sulfur. Is this the process that this German company is using in manufacturing the spray-on condom?
The website does not specify whether this technology is being used, and I’m sure there is inherent risk using the spray on an area with very sensitive skin. I guess it comes (pun intended?) as a relief to know that science is not only the logic behind sex, but it’s being used to make sex even better and safer.