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  #1  
Old 23 March 2013, 10:13 PM
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E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
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Default Develop the Next Generation of Condom

The one major drawback to more universal use of male condoms is the lack of perceived incentive for consistent use. The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom, creating a trade-off that many men find unacceptable, particularly given that the decisions about use must be made just prior to intercourse. Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs?

http://www.grandchallenges.org/Explo...omRound11.aspx
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  #2  
Old 23 March 2013, 10:28 PM
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Make it so.

Dropbear
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  #3  
Old 24 March 2013, 08:09 AM
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From author Christopher Moore, via Twitter:

Quote:
$100,000 Gates Award for Condom Design: No, Bill, it works great for a while, then it just stops, I call it The Blue Dick of Death.
I'm not sure I buy the premise that reduced male pleasure is overwhelmingly the reason condoms are not used. Sometimes it's just a matter of not having one on hand when things get steamy (or not wanting to pause the action to apply it). Sometimes I imagine it's ignorance, or belief in various myths about when you can or can't get pregnant, combined with carelessness or a reluctance to bring up the subject of disease. And of course there's the religion question.

(In my own case, I'm perfectly willing to wear them, but I don't completely trust them, having had them tear before -- probably due to incorrect application, but even so. I would prefer some redundancy. Of course it's been academic for a long time -- if I ever get very sexually active again, I will strongly consider a vasectomy. Though that wouldn't stop me from wearing condoms with a new partner for disease prevention, not to mention that she might reasonably be reluctant to take my word for it.)
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Old 24 March 2013, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
Sometimes it's just a matter of not having one on hand when things get steamy (or not wanting to pause the action to apply it). Sometimes I imagine it's ignorance, or belief in various myths about when you can or can't get pregnant, combined with carelessness or a reluctance to bring up the subject of disease. And of course there's the religion question
Everything in that paragraph boils down to user error or misinformation, and not issues with the product itself. Why redesign something that - as the article repeatedly points out - is nearly perfect for a wide variety of situations, when you could work on user education for the current version instead?
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Old 24 March 2013, 06:50 PM
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Lack of sensation (or perceived lack thereof) is a factor that people do use as an excuse. In that limited case, this may be a legitimate reason to improve condoms. However I don't think that it's one of the areas we should be putting our effort. Lack of sensation is pretty low on the boat IMO of excuses. Most people just don't bother for reasons that EQ Taft points out apart from the moral reasons against BC in general. You take out morality and it boils down to bad education being a problem - something I have no problem believing.

That's why I like the idea of the Male BC pill complicated as it is to pull off. I think that lots of people see vasectomy as expensive (it costs more than condoms) and too invasive by a third party. I feel really odd about another party manipulating my junk. And what if it fails (one way or the other). Pills are much easier to take and keep on you. Yea sure a partner can lie about a pill without the other party knowing (harder to do if you do a junk test with a condom), but if a guy takes pregnancy serious, there isn't much of a reason to lie - and a pill makes things much easier to do things
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Old 24 March 2013, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
Everything in that paragraph boils down to user error or misinformation, and not issues with the product itself. Why redesign something that - as the article repeatedly points out - is nearly perfect for a wide variety of situations, ...
except when it isn't.

Blaming user error for failure is fine, but it also points out an opportunity for improvement. A well designed product is very difficult to misuse. A poorly designed product is one that only works when used in a precisely controlled manner.
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  #7  
Old 24 March 2013, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
Why redesign something that - as the article repeatedly points out - is nearly perfect for a wide variety of situations, when you could work on user education for the current version instead?
Why not do both?
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Old 25 March 2013, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Why not do both?
There's only so much funding to go around. Even if someone does develop a new material that makes condoms feel better than sex without a barrier, we're going to have to re-educate all the users anyway. Why not inform users about the product that already works when people aren't afraid, or ill informed, to use it?
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Old 25 March 2013, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
There's only so much funding to go around.
I doubt very much that the funding for education and the funding to improve condom quality would come from the same sources. Funding to improve condom quality might well come from the manufacturers -- it's pretty routine for manufacturers to fund research to improve their products, because it's potentially profitable for them.

