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Why the world’s first 'smart condom' will ruin sex for everyone

Pathikrit Sanyal
Pathikrit SanyalDec 01, 2017 | 12:39

Why the world’s first 'smart condom' will ruin sex for everyone

While online applications and electronic screening processes have taken over dating for a long time now, technology’s foray into the world of sex has so far only been analogue at best – structurally sound condoms, sex toys and even genital weightlifting devices. But worry no more, for the future of sex is here.

British Condoms, a company founded in 1999 that claims to be the largest online supplier of condoms in the UK, has come up with a unique product called the "iCon". The iCon, which the company claims is the world’s first smart condom ring, is not actually a condom. It is more like a FitBit (a fitness tracker) for one’s penis. Yes. This is a thing that exists now.

It is essentially a ring that one, should they choose to, would wear over their condoms. The object would rest at the base one’s penis. But why wear it? Well, it provides men with statistics to help their sexual prowess; and men just love their statistics, don’t they?

The iCon measures a variety of things, including the duration of intercourse, the number of calories burnt, the number and speed of thrusts, girth measurements, and different positions used per week, month or year. Additionally, the iCon helps detect sexually-transmitted infections.

condoms_113017104146.jpgPhoto: British Condoms

And how does one access this goldmine of data? According to British Condoms’ website, the iCon uses nano-chips and sensors to measure and remember “a number of different variables” during intercourse. Users of this device will then be able to access this data through the iCon app which is paired to the device using Bluetooth technology. Even if the Rs 2,000 note doesn’t, sex FitBits now have nano chips. What a time to be alive, eh?

But is this a good thing? No; for multiple reasons.

With everything from communication to transport to currency to food to relationships, the digital revolution has ravaged it all. Sex, perhaps, is the last bastion of humanity that remains untouched by the dirty hands of corporations in this age of information.

With the iCon, that changes. Like all other things in the world, sex, too, will now be measured and analysed through something as paltry as a phone app.

Additionally, the ability to measure sex with statistics turns sex into a sport. Men at bars, bragging about their decimal-pointed, thrust count figures are a Black Mirror-like dystopia in themselves. Sex is natural. It needs the comfort and the compatibility of two or more persons to work. It needs rhythm. It needs to go with the flow. Trying to better one’s calories and thrusts reduces a beautiful act into mechanical exercise – something that defeats an important function of sexual intercourse: pleasure. Also, people are competitive and they will turn this into a massive contest should this turn mainstream.

Another problem with the iCon, as was rightly pointed out by Cosmopolitan, is that the device focuses way too much on sexual penetration. That sex in 2017 is way more than just the puritanical notion of penis-in-vagina seems to be lost on British Condoms. What we traditionally define as foreplay, which includes a wide range of activities, is essentially sex, too. And yet we continue to fixate on just the penetration bit.

condom-2_113017104604.jpgPhoto: British Condoms

This revolutionising sex product, sadly, remains a bit behind times.

And, finally, the biggest problem with turning sex into information and data is that in this day and age, data is both the most vulnerable and the most valuable commodity we have. While the Nottingham-based company assures users that all their data would be stored anonymously and should the user choose to, he can share his data on social media (can you imagine the horror?), what guarantees such a thing?

Even if British Condoms does secure the data, nothing stops the availability of a product that plagiarises this idea. And if “generics” flood the market, what is the guarantee that other companies will protect your data? One has only to look at the hack-attack on Ashley Madison, a commercial website for extramarital affairs, during which hackers stole the data of 37 million users and leaked it for the world to see. Another Black Mirror-like scenario.

But, of course, better sense shall never prevail. People will use the iCon.

So, welcome to the future. A future that does not yet have hover-boards like Back to the Future or flying cars like The Jetsons, but one that is moving towards ruining sex for everyone.

Last updated: July 05, 2018 | 22:57
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