Lelo, a London-based sex-toy company, has signed up actor Charlie Sheen as the brand ambassador for its new condom product, Lelo Hex.
Sheen, who revealed in a TV interview last year that he was HIV-positive, stars in a video for the condom.
In it, the “Two and a Half Men” star talks about an issue some people have with using condoms.
“I think people associate the word ‘condom’ with less pleasure, with less connection,” he says. “What may feel like five seconds of inconvenience, or a halted, or thwarted moment can absolutely prevent a lifetime of potential grief and suffering.”
He continues that a lot of people hold the “fantasy belief” that they will never contract a sexually transmitted disease or infection.
“I pretty much felt the same way: That’s stuff for other people,” Sheen says.
Sheen goes on to talk about the reaction people had to the news that he had HIV: Web searches went up, and he says his confession opened up a dialog about the virus. Lelo says on its website that it happened at a time when there had been a “steady decline in interest” in conversations about condom use since 2006.
“That was powerful, and when that happened I was proud to have turned something that seemed so completely negative and life-disruptive into change and healing,” Sheen says. “Just to put words on it is empowering and is a sense of relief.”
Sheen said in an interview last year that he publicly acknowledged that he had HIV in an attempt to stop people from blackmailing him into paying them to keep their silence about his disease. He revealed that he had paid out “enough to take it into the millions.”
In the Lelo video, which was produced by the creative agency Alpha Century, Sheen suggests that discovering he had the disease has led to him cut back on his rock-and-roll lifestyle.
In an interview with “Extra’s” AJ Calloway, Sheen said he was feeling healthier: “Exercise, diet … don’t go on benders anymore, don’t drink as much … It was the combination of a lot of the self-loathing a lot of the shame behind it that I just wanted to keep myself divorced from reality … I just woke up one day and said, ‘I deserve better.'”
Sheen also says he has tried the condom, though he is not currently dating.
The Lelo Hex differs from normal condoms because it has a hexagonal web of panels threaded throughout the latex. The company says this type of structural design allows the condom to be thin but strong like graphene.
The Lelo Hex isn’t yet available. Lelo is crowdfunding the project and is aiming to attract 10,000 to get the launch off the ground – pledging anything from £9 ($12.75) for a 12-pack to a £799 package that includes a Lelo gift bag and the chance to meet the company’s founder at the company’s headquarters.
The project had 594 backers at the time of writing.