How LELO promotes unsafe sex | Or, why you shouldn’t buy a Mona


With Christmas coming in just a few days, I’m officially calling it: this is the end of my holiday gift guide coverage. Instead, I’m moving on to Boxing Day sales – and talking about one brand that you shouldn’t buy from. (Spoiler alert: it’s LELO.)

Like high end makeup, high end sex toys are definitely luxury items, and a great sale can really help take the edge off of a hefty price tag. But no matter how good the sales get, LELO is one brand that I refuse to support. I was asked recently to expand on this, so here’s why.


How LELO became popular (and where their toys went wrong) 

Simply put, LELO was the first on the scene. When most brands were still churning out jelly dildos packaged in paper boxes, Lelo was making sleek, rechargeable silicone toys. They were one of the first brands to treat sex toys like luxury pieces, and at the time, it was awesome.

But here’s the thing: the market changed, and Lelo didn’t. 

Je Joue MiMi Soft vs Uma

Fun Factory started creating new sensations with their mechanics. We-Vibe invented the partner vibe. And Je Joue? Well, they made the Je Joue MiMi Soft, and my clit will be eternally grateful for that.

But Lelo just kept on making products with ABS plastic handles and buzzy vibrations. To this day, I still haven’t found a Lelo toy that I enjoy – I find their vibrations so grating that they hurt (and not in a fun way.)

On top of that, Lelo started floating bulky ripoffs and and poorly-built toys. Dangerous Lilly, one of my favourite sex toy blogs ever, covered this point so well that I’m going to point you to their blog post directly. The long and short of it? The paint on Lilly’s Isla chipped off (gross), the Tiani was just shit all around, and the Ida inspired one thought only: “Did they even test this with human genitals?”


Why I won’t buy from LELO 

If all of that isn’t enough, just wait! Because folks, THERE’S MORE. This is the train wreck that never ends.

Meet the Pino.


The Lelo Pino is, I shit you not, a cock ring designed for “the most demanding executives” who want more out of their “intimate investments.” It’s marketed exclusively to male bankers, and it’s sold with cufflinks and a money clip embossed with the phrase “Always Be Closing.” I cannot make this shit up. 

Epiphora, who is my sex blogging idol (and, incidentally, also my #hairgoals) has a truly excellent post on this if you’d like to read more. And no one is as funny as Piph is, so I really would encourage you to read their entire blog more.


Finally, let’s talk about the giant prophylactic elephant in the room: the Lelo Hex. Goddamn, you guys. The Hex.

The Hex is a condom made by Lelo with a marketing strategy so bad you almost wouldn’t believe that the actual product could be even worse… But somehow, it is. The spokesperson Lelo picked to represent the Hex is none other than Charlie Sheen, who (just in case you forgot) is:

  • A misogynist
  • A convicted domestic abuser
  • And, on that point, someone who has assaulted, threatened to kill, held at knifepoint, and literally shot his partners.


But wait. Remember how I said the Hex was somehow even worse than its marketing?

I wasn’t joking. One of Hex’s main selling points is the fact that it doesn’t tear if punctured, which looks super-slick in gif format and is also, incidentally, some of the dumbest shit I have ever seen. (My fellow bloggers Dizzy and Lorax agree!)

You know why condoms are usually made to tear if they rip or get a hole in them? Because you need to know about that immediately. That’s what lets you know that you’ve just been put at risk of things like incurable gonorrhea and accidental pregnancy. If it doesn’t tear, you could be exposed to an STD and have no idea, or become pregnant and not find out until it’s too late for Plan B.



What I’m doing about it

Aside from this post? Nothing – and that’s the whole point.

I will not be buying LELO products. I will not be accepting press samples of LELO products. I will not be signing onto partnerships with LELO. And I’d like to ask you to join me in this. 

I know that most sex toy shops can’t afford to drop a popular brand, but if you’re a sex blogger or consumer who can: please. Do this with me. Don’t recommend LELO products to your friends, family, or readers, and add disclaimers to your posts whenever LELO is mentioned.

Instead, take the opportunity to direct people to more people-positive companies like SheVibe, CAYA, BS Atelier, Je Joue, and L’Amourose. Those are just a few companies that I’ve shown love to recently, but there are so, so many more–and they’re just waiting to be discovered.

This post contains images from LELO. 

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    I mean, yes, to all of this post (good on you for putting it out there too), but like… CHARLIE SHEEN??? I'm so grossed out.

  • Kristina

    Wow. Not knowing about any of this and just enjoying my Nea, I've always liked Lelo, but this is hugely disappointing. Now that I know better I'll shop other brands.

  • Rae, I NEVER considered that the rebuildable condom would be a bad thing! Consider me enlightened! You so smaaaaart.

    • I can't take credit for this one, I'm afraid — I first heard about it from Lorax of Sex, if I'm not mistaken. I was so over the Hex as soon as Lelo announced Charlie Sheen as its spokesperson, but Lorax really helped bring the puncturing issue to my attention!

  • Well said Rae – thank you so much for putting this together! I haven't heard that much about Lelo but I'll know now what to avoid. The whole Charlie Sheen / and the Pino are so misogynistic – it's incomprehensible that anyone would support this company.

    • Thank you so much, Stephanie — that kind of feedback means the world to me. I'm so relieved to hear that I'm not alone in my utter disbelief at what Lelo has been promoting recently.

  • shireenplatt

    I had to hop over and read this post as soon as I saw it on your IG. Wow, just wow…you're right, you just can't make these shitz up. And Charlie Sheen?! Wtf…

    • Seriously. I have NO IDEA what was in the Lelo executives' heads when they made that call, but it can't have been good.

  • Thank you so much for this post. I threw up in my mouth a bit at various points (The Pino made me projectile vomit, but then I saw Charlie Sheen and I knew it was about to get so much worse…).

  • Gabriela

    And that guy is the one who was is soropositive and had sex with plenty without condom (and without telling them his condition). A nightmare.

    • Yup. That kind of exposure isn't just negligent, it's criminal. We should be using Charlie Sheen as an example of what NEVER to do, not handing him wads of cash in the name of "supporting women."

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