When A Condom Fails: LELO HEX
It’s ridiculously ironic that the first time the world at large heard about LELO’s newest product, it was on April 1st. It’s just a shame the news wasn’t also outed as an April Fools that day, so we could all have a laugh and applaud LELO’s sense of humour over the LELO HEX. But the LELO HEX condom isn’t a joke. LELO have seriously created and are now promoting this new product, an apparent re-engineering and reinvention of the condom. LELO HEX is touted as being… wait, what’s that massively overused word in the pleasure product industry? Oh yes. Revolutionary.
Is the LELO HEX revolutionary? Well it’s certainly different. Interesting. Unique. These tactful adjectives are all diplomatic ways of describing the epic clusterfuck that is the LELO HEX, or more specifically the pr surrounding this new condom.
I don’t have any problem with a company trying to create a new style of condom. In fact, the hexagonal pattern looks very attractive and could even feel good too. It is surprising that the condom is made from latex, because it’s such a well-known challenge for latex allergy sufferers to find a great feeling condom at an affordable price. But ok, sure; perhaps there’ll be a non-latex LELO HEX available in the future. The LELO HEX condom is apparently thicker and less likely to break, which is undoubtedly a very good idea. No-one wants to use a condom with any chance of breakage during use, which can cause unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of STIs.
Is it less likely to break, though? This gif left much of its audience not only confused but actually very worried.
— Lorax (@LoraxOfSex) June 15, 2016
To me, and to many who saw this gif, it looks like the LELO HEX condom is being pierced, but in a way which would be undetectable to the naked eye. This is scary stuff and has menacing connotations.
But ok, once again it’s benefit of the doubt time: perhaps the condom just looks like it’s being pierced in this gif, and after the official launch in London tonight (no, I’m not there myself) we’ll all be completely reassured that the LELO HEX condom is impenetrable. Maybe with the second half of that gif showing that no water comes through the material when the glass is upturned, for instance.
It could happen, right?
Yes, it would be sloppy marketing so far, but everything could be corrected and put down to international mystique and intrigue to garner interest and chat.
Then came the news which broke not only myself and many of my sex educator network, but which could also be the complete failure of this condom on a scale the world has never seen before (and hopefully never will again).
The face of the LELO HEX condom is none other than the previously woman beating, whorephobic, drug taking… Charlie Sheen. This… this is not a winning choice.
. @Lelo_Official condoms are divisive? Sure Sheen abuses women and is whorephobic but you're working with him anyway? Not my feminism.
— 🏴 Bash Back 🏴 (@kittystryker) June 14, 2016
— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) June 15, 2016
— Violet Blue ® (@violetblue) June 15, 2016
Other sex educators have written angrily and articulately on this subject, such as Marvy Darling and Dangerous Lilly. I feel there’s not much more I can add; they’ve already explained clearly and concisely just how much of a fail this latest LELO HEX pr move is – not just from a promotional perspective but because it is also a betrayal to women everywhere.
Interestingly, East Coast News (a US based adult product distribution company) has now cut ties with LELO completely. In light of this severance, all retailers who are supplied by ECN can get 100% credit value on future orders with ECN if they want to return any LELO products in sellable condition. A loud and telling statement if ever there was one.
To say I’m disappointed is a massive understatement. I don’t know what’s happened with LELO these past few years but the quality of products, bar a few exceptions, has shown a steady decline. I found the LELO ORA to be a weak and ineffective novelty. I think the LELO PINO is elitist and perpetuates a negative, classist stereotype. I laughed when I first heard about the LELO TUX – the suit for your penis – but then I glanced at the calendar and yet again, it wasn’t April 1st. Not seriously, though? You’ve seriously created, launched and are selling a mini … tuxedo wine bottle decoration for people to wrap their penis in and attempt to seduce a partner with?
What’s happened since the days of the LELO MONA and the LELO ELISE? These fantastic sex toys showed not just a pioneering ethos for the LELO sex toys brand and company but also some level of care and commitment to women’s/people’s pleasure. I have a book which elegantly covers ten years of LELO, produced for that anniversary. It details, with text and photographs and graphics, the behind the scenes technology and engineering and attention to detail which goes into LELO products. No – which had gone into LELO products.
There have been some recent exceptions – I love the LELO INA Wave, for instance. The scented LELO LILY 2 is dinky and powerful, although the smells are unnecessary and novelty additions which wear off quickly. But the LELO ORA, PINO, TUX and now the HEX? They don’t fit. They’re cheap, novelty, created seemingly quickly for attention and pr stunts and profit over pleasure. I am insulted that LELO seems to think their audience, their fans, their affiliates and most importantly their customers who trust them and pay hard-earned cash should just put up with these jokes of products. Not just the creation of mere novelties but now, with Charlie Sheen the face of LELO HEX, sending a dangerous statement to the world. To me, LELO seem to be saying they don’t care about female issues. That they don’t care about assaults on women. It seems to me that ironically, they don’t care about women’s safety in life, in relationships… in the bedroom.
On top of all this – you’re meant to pay for it. That’s right, the LELO HEX is in the middle of being crowdfunded. Don’t LELO have the cash to design, product and promote this product themselves? If not, I wonder why that is?
For me, the LELO HEX condom has failed. I might not have ever felt it, used it, seen it in real life – but it’s failed.
Update 30.06.2016: Thanks to the Reveal blog for quoting me in their Hex piece.
This post is absolutely and completely my own opinion and should be treated and viewed as such.