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Origami Condom Founder on the Next Phase of Protection

by Holly Grigg-Spall

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday May 15, 2013

Considering the amount of media attention their products have been getting you may well have heard of a small company called Origami that is set to start a new sexual revolution, but you may not know what makes founder Danny Resnic's designs so special.

Origami has reinvented the condom, switching out latex for silicone, souping-up the shape and function and developing the first ever device specifically for anal sex.

In 1993 Resnic contracted HIV as the result of a broken condom. It was this event that inspired him to take his design company in a unique direction. "I felt it was down to the poor design of the condom that this happened to me," he explains, "It started me thinking about how they were made and how they could be improved. I scrapped what I knew as a condom - a design that's stayed the same since 1918 - and started from scratch."

EDGE caught up with Resnic at his beachside offices in Los Angeles to find out more:

EDGE: The latex condoms of the market at the moment have a 5% failure rate when it comes to preventing the transmission of STDs including HIV. How have you improved on this with Origami condoms?

Resnic: We didn't plan it that way, but the leading microbiology lab in the United States independently tested the silicone material we've formulated for the Origami condoms. The test reports show it to be 100 percent viral impermeable. The lab typically reports 5% failures testing leading brands of latex condoms.

EDGE: Part of the 15 percent failure rate of condoms currently available is down to user error. How do Origami condoms lessen the likelihood of mistakes through their design?

Resnic: The Origami male condom is much quicker to put on as it doesn't need to be rolled over the penis. The design of the reservoir at the tip makes it easier to discern which is the right way to put the condom on. We also developed a design for the reservoir and the base of the condom that prevents backflow during sex and when the condom is being taken off.

For the Origami anal condom specifically, it is inserted anorectically quite easily. For a bottom partner who might ordinarily experience discomfort with latex condoms during initial penetration, this innovation has a rounded tip in which a finger is inserted and the condom slides up inside quickly. It can remain inserted in advance of having sex for as long as someone wants. You can walk around and do most any activity with the condom pre-inserted. For me, it remained inserted and unnoticeable for 90 minutes. We may have to hold a contest for the Guinness Book of Records for how long someone can keep one inserted, after the product launch!

I am often asked why there would be a need for an anal condom since we already designed the Origami female condom. They are different because the anatomy is different. Things that are worn are generally anatomy-specific - like shoes, hats or gloves for example. So why would it be any different with condoms? They need to be appropriately designed for the specific activity. Yes, shoes are designed to wear on the feet, but we don’t wear ski boots with a tux. Latex condoms are just as ridiculous. People want pleasurable sex and protection. These will not be mutually exclusive qualities when consumers purchase the Origami condoms.

EDGE: Condoms currently on the market are used for anal sex but have never been FDA approved for that use. Your Origami condom for anal sex is the first of its kind. Why do you think it’s taken so long for this to come about? What about your design is different to the condoms used now, which are approved only for vaginal sex?

Resnic: This is a little known fact about condoms. It’s true; they have never been clinically tested for safety to meet the same standards as when used for vaginal sex. No condom manufacturer would want that test result made public because the failure rate would be alarmingly high. Latex condoms are not designed for the more rigorous activity associated with anal sex. The FDA does not require anal safety testing because that is considered an off-label use when the manufacturers sell them exclusively for contraception and vaginal sex protection.

Oddly, there will be more straight couples using the Origami anal condom simply due to the disproportionate population of heterosexual to homosexual people (90 percent versus 10 percent). Of course, lots of straight couples worldwide enjoy anal sex.

Latex condom manufacturers are heavily vested into latex: factories, latex fabrication equipment and the rubber tree forests in Malaysia and Indonesia. This means that latex condom design is dictated by its compatibility with the existing fabrication method of dip molding. The consumers’ need for optimal sensation is secondary. Latex dip molding does not offer versatility in terms of design possibilities. Thin latex condoms are based on "transferred sensation." They rely on the thinnest possible material to provide sensation transferred through the stationary latex barrier onto the penis. This is seriously a flawed approach that contradicts the way sex naturally occurs in human anatomy, which requires a fluid environment for the penis to move in for optimal stimulation.

The Origami condom brand is out to change all of that by providing condoms that operate with "direct sensation" rather than "transferred sensation." Origami condoms have a lubricated internal environment for the penis to move in during intercourse. The Origami male condom has an accordion tubular design that provides a reciprocating motion for both partners.

EDGE: How do Origami condoms improve on the high incidence of slippage and breakage with condoms presently on the market?

Resnic: In terms of breakage, the Origami silicone is uniquely formulated with high tensile strength combined with high elongation (they can stretch to 12 inches). This is the first device that combines both features into one formula, which was developed by the company to be responsive to the requirements of sexual activity, not to the manufacturing process. In both clinical and pre-clinical testing Origami condoms had zero breaks and zero incidents of slippage.

Often partners are unaware that a latex condom has slipped off during sex. Guys are so grateful for the suddenly improved sensation when that happens and the brain is not wired to pause and question what has happened during heightened sexual activity. Latex condoms can slip off when enough lubricant seeps inside the condom where it’s not supposed to be. In contrast, the Origami male condom is intended to have a lubricated interior to enhance penile movement within the condom. It’s packaged dry on the outside and lubed on the inside and it’s the first non-rolled condom. It goes on instantly in one quick motion as the accordion design opens like a parachute onto the penis. It’s like sliding your hand into a cashmere sweater.

Origami has recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $50,000 to get their revolutionized condoms to you all the sooner: