Love & Sex

Bill Gates Reassures Us That Better, Thinner Condoms Are Coming

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While making an "I see what you did there" joke.

Today, Bill Gates did a Reddit AMA. The erstwhile Microsoft chairman and co-chair of the world's largest private charitable foundation answered questions about many topics other than how rich he is, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's offer of $100,000 to the inventor of a condom that preserves or enhances pleasure. Last November, the foundation pledged a total of $1.1 million in funding to 11 condom innovators. User alex4346 asked, "any luck with the condom design competition?"

Gates responded:

"Sensitive topic," HA. Obviously not too sensitive, if Bill Gates will make nudge-nudge, wink-wink jokes about it. 

All jokes aside, this is an exciting update. We've heard about the condoms in development before, including prophylactics made from beef tendon, polyurethane, and polyethylene (commonly known as Saran Wrap), but never the words "carbon nanotubes." Carbon nanotubes are super-thin (only one atom thick), super-strong, and excellent conductors of heat (hey-o!). They have a similar chemical composition to graphite. I'll need to do an Explain Like I'm Five to understand exactly how these condoms will work, but "thin" and "strong" are the operative and magical words here. If anything makes condoms more pleasurable for both men and women, it's an invention worthy of a billionaire's investment. People just aren't using condoms that much, and it's dangerous. A condom that is only an atom thick will render the "reduces sensation" argument invalid. 

After Gates' answer, the thread devolved into "Microsoft/condom" puns, because Reddit.

Image via ehavir