What does it take to reinvent the condom? 70 years of capitalism? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a few billion dollars? How about an Indiegogo campaign and Charlie Sheen?
Yep, that should do it. And by, “do it,” I mean raise just shy of $400K. The campaign wraps up tonight with a rock-solid bankroll from over 15,000 (anti-bare)backers (#SoManyPunWins).
Condoms Finally Got Some Love
On June 13, the reimagined LELO HEX condom hit Indiegogo with a video testimonial from Charlie Sheen, who recently divulged his own battle with condoms. I mean HIV. “The condom hasn’t changed for 70 years,” Charlie Sheen declares, “Until now.”
If you feel uneasy trusting a condom testimonial from a man whose sexual history resembles The Great Khan’s, LELO included a reassuring disclaimer:
“We know Charlie may be a divisive choice for many, but it’s also a bold one, and in the fight against STIs we need to make an impact.”
And lest you think Charlie Sheen is the only strange millionaire in this equation, here’s Swedish founder Filip Sedic wielding his condom on top of a toy lightsaber.
Yes he looks like he’s about to lick it. Yes he looks like he’s in a TIE Fighter. Yes he’s wearing an ascot. These aren’t the heroes we asked for, but they certainly know how to grab our attention.
The secret to the HEX condom is its design. In addition to latex, the condom has a hexagonal scaffolding made from the strongest material known to science: graphene. It’s the Wolverine of condoms, with the real-world equivalent of an adamantium skeleton.
The HEX graphene’s hexagonal shape mimics the honeycomb patterns found in nature. Evolution proves time and time again that this design is strong, symmetrical, and flexible. In a condom, these compartments can actually mold and conform to the user. The graphene is also raised on the inside to prevent slippage. That means it’s ribbed for my pleasure—BIG selling point.
Oh, and there’s also this selling point:
Dear God that’s hard to watch. But I get the message: if you like having sex while crocheting a scarf, you need this condom.
Reload For Round Two
This isn’t the first time millionaires have tried to create the Condom of Tomorrow. In March of 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation called for new ideas, eventually nominating 11 condoms that demonstrated forward-thinking design. Some of them used nanomaterials, like the graphene found in HEX. Another inventor used a life-like elastic polymer called superelastomers derived from left-over cow tendons. It’s an ironic return to the “leather condoms” our ancestors used.
The Gates Foundation also nominated a condom that emphasized easy application by turning their rigid packaging into a set of handlebars. This idea had already gone viral several years beforehand, and I’ve personally tried to order them unsuccessfully for a while. They’ve since gone out of business. Like many of Gates nominations, they aren’t easy to find or buy.
I Like It When You Talk To Me
Hopefully products and conversations like this make it less shameful because STIs are on the rise. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 million people contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) every day. There are also sexually transmitted individuals (a.k.a. Babies) to worry about. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that 49% of total births were unintentional.
Whether or not a slightly more effective condom will persuade that 49% is anyone’s guess. And I’m anyone, so my guess is probably not. In order for a revolution on par with The Pill to happen, it has to be even easier.
Vasalgel is one company that’s thinking outside of the latex box. They’ve been working on a male contraceptive that is currently in human trials. It’s a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens; plugging the hole instead of covering the hose. A procedure like this would last for years, reducing the number of critical decisions you need to make on your way to the bedroom. Because let’s be honest: we’re not exactly reliable in those moments.
But until Vasalgel hits the market in 2017, Charlie and Filip have our backs. HEX condoms will retail for about $1.60 a pop. Those who got in on the funding will have saved themselves 30% on the cost, and more importantly, will have gained access to various incentives—like gift cards for the LELO store, where you can buy a 24-karat gold plated vibrator worth $15,000. Can you see now why Sheen and this guy get along? Let’s hope their combined tiger blood is enough to kick off the condom 2.0 revolution. They’ve earned themselves quite the head start (#NoSuchThingAsTooManyPuns).
Feature image courtesy of nydailynews.com
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