I honestly don’t think there’s been a condom as controversial as the Lelo Hex. The Hex raised eyebrows early with its claims to innovation and a few PR slip-ups (the most infamous of which has to be the comment that the ‘Respect’ indented on the condom’s base section means “Respect the man who wears it”).
In addition to this many bloggers have voiced their concerns about Lelo’s controversial decision to have Charlie Sheen act as the figure head for the Hex Condom. Given Sheen’s past many feel understandably hurt, betrayed, or outraged by this decision. I could never do all of these voices justice but thankfully the ever-candid Dangerous Lilly has compiled many of these posts in her own blog post, which you should read if you’re interested.
However, love the Hex or hate it there’s no denying that it has made an impact. With over 600,000 packets sold the Lelo Hex is having a measurable impact on people’s decision to embrace safer sex practices. Lelo considers it to be the world’s most talked about condom and it’s really hard to dispute that, considering the heavy media buzz around the condom’s launch and continued success in its initial pre-order phase.
As someone who attended the Hex launch party and saw the buzz that these condoms (and Mr. Sheen) generated first hand I was eager to try the condoms themselves. After all if 600,000+ packets have been sold then I definitely have a duty to you to help you decide whether or not to join the hype train yourselves. With that in mind allow me to present an impartial review of the Lelo Hex Condoms, judging them purely on their quality and performance.
The Lelo Hex Condoms
The Lelo Hex Condoms market themselves as a re-engineered condom for a new age of safer sex practices, however it is perhaps more accurate to say that the Lelo Hex provides a re-branding. Don’t get me wrong, this re-branding is much-needed. With Only 60% of sexually active teenagers using condoms in the US, 15% of under-25s choosing to skip them in the UK and 440,000 diagnoses of STIs in the UK in 2014 alone condoms continue to be one of the most safest and yet stigmatized forms of contraceptive (although the female condom still holds first place for many).
It seems a lot of people still hold the trusty condom at arm’s length, clinging to old excuses and (in some cases) legitimate concerns. It doesn’t fit right/feel comfortable. It might just slide off or break anyway. It doesn’t feel as good.
That last point is a big one. None of us want to feel like our sexual pleasure is being diminished and the notion that certain condoms can buffer sensation isn’t wholly untrue (it’s still no excuse but, yes, I’ll admit that condoms cause a different sensation during sex).
It is with these stigmas in mind that the Lelo Hex has been designed and it works as an effective counter against pretty much every argument lobbied against it.
Inspired by graphene, one of the thinnest yet strongest structural designs known to science (according to Lelo, at least), a honeycomb design runs down the entire shaft of the Lelo Hex Condoms, stopping only to smooth out at the tip. This honeycomb structure allows the condom to wrap more intuitively around the user’s shaft and essentially move and shift around with them. This means that unless a user has very specific sizing needs then the Lelo Hex will feel as if it provides a more tailored fit. “It doesn’t fit right” = No excuse.
This honeycomb structure also allow the Lelo Hex to be very strong and durable, to the point where minimal tears or pricks will be contained to a single area rather than causing the entire condom to tear. In terms of the positives this means that even in the event of a break the skin-on-skin and fluid contact has been minimized which helps keep the risk of pregnancy or STI transmission even lower in theory. The Hex’s structure also means that the more you tug on this condom the less likely it is to slide off. Think of an old-fashioned finger trap except less terrifying. Because of this the Lelo Hex is very unlikely to slide off during use, providing extra security and peace of mind. “It might slide off/break” = No excuse.
And yet despite this intriguing durability of the Lelo Hex, Lelo have still managed to make this condom impressively thin. Granted it’s not the thinnest condom on the market (coming in at 0.045mm) but it is right up there with some of the better extra-thin feel brands. Lelo also boasts that the Hex allows for heat transference making the whole experience feel more natural too and I can personally vouch for this. “It doesn’t feel as good” = No excuse.
Now I want to be completely, 100% honest with you guys. No holding back. I’ve tried a few thinner, ‘invisible’ feel condoms now. Enough at least to consider myself well-versed with what’s on offer at the moment, and the Lelo Hex is, hands down, the best one I’ve experienced to date.
