A Brief History of Condoms

In honor of the Gates Foundation's challenge to create a better condom, we present a timeline of wrapping it up, from chemical-soaked sheaths to lubricated Durex


The future is here folks, and it smells like latex. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is offering up $100,000 of initial funding to go towards designing the “next generation of condoms.” What does “next generation” mean, exactly? It means male condoms that don’t decrease pleasure (a time-honored complaint) and female condoms that are both easier to use and more affordable. 

What will this miracle condom look like, we wonder. Will it be metallic or bedazzled or have a GPS tracking system embedded in it? Will Siri be able to put one on for you?

GrandChallenges.org is now accepting ideas and prototypes, so to get your creative condom juices flowing, we’ve decided to take a look back at how condoms have evolved throughout the years. Here’s looking at you, 16th century chemical-soaked sheath. 


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