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Sex toy startup LELO gives the condom a design-savvy makeover

TechCrunch TechCrunch 13/06/2016 Sarah Buhr

Stylish sex toy maker LELO is introducing something to go along with its pleasure-centered machinery today – condoms.

There’s already a mind-boggling amount of prophylactics readily available at your local corner store, but what’s the difference between any of them? “Zero!” says LELO founder Filip Sedic.

His sex toys launched to much enthusiasm over a decade ago and Sedic has been introducing pleasure producing products ever since. The company’s newest brand, LELO HEX, is a condom utilizing innovative technology to make them stronger, longer-lasting and thinner (for his pleasure).

“You want something with a good feel or you want something super strong. That’s the choice and sorry, but I don’t think you have a good feel if you put condoms on top of one another,” Sedic said of the current state of the condom industry.

And those limited choices leads to a continued fall in usage worldwide, Sedic contends. In other words, men don’t like using something that dulls their enjoyment.

Some might see it as a lame excuse – and safe sex is sexy btw – but if some men aren’t using condoms because there’s a problem with the structure then there’s a problem with getting them to use them.

So Sedic decided to do something about it by restructuring the way condoms are made. His hexagonal design is laid over the sheerest of latex material to create a razor-thin thin membrane, thus allowing the wearer to feel more friction and reduce both slippage and breakage during intercourse.

A brief history of the condom

A better condom is a lofty promise – prophylactics haven’t had much in the way of innovation for 70+ years.

For those of you wondering how condoms came to be and why a change is so significant – the first mention of condoms dates back to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but the first person ever recorded using one of these trusty rubbers was a 15th Century physician in Italy named Gabriele who was looking for a better way to prevent the most common sexually transmitted disease at the time, syphilis.

Then lots of folks started using homemade condoms from sheep guts and other animal innards to prevent pregnancy and disease. Sometime around the mid-19th to early 20th centuries major players like Durex and Trojan started mass producing these sheaths in rubber, but faster and cheaper and condoms became the best form of birth control in the Western world before the introduction of the pill.

And that brings us to today. “You are likely using the same, exact condom your grandfather used,” Sedic said.

Please, please me

The problem with the lack of change is a continued drop in use. Condoms still slip off, break during sex and lots of guys still complain they can’t feel much while wearing them. It’s why Bill Gates is offering $100,000 is anyone who can come up with a better condom says we have a condom predicament throughout the world.

Sedic hopes to change all that with the new design. He demonstrated the toughness of his condoms by putting one on over his fist and poking it with a pen.

“You see? Only one part here is open,” he said, pointing to a hexagon-shaped break in the condom.

I was left a little confused on how any break is okay but was told the new structure helps contain breakage to just one place, rather than the entire condom, which better protects you and your partner.

And, to Sedic’s point, it was hard to break the condom without a sharp object (I’ll assume none of you are going to be taking pens to your prophylactics right before sex).

Rubber Soul

Sedic is releasing his new condoms to the world today at $12 for a 12 pack (or a buck a pop). They’re still an all Latex deal, so sorry those of you with a Latex allergy, it’s still polyurethane, polyisoprene, or lamb intestine for you.

But the condom redesign is only part of Sedic’s company plan to bring better health products to market. He currently has several projects in the works involving everything from DNA to a toothbrush designed to better remove biofilm from your teeth. He also has a patent on a “personal massager with undulating arm” capable of simultaneously bending and vibrating.

Condoms are a good industry to focus on right now if you’re looking to change the world for the better. It’s not just one of the best ways we have to prevent pregnancy, but also STD’s and with the very serious and real danger posed by the Zika virus, a condom that doesn’t break or slip and feels more like second skin could better encourage use among men and their partners in affected areas.

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