This actually kind of baffled me a bit, as I was expecting these condoms to feel nice but didn’t expect them to feel quite so…game changing. The Lelo Hex isn’t just reinventing society’s attitudes towards the condom, it reinvented my perspective on what condoms could provide for me.
During use the Lelo Hex feels almost non-existent; as light as a feather and almost completely undetectable. In fact the only reason that I knew Mr. Peaches had a condom on was because of the subtle texture that the honeycomb design provides. It’s the most delicate of textures in so many ways and yet it provides that extra bit of oomph to enhance every thrust during use. Warmth effortlessly transferred during use and there was no sense of a rubbery sliding motion (which some condoms can provide). It all felt so intimate and raw, and yet because Mr. Peaches was wearing the Hex I knew that we were secure and protected.
Mr. Peaches found the experience better. For him the near-invisible qualities of the Lelo Hex were there but he could also detect the honeycomb texture much more too as it wrapped around his shaft and hugged in to place with every motion. Far from break immersion for him this texture was an extra element that he definitely recommended.
I can also safely say that the Lelo Hex Condoms didn’t budge during use until we wanted to remove them. What more could an overly-precautious sex blogger want?
Well, amazingly, there is actually more.
While Mr. Peaches and I like using thin condoms one of his biggest complaints (and a mild annoyance for me) is just how awkward and finicky some of them can be to roll down. But to both of our surprise the Lelo Hex is as easy to apply as any thicker condom. It rolls down in a fluid motion without a single interruption before proceeding to stay firmly in place and providing that not-there-but-still-rocking-your-cock-with-texture feeling. I honestly couldn’t be happier.
Needless to say every time we used the Lelo Hex condoms we had an incredibly satisfying experience. But despite singing the Hex’s praises I do have a few niggles and gripes that I can’t help but mentioning.
The biggest of which has to be the iconic anti-braking feature of the Hex.
Yes, on the one hand it is fantastic that the Lelo Hex contains any damage and I’ve already given reasons as to why. But, on the other, this mitigation of tear damage means that you could damage your Lelo Hex Condom, not even notice it (because the Lelo Hex doesn’t tear like a normal condom would) and continue using what is at that point, in effect, a broken condom.
That idea unnerves me almost as much as seeing the pin-pricking gif that Lelo has provided. Yes, I understand the demonstrative premise of the .Gif but I can’t help but wonder if this means that some people will start piercing their condoms and then using them as if to prove a point home-science style. To do so would be monumentally stupid and, of course, would be the user’s fault, but humans as a whole aren’t generally known for being beacons of logic and reason.
While Lelo boasts that these condoms are game changing they also are, essentially, still the same old condom design as before but with a honeycomb structure. They’re still made of latex (so can’t be used by allergy sufferers), still don’t come in different sizes (so can’t truly cater to everyone), and still rely on the same old formula, just with a new twist. I don’t know if this is a true strike against the Lelo Hex Condoms themselves—as it’s very much a case of expectation vs. reality—but it’s worth noting.
However overall these niggles do feel like just that in comparison to the quality and performance that these condoms provide. My biggest legitimate downside to these condoms is that, at £15.90 for a pack of 12, the Lelo Hex Condoms feel like a rare treat rather than something that I would buy as my go-to condom. This is, perhaps, the most upsetting aspect of a condom that I trying to counteract the avoidance of condoms among certain groups yet which prices itself as something that only the socially affluent will seriously consider purchasing on a regular basis.
Criticisms aside there is no doubt in my mind that the Lelo Hex Condoms are the best latex condoms that I have personally used to date.
If price were no issue I would make these condoms my go-to in a heartbeat and revel in the closeness, the warmth, and the pleasure-enhancing qualities that they illicit from every use. These condoms undeniably provided me with the closest to ‘naked-feel’ that I’ve ever experienced while never once making me feel apprehensive about their strength or durability.
That being said price is a bit of a stickler for me and I do feel like the Hex Condoms could do with being a little more accessible because, honestly, I love these condoms and I want everyone to get a chance to try them if their personal preference/ethics allows.