Is This the Birth of Quantifiable Sex? Claims of Smart Condom

Condom is said to have been around since the 16th centuries but has only come to gain popularity and widespread acceptance in the 20th century. The explosion in popularity has been made possible due to factors such as its affordability, accessibility to the working class, increased sexual education and changes in perceptions toward contraceptives.

Another major facilitator of the adoption of condom was the discovery that AIDS was a sexually transmitted decease, and the best way to protect against it was through barrier methods such as the condom. Even so, getting some people to wear condom today is hard for different reasons. Some people feel that condom reduces sensitivity, thereby making sex less enjoyable. Others perceive condom to be inconveniencing.

Arguably, a good number of people don’t even know how to use a condom, and some have not tried one before. This notwithstanding, the future for sex seems to be going beyond the wearing of condom. Today British Condoms is trying to get people to wear a wearable on their wearable. The company calls its wearable the i.Con Smart Condom. The i.Con Smart Condom is not actually a condom but a ring that fits over a user’s condom and tracks their activities during sex.

The company claims that the device is not yet available as they are in final stages of ‘testing’ and aim to release the product to the public sometimes in 2017. You would wander what ‘testing’ is. The ring device will sit over a condom at the base, from where it performs it functions while you perform yours. The i.Con is claimed to be a wearable technology capable of connecting to an app on user’s smartphone, using what is described as a Nano-chip and sensors.

i.Con is claimed to be water resistant, lightweight, rechargeable, adjustable and said to be ‘extremely comfortable’. Comfort here, especially for those who still don’t know how to use condom, may be something of a dream if this device proves to be essential for sex. The company, through its advertisement web site explains that for £59.99 the i.Con will be able to record:

  • Average velocity of thrusts
  • Calories burnt during sexual intercourse
  • Frequency of sessions
  • Total duration of sessions
  • Speed of thrusts
  • Total number of thrusts
  • Girth measurement
  • Different positions used
  • Average skin temperature

It adds that “You will be able to anonymously access stats that you can compare with i.Con users worldwide.” That sounds like a declaration of data-driven global sexual competition; another way to make people feel like they don’t measure up to people whom they don’t know. Such anonymous stats will also heavily depend on how many people are actually using the device, how they use it and whether the measurements are accurate.

Moreover, the website does not indicate how the device has and will be scientifically tested, making you wonder about whether the device can provide reliable and trustworthy information. Certainly, one can’t use such a device to replace real medical testing for STIs. Should you even care about such data? I believe that the only data that actually matters during sex are the thoughts and feelings of the person whom you are with. A wearable can’t measure such things, at least not yet.

Additionally, Denisese Moreno reports for Medical Daily explains that the “developers of the smart condom said the i.Con can indicate the presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs); the ring has an ‘antibodies filter’ which sends an alert to the app when it detects proteins or antigens found in STIs.” Wow, is the world’s first “smart” condom ring really going to be that smart?

If all these claims are true, could this then be the birth of ‘Smart Sex’ driven by ‘Big Data’? Someone could go – “Show me your data…”, and “…yes we are compatible”? Before you jump into conclusion, first ask the following questions: Do you really need a wearable to tell you that you just had sex? How exactly are some of the data going to be measured? Can sex be quantified? Lastly and simply, “what is sex for you?”

Your answers would give meaning to the ’emerging trend’ of Smart Condom and contribute to the adoption of the technology. But in the end, I suppose, the use of condom and emerging condom wearables would ever remain a matter of choice. Personally, if I am to choose between ‘Big Data sex’ and beautiful sex, I would rather go with the later anytime. A doctor can help me with the former. Smart Sex should be good unquantifiable sex; and any technology that promises this should come with convenience, ease of use, emotional and physical comfort, and be of true value.

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