LELO HEX: Charlie Sheen’s Condom of Choice

LELO HEX is a crowdfunding project that bills itself as “The World’s First Re-Engineered Condom”. It’s obviously a false claim; the various condom companies out there have their own engineers that improve their products constantly. Currently funded $350,000 by almost 15,000 backers (30 times of its original $12,000 goal) and officially endorsed by Charlie Sheen, it’s a cutting-edge example of the crowdfunding scam and marketing in the Internet age. The accompanying 42 second video is worth watching all the way through.

It’s pretty amusing that a man who probably got HIV from irresponsible unprotected sex is now trying to sell me condoms.

You might have noticed how the video just sort of ends mid-song and mid-sentence. That’s not some sort of glitch. Even if you visit the video on Youtube, it’s still messed up so their editor must be fucking incompetent, or is something more sinister going on here?

Next up, we have this gem, courtesy of Vice:

%22With the HEX, my husband and I had our most positive condom experience to date.%22

I’m not sure why Vice couldn’t just quote the dude on this one. I mean, it was wrapped around his cock, so he’s really the only one qualified to talk about how well it fit around his shaft, but maybe they needed to meet their diversity quota for the day. Either way, I’m certain that the worst possible way to have sex is to come home with some sort of experimental condom and explain to your husband that you need him to put it on and carefully make note of his experiences with it while he gently thrusts in and out of you in the manufacturer-approved manner to get unbiased test results.

Let’s see who else reviewed it:

%22It's a simple, interior hexagonal lattice that sets the HEX apart from its competitors.%22

Yup, fucking Jezebel. I’m impressed that they managed to go an entire sentence without referring to condoms as rape devices or tools of the patriarchy. Maybe that’s in the part that they left out in the middle of that quote. Still, if there’s one group of people who probably shouldn’t be talking about condoms, it’s a group of manhating SJW’s that are employed by Gawker.

Then we have what may be the most irresponsible marketing gif I’ve ever seen:

LELO HEX condom popping animation

I have not edited this or taken it out of context in any way. This is the animation that they use to demonstrate how strong their condom is. They fucking poke holes in it. You know, just one hole makes a condom worthless. Real condom companies probably design them to tear if punctured so that people know that it’s compromised and needs to be replaced, like how gasoline’s distinct smell is actually artificially added in so people know there’s a leak. Great innovation: lets make condoms less safe.

"It's the first major condom innovation in 70 years." [Citation Needed]
“It’s the first major condom innovation in 70 years.” [Citation Needed]
By the way, this project’s page mentions that these things have an internal hexagonal pattern over and over. I’m pretty sure that I don’t want some sort of hexagon pattern rubbing up and down my shaft while I furiously thrust in and out of my life-sized Revy bodypillow.

The rewards that you get at a high price point on most crowdfunding campaigns tends to be stupid or stupidly overpriced, and Lelo Hex is no exception:

LELO HEX Rewards HEX Files One Giant Leap For Mankind So if you’re a high-roller with what can only be described as a worrying interest in condoms, you can pay $1000 for what amounts to some shit with the LELO HEX logo on it (most of which I’m guessing will just be condoms), and a tour of a factory that you could probably get for free, and that you have to pay travel and boarding expenses to see. You also get to meet with the guy who came up with this idea (not Charlie Sheen), which frankly just sounds depressing.

If you happen to have $1,000,000 and hate money, that reward level earns you glass molds for an untested product. But they won’t just give it to anyone, nope, you’ve gotta be one of the three major condom brands to get in on this. No mom and pop condom brands or smaller brands, it’s gotta be one of the big 3. Also notice how there three slots available for that reward. I’d give them points for optimism, but frankly they don’t deserve any credit.

%22There's a reason why honeycombs are the shape they are, and why snake scales move the way tehy do.%22

You might be interested to know that snake scales are not in fact hexagonal. They vary in shape based on the species of snake and where they are on the snake’s body, and can even vary from snake to snake. I literally learned this from googling “snake scales hexagonal”. Are they being lazy or intentionally misinforming people to sell shitty condoms? You decide!

%22As was the case upon Charlie's announcement of his HIV condition in November 2015, conversations on condom usage and HIV shot up as much as 400%, despite a steady decline in interest since 2006%22

I’m calling bullshit. First off, I want to know how they’re counting how often people are discussing HIV and condom usage, and second off, I doubt that people were really reassessing their stances on public health policy and safe sex when they heard that Charlie Sheen has HIV. I think most people’s reaction was something along the lines of: “Not that surprising, really”. It actually begs the question if Charlie Sheen got HIV from unprotected sex or sharing needles. Maybe the next invention from LELO HEX can be a syringe with magical, HIV-repelling hexagon shaped needles.

Oh, and this project is deceiving its customers too. Near the top of the project’s page they say this:

%22WHAT'S THE SECRET BEHIND HEX?%22

Then later on, near the bottom of the page in the FAQ section, there’s this:

%22Is this the first graphene condom? No.%22

So in other words, they decided not to make the condoms out of graphene. While I understand that things may change over time and that projects may run into difficulties, I believe that this campaign is being dishonest.  There is no excuse for not editing the page to reflect the actual materials that the condom is made of. The part that I quoted isn’t even an image, it’s just plain text. It would take under a minute for them to fix it. (Indiegogo allows you to edit the text on campaigns after they’ve gone live.) The way the video appears to cut off partway through is also troubling. I believe that at one point it may have made a claim about the product that is not true (likely that it’s made of graphene) and somebody had to edit it at the absolute last minute, which explains the jarringly abrupt end. I don’t have any concrete evidence to back this suspicion up, but the bizarre way that a video with such a high production value just cuts off and the way that the campaign’s creators seem to be trying to bait and switch people with promises of a novel material make me think that is the most likely explanation.

LELO HEX tries to intrude in an industry already championed by trustworthy brands and real engineers who make real innovations. It takes advantage of the public’s fascination with the hexagon and its association with high-tech science fiction by merging it with sex and celebrities. The only innovation here seems to be in taking people’s money. Stay far away.