In 1993, Danny Resnic was having anal sex during a casual hookup in Miami Beach when his partner’s latex condom broke.Resnic had been using condoms ever since the man he describes as “my best friend and love of my life” died from AIDS in 1984.Using grant money from the National Institutes of Health, he conducted small clinical trials with condoms that fit much more loosely than latex condoms, designed to be pulled on like a mitten instead of rolled on, allowing freedom of movement inside, and to provide sensation for men from the interior of the condom, which is lubricated.“I have always been looking for a monogamous relationship and was never really happy with casual sex,” he says, but in the gay subculture of Miami Beach, where he’d moved from California in 1991, casual sex was the norm.When Resnic slept with men he didn’t know, he insisted on condoms. I lost all my friends during the AIDS crisis, and I used condoms religiously.He learned how latex condoms are made (by dipping phallic molds into vats of liquid latex, which is peeled off after it dries), and how they are regulated (the Food and Drug Administration considers condoms medical devices and dictates how they are manufactured and labeled).He discovered that three publicly traded companies—the makers of Life Styles, Durex, and Trojan—controlled almost the entire market. Why is it still the same thing, and no one likes it? He set out to build a better condom—one that he hoped would make protected sex feel as good as unprotected sex (a guy can dream!To illustrate his astonishment at what he’d learned about condoms, he gestured at the salt and pepper shakers and bottle of olive oil between us. He had taken some product design classes in college, but didn’t know much about biomedical engineering.
And he figured out that, since the introduction of the rolled latex condom in the 1920s, not much about condoms had changed. ), and one that wouldn’t break like the one that broke on him.I met Resnic for lunch in Los Angeles last September and was struck by his intensity all these years later. Resnic set aside everything he’d learned about latex condoms and tried to start from scratch, asking: What might a condom look like if it were designed with pleasure in mind, instead of mass production and profit margins?The odds of contracting HIV from a single act of unprotected anal sex are extremely low—experts put the risk below 1 in 100. And then when one broke, I thought, ‘How could that happen?’ ” Resnic became obsessed with answering that question: He read everything he could find about condoms at his local public library in Miami.
In 2001, Resnic bought some wood at Home Depot, carved it into a mold with a jigsaw, sanded it down, dipped it in liquid latex, and created the first prototype of his condom in his home, which was, at the time, a house boat on Marina del Rey. He began experimenting with silicone—the flexible, durable material found in spatulas and charity awareness bracelets.
He found a silicone manufacturer to formulate a recipe with the precise combination of tensile strength and elasticity he was looking for, and then found a medical device manufacturer to make silicone prototypes.