Consider this situation. You are having sex with your partner, and near the end, your partner suddenly looks into your eye and tells you something which you have been often seen in your nightmares. “I think the condom has broken”.
This broken condom is an extremely serious issue since it could be the difference between Netflix and Chill, and spending an entire evening anxiously hoping that everything works in your favour.
To prevent such situations from happening, LELO, a Swedish company, is now entering the business of manufacturing condoms. They were founded nearly 20 years ago, and their expertise has earned them the nickname “Apple of the pleasure products industry”.
They have invented the HEX condom, which at first look looks like a normal condom –a whitish piece of latex which unrolls to form a phallic shape. However, notice it closely and you will understand why it has been named HEX. You will find that a honeycomb lattice with a hexagon structure is present on the material.
Condom, which has been the best method to protect one against STDs and unwanted pregnancies for over a century, urgently required some modifications. Technology improved significantly in the past century, but the latex condom hasn’t really changed a lot since its invention in the 1920s.
Filip Sedic, the founder of LELO, was sitting in a conference room in San Francisco. He put his hand inside the condom, and tried to apply a lot of pressure; the latex seemed to thing around his fingernail edges but didn’t break. Next, he used a pen to try and puncture it.
In 2007, a study was published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour where a hundred college students were surveyed about their sex lives. It was found out that both genders, who didn’t use condoms, enjoyed a much more sexual life.
A nationwide study was done in 2010 where it was found that around 63% of women and 45% of men said that they do not use condoms during sex. This could lead to growth of STDs along with many other diseases.
Sedic decided to change this notion–an engineer for 8 years, he thought of building a condom which men would actually prefer to use.
Sedic added that the condom’s design has hardly changed in a hundred years. That is a shame considering how much technology has advanced nowadays.
LELO experimented with various materials for condoms, including a strong polymer called polyurethane. However, if a company wants to bring a new condom to the US, it has to be approved by the FDA which can take decaded, and also its performance should be as good as latex.
That is why, they didn’t change the latex material, but instead modified the structure.
Sedic says, “We weren’t sure initially how to change it, since the structure is so simple. But that is when we made a breakthrough.”
The main manufacturing process involves dipping a mold shaped like a penis into a container full of liquid latex, and remove it after it has dried. LELO decided to modify the mold, to include a honeycomb pattern. Their process included dipping it thrice, once to first fill the impressions, and then twice to cover the mold. After it has dried and taken off, it appears thicker, darker with a honeycomb pattern.
When pressure is applied, the condom stretches in six directions from a particular point, thus spreading most of the pressure. Also, another unique point is that if any one cell is damaged, it doesn’t affect the rest of the condom, unlike traditional condoms which completely break.
When Sedic was asked how effective the HEX condom really is, he only gave anecdotal evidence to prove his point.
Another issue of the normal condom is that most people don’t want to wear them if those make them uncomfortable. And this is another area that the HEX condom is trying to improve upon.
Nowadays, when you go to a drug store to purchase condoms, you probably find condoms from numerous companies offering different variations such as “barely there,” “double ecstasy” etc. Sedic joked that it is literally impossible to choose the perfect one and even after trying all of them, you can never get the proper feeling. And this is what the HEX condom solves.
The packaging for the HEX condom comprises of a white box with words written in black; the style resembles that of Apple. The size of the box pretty much makes it clear what kind of a product it is, still its ultra-modern packaging is something you actually wouldn’t have any problem in carrying round in public.
However, this kind of packaging and modern product is expensive. A pre-order on a website called Indiegogoshows the price of these condoms at $9.90 for a 3-pack, $19.90 for a 12-pack, and $34.90 for a 36-pack. You can also buy them online, and they will soon be made available at all drug stores.
To compare its price with the ordinary condoms, Trojan Ultra Thin condoms are priced at $13 for a 36 pack on Amazon.
One of the main reasons behind this increased price is the manufacturing process of the HEX condoms which is around 2.5 times more expensive, but Sedic claims that the main reason is exclusivity.
Sedic believes that the main problem is that people haven’t really used such condoms earlier, so it will take time to transition to using the HEX condoms. However, if a product looks modern and is priced higher, people think that it must be good and usually buy it.
LELO doesn’t consider Trojan and Durex, the leading condom brands to be its competitors. In fact, Sedic hopes that they are inspired by LELO and follow in its footsteps.
Sedic finally says, “Its not really a choice. It’s a matter of protecting yourself – a choice between life and death.”