Lelo, the upscale Swedish sex toy company whose wares have made it onto Kim Kardashian’s Valentine’s Day list and into Goop’s first sex issue ($15,000 24k gold dildo, anyone?), just launched a newly designed condom called the Hex, which the brand celebrated at a launch event in NYC featuring cocktails, an ice sculpture of the condom, and modern dancers.
The Hex is still condom-shaped, because, well, that part was non-negotiable for obvious reasons. But what's really different is the texture: It looks like the most delicate pair of fishnet stockings ever, or perhaps an artsy rendering of a honeycomb. This is where the design innovation comes in.
According to Filip Sedic, Hex’s founder and CEO, the company first tried to change the material, subbing out silicone for latex, a material that's getting a lot of attention now in condom design. That didn’t work, so "hundreds of ideas later," Lelo decided that a condom’s structure was the issue.
The honeycomb pattern supposedly prevents slippage, a quality that was amply demonstrated by a woman gracefully attempting to pull one off of a glass phallus. The small, hexagonal pattern also supposedly provides more strength, which prevents breakage and also allows the condom to be thinner. Finally, it flexes and molds to the wearer better, making the whole event feel more natural. Sedic said it was tested to meet different condom regulations throughout the world, and was tested by "people who knew what they were doing and have been very good in their input."
While the company claims that no one has tinkered with condom design in over 70 years, that's not strictly true. A number of companies and individuals are trying to make the condom better both functionally and aesthetically, making it easier to incorporate as a lifestyle element. At the event, the company was very proud of its sleek, minimalist packaging, a far cry from the colorful foil boxes you find at the drugstore. Plus, "it looks cool. You kind of want to wear it," Sedic declared. (For a bit of extra flair, the word "Respect" is printed on the condom right at the top toward the roll.)
To fete the launch in New York City, the company teased that "one of the world's most controversial A-list celebrities will be attending." They weren’t kidding. A video showed none other than Charlie Sheen, who announced last fall that he was HIV positive, discussing his status and the importance of condoms. Then Sheen himself walked in, wearing a dark suit and shirt without a tie, carrying a sheet of paper that appeared to be scrawled with notes. His speech was punctuated by laughter from the audience, some uncomfortable at times.
"Now you're probably all thinking, What the hell is a guy with five kids and HIV doing selling condoms? It kind of begs the question, Shouldn't this guy have been buying condoms instead?," he said. "Well, trust me I adore and I cherish all of my children. That said, I sure as hell don't adore my HIV, let's be honest. Yet I've accepted it as a part of my journey in this big crazy life I've created and continue to embrace."
He went on to talk about the importance of safe sex and the design of the Hex, calling it "not your grandfather's condom." He ended with, "I would urge each and every one of you to spread the word and not STDs...I guarantee, whether you like it or not, whether you like me or not, Lelo is gonna put a Hex on you."
If you would like to put a Hex on yourself or someone else, they cost $12 for a 12-pack, which will increase to $19.90 after an introductory period.