Quote:
Why not inform users about the product that already works when people aren't afraid, or ill informed, to use it?
Are you asking me? I already said I think both should be done.
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  #10  
Old 25 March 2013, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
And of course there's the religion question.
This annoys me. Every religion I can think of that discourages condom use would also be against unmarried sex. Why is it ok to use religion as an excuse to avoid using a condom, but not to stop the sex in the first place?
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Old 25 March 2013, 01:48 PM
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People can be married and still want to avoid having children or having more children.
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  #12  
Old 25 March 2013, 02:02 PM
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Or transmitting disease.
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  #13  
Old 25 March 2013, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by damian View Post
This annoys me. Every religion I can think of that discourages condom use would also be against unmarried sex. Why is it ok to use religion as an excuse to avoid using a condom, but not to stop the sex in the first place?
I think you are saying it is silly as a personal decision to use religion as a pretext for rejecting a condom while not also following the religious rules against pre- and extra-marital sex. There are various approaches by the different religions as to condom use and premarital sex. Below is a link to an overview article published by Trojan Condoms which is remarkably respectful of religious sensibilities. I am not so sure that it is quite accurate as to earlier Protestant attitudes, as by my readings one of the big differences Protestants came to early in the split was that marital sex was an important gift of God toward maintaining marital cohesion and joy, and ought to be practiced frequently just for the fun of it even without the at-least-theoretical chance of pregnancy. Perhaps there was reluctance about relying on condoms for various other reasons, though.

http://www.trojancondoms.org/index.p...raception-use/
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  #14  
Old 25 March 2013, 02:32 PM
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I don't think the determined opposition that Margaret Sanger (for example) faced came solely from Catholics.

Sanger and other birth control advocates of the time believed that safe, reliable birth control was essential to women's gaining control of their own lives, which suggests a pretty obvious reason why conservative religious forces of any denomination might oppose their efforts.
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  #15  
Old 25 March 2013, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
Lack of sensation (or perceived lack thereof) is a factor that people do use as an excuse.
"I just wear two condoms all the time and when it's time for sex I take one off and feel like a wild man. Sort of like swinging two bats on the on deck circle." - Dennis Miller.
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  #16  
Old 25 March 2013, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
Why redesign something that - as the article repeatedly points out - is nearly perfect for a wide variety of situations, when you could work on user education for the current version instead?
People have tried. There have been a number of campaigns to educate people about condom use in Africa, but lots of men still aren't having it. It's fine to tut-tut and wag your finger, but your moral high road is not going to accomplish anything in real life to curb the persisting epidemic of HIV in developing nations.

Taking one approach like this to solving a problem doesn't preclude you from trying lots of other approaches. For a serious problem, you may as well try as many solutions as possible at the same time. It's foolish to stubbornly stick to only one plan that has thus far proven inadequate.

It's not a zero sum game. $100k is a pittance. It's not like we're just $100k short of the funding necessary to radically transform African culture. If we we're they'd kick in that amount too. They've already spent vastly more than that on public health measures and they'll continue to spend vastly more than that.

There has been some feminist backlash against this announcement, and I just can't understand how anyone would oppose something like this with the potential to help curb the spread of STDs in developing nations. That helps men and women alike. Women possibly more than men, since in some of those countries they don't always have a lot of power and influence on what men do. I can't see an explanation for what's wrong with this that isn't rooted in misandry. It's not as if something gets marginally better for men in any way that it must automatically be a defeat for women. It's purely a win-win if anything comes of this initiative.

Last edited by Errata; 25 March 2013 at 06:42 PM.
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  #17  
Old 25 March 2013, 07:22 PM
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Where are you seeing this feminist backlash?
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  #18  
Old 25 March 2013, 07:35 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
There has been some feminist backlash against this announcement,
Huh. I frequent tons of feminist sites and haven't seen any mention of this at all.
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  #19  
Old 25 March 2013, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by St. Alia View Post
Where are you seeing this feminist backlash?
On nearly any comments section discussing this article, there are one or several comments exactly like Kallah's. Hopefully not article writers themselves, since they should have thought things through and realized there is nothing negative to say about this, but the commentors who don't think things through often have a knee-jerk negative reaction.
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  #20  
Old 25 March 2013, 07:48 PM
Ryda Wong, EBfCo. Ryda Wong, EBfCo. is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
On nearly any comments section discussing this article, there are one or several comments exactly like Kallah's.
How does that qualify as "feminist backlash"?
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