The condom that’s hard to break has shattered its crowdfunding goal.
The first time I saw the HEX, I was sitting in a conference room across from LELO founder Filip Sedic. The condom, an eggshell-coloured piece of latex, looked pretty ordinary. Sedic then punched his hand inside the condom and fanned his fingers, revealing a faint, hexagonal pattern etched into the material. The latex clung around his fingernails, but didn’t break.
He grabbed a pen from the table and tried to puncture it again.
“People say, ‘I don’t use it because it might break.’ Give me a break,” Sedic said. “But people will still use that as an excuse. We have to make sure to eliminate all of these excuses.”
There’s a correlation between disliking condoms and leaving them in the nightstand. In the largest-ever nationwide study on sexuality in 2010, 45% of men and 63% of women reported not using a condom in their most recent sexual encounter with a “new acquaintance,” according to Indiana University. Such negligence can invite a host of complications, including disease.
Eight years ago, LELO — which is awarded for its upscale line of sex toys and vibrators — set out to make a condom that men would actually want to use. Or at the very least, tolerate.
LELO completely reengineered the mould used to make rubbers, creating a honeycomb lattice-like pattern inside the condom that makes it less likely to slip or tear, according to Sedic.
Sedic explained that when pressure is applied to the HEX condom, it stretches in six directions from any point. This flexibility makes it more forgiving of tension. If you poke a hole in it, the damage stays contained in the single cell. It doesn’t shatter like traditional condoms.
According to a company spokesperson, 73% of backers across the crowdfunding campaigns were male and 27% were female.
It’s also worth noting nearly 70% of backers were millennials, which you might chalk up to the fact that crowdfunding campaigns are especially popular among younger internet users. However, their enthusiasm might be indicative of something more: LELO made the condom sexy with its redesign.
The condom’s all-over-white packaging wouldn’t look out of place on shelves in an Apple store. And the marketing video that introduced it has helped. Electronic music plays over animations of the condom. It has the intensity of a trailer scored by Hans Zimmer.
The HEX retails online for $19.90 for a 12-pack or $34.90 for a 36-pack. A LELO spokesperson tells Business Insider the company will start selling in retail stores around the world soon.
Whatever their reason for buying, more young people wearing condoms can only be a good thing.