People have come to expect their clothing fabrics to be sweat-wicking, breathable, high stretch, or even anti-bacterial. Protective against STDs can now be added to that list, too.
The FDA has cleared underwear made by the brand Lorals as protection against sexual diseases during oral sex, the first approval of its kind for underwear.
The single-use stretchy panties are made of latex and provide a physical protective barrier for users. The brand says its wearers enjoy full sensation, making it superior to existing options on the market, like dental dams. One Lorals wearer told The New York Times that the texture did indeed mimic skin and the product’s vanilla-flavoring tasted “like you’re eating a cookie”.
A pack of four comes in bikini and boy shorts styles and retails for $25. While effective against STDs, the brand warns their product is not contraceptive and cannot be used to prevent pregnancy.
The lingerie space is enjoying a surge in investment and innovation. According to Crunchbase, venture capital-backed underwear brands raised $457 million in the last year, the highest in five years.
Meanwhile, Savage by Fenty, which is owned by Rihanna, provides shoppers with a large range in sizing, and the label Slick Chicks is making underwear with side fastening to better suit people with mobility issues. Even industry giants like Adidas have revamped their approach: in February, the sportswear maker introduced a new collection of bras it designed with scientists to properly support women’s breasts.