Love & Sex

Why the Galactic Cap Cannot Be the Future of Condoms

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What nobody is saying is that the new "wonder" condom isn't safe.

"You're about to discover a ground-breaking, game-changing, world-altering and possibly even life-saving invention," says inventor Charlie Powell in a video introducing his Galactic Cap — the new kind of barely-there condom. What is it about this new condom that sets it to be the carnal panacea for the sexually active, penis-loving, pleasure-seeking crowd?

The Galactic Cap is essentially a prophylactic disk that serves as a cap for the tip of the penis. One part of the condom cap is U-shaped polyurethane film that can be placed on the penis days before intercourse (If you want that? To urinate through it?) and the other component is an adhesive-backed reservoir cap that is put on top of the film securely. When a man ejaculates, the tip fills up, just like an old-fashioned condom only, according to Powell, with more security.

The penis cup is unique in that it literally only touches the tip of the penis.The coronal ridge and shaft are exposed for a better, less latex-y orgasm. It's desirable because typical, penis-sheathing condoms usually mean a serious sensation reduction for both sexes. It's marketable because, currently, the porn industry is battling the imminent vote on a bill set to mandate condom use on all porn sets in California state-wide. If designers can create a barrier method that prevents pregnancy and is nigh invisible in bedrooms and tube sites alike, bring it on, right?

That's the general media consensus. In the last few days, it's been called "the future of contraception," "a step in the right direction," "innovative," "the greatest condom in 400 years," and a savior of the porn industry. Me thinks the condom doth protest too much.

Let's not forget: this product has in no way been approved by clinical testing. If this is the revolutionary new product in the market of contraception (the baby-making, STI-proofing industry, might I add) shouldn't we at least double check our work? Powell explains that he had the idea for the Galactic Cap, "after a good friend of mine contracted HIV after having unprotected sex." The irony is that a boat load of STIs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and HIV is spread through bodily fluids including pre-come, semen, and vaginal fluids — some of which, whether through foreplay or intercourse, the Galactic Cap probably won't protect against. The Galactic Cap also ignores oral sex protection, the ever-presence of HPV, and the comically high possibility of misuse the cap could lead to (normal condom misuse is high enough!).

While the media fashions this as the at-long-last intersection of both sexual health and pleasure — the answer to hands that smell like a balloon for hours after sex and desensitization during penetration — what it actually should be marketed as is an answer for monogamous couples not looking to become parents. When Bill Gates had a condom call-to-arms to the tune of a $100,000 prize for the designer who developed the next generation of condoms, I'm guessing the Galactic Cap is not what he had in mind.

That's the most frustrating thing about this new messianic-like welcoming of the Galactic Cap and its forthcoming IndieGogo account to back its launch — the cap doesn't have the spectrum of sexual health in mind. Though the Galactic Cap may aid the porn industry and its reactive consumers who don't like the look of condoms in their smut, it also leaves behind the safety of those very same adult performers. Safe sex is more complicated than mere ejaculation, it's more than just a man's shaft feelin' good and blowing a load comfortably. The Galactic Cap is a rush to pleasure instead of modernism. The penis cap would better be marketed as a sexual novelty, a sex toy that can help established partners develop intimacy and heighten pleasure. I'd just prefer we all call it like it is. It's not innovation we're looking at, it's risk.