At a glitzy, science-themed affair last night, Lelo launched HEX; A re-engineered revolution in penis-wear, the first in 70 years, according to the white-coated beautiful people demonstrating the chequered condoms at the Lelo lab.
So named, presumably because the hexagonal design that’s layered within the latex; Something clever to do with physics that creates a super-strong and ultra- thin molecular structure, which means you can stick pins in HEX condoms and the puncture is contained (which seems a worrying innovation in false confidence to us). Still, you can fill HEX with water and squish them around and they spring back miraculously into shape – rather than burst like normal condoms (a blow to water-bomb makers everywhere).
But one wonders though if Lelo brand managers have properly researched the full meanings of HEX?
Because to put a hex on someone is not a good thing. And by employing Charlie Sheen as HEX ambassador, Lelo have clearly hexed themselves.
An outpouring of blogs from respected fellow sex-educators from Cara Sutra, Marvy Darling and Dangerous Lilly, plus tweet-challenges from @VioletBlue @kittystryker and a *WHOLE* lot more, have put something of a backlash on Lelo’s controversial condom champion.
For those not around in world of old-school sex toys, you may not get the enduring affection we feel for Lelo, despite perhaps recent dodgy moves. For ten long years, from when we burst onto the male-dominated scene in 1992 until Lelo came along in 2002, we were alone in our message that women deserved great quality toys, that spoke to their sexuality, their bodies and their aesthetic. It was lonely and difficult. We struggled to find female-pleasing toys for our customers and those we did find, we had to re-package out of their porn-ridden packaging.
We remember taking a call from fledgling Lelo, before they’d even launched, asking our advice about what appeals to women and when we were introduced to their first ever vibrator, Lily, we pretty much swooned with joy! A sensual lay-on shape, designed specifically for clitoral pleasure, beautifully packaged and best of all the first ever vibrator to be coated in silicone. We’d been making silicone dildos for the past 8 years and harping on about its superior sex-toy material qualities but until Lelo came along, silicone was resolutely ignored by vibrator-makers in favour of the phthalate-ridden cheaper alternative of PVC.
In the history of sex toys there lies a seismic line that divides everything into pre-Lelo and post-Lelo.
We’ll always have respect for our fellow pioneers who don’t just break the mould but completely smash it!
Which is why we decided to reserve judgment. So, we popped on our glad-rags and joined the throng, paps and splattering of reality TV stars (which we weren’t savvy enough to recognize, let alone get photo’s of – sorry!) to go and get our heads around Lelo sidling into bed with Charlie.
Certainly he has helped sell over 300,000 HEX condoms within 3 days, so, whilst Lelo’s ambassador choice may not be diplomatic, it’s certainly worked in terms of exposure – proof that all publicity is indeed good publicity ( at least in terms of shifting units)
After we’d sampled the laboratory-inspired cocktails, nibbled on microscopic canapés (maybe taking the science-theme a bit far there Lelo, as coming straight from work – we hungry!!) and been somewhat baffled by the word ‘respect’ carved on the base of the 6 foot HEX ice sculpture…
It was time to be officially introduced and Dr Christian Jessen (@DoctorChristian) gave an inspiring and compelling presentation – now there’s an impressive and passionate ambassador for sex positivism and safer-sex.
Followed by a film featuring CS full of uncomfortable pauses focussing on his HIV status.
And here’s a thing (maybe not *the* thing, but a thing certainly) Charlie Sheen is one of the most famous men to come out with HIV. His fame has been used to highlight an important issue, If you’ve every supported a friend through such a diagnosis, or if you were there two decades ago when HIV stigma, ignorance and apathy killed a whole generation of our gay brothers, then you’ll know this is not something to dismiss.
We’re hearing quite a bit of HIV-shaming with regards to Mr Sheen and can’t condone that.
But nor can we align or condone his well-publicised and totally unacceptable behaviour. Nor, more importantly ignore it.
Any innovation in condom design that makes men more inclined to wear them is something we’ll clearly support, which is why we will stock HEX.
But the Lelo goodie bags, containing LELO TIANI 24K GOLD (RRP £249) we’ve decided to auction to raise funds for our local woman’s refuge.
So thank you very much Charlie, for giving us the opportunity to make some small contribution to the victims of domestic abuse.