Talking about sex isn’t exactly in the comfort zone of most teenagers. Luca Wheeler, Charlotte Sedaka and Jed Siegel are exceptions. They want to talk about sex and they want others to as well. Although under state law the trio isn’t old enough to legally have sex, they’ve formed a condom company aimed at provoking conversation among their peers.
Luca came up with the idea for Condom with a Conversation after a meaningful talk with his grandma and mom at the end of his freshman year of high school.
It was the height of the #MeToo movement when the headlines were filled with accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against numerous high-profile people.
“I just didn’t understand where everything stood in the era of #MeToo,” says Luca, who attends Oakwood School. “A lot of light was being shed on the negatives and consequences of consent. Nobody was offering up a solution or an explanation of how to go about it that makes everybody comfortable and happy. I started doing research and realized that the best way to make everyone comfortable about what was happening was just by communicating.”
Charlotte Sedaka, Luca Wheeler and Jed Siegel
He called up his two longtime friends, Charlotte and Jed, to suss out his idea. They liked it, and the trio joined forces for Condom with a Conversation.To fund their start-up, the high school juniors pitched friends and family and sold stake in the company. The condoms, with eye-catching packaging emblazoned with phrases like, YES?, LET’S TALK and ARE YOU GOOD? make the message crystal clear. The students created the website and a short promotional film themselves.
“Our goal isn’t to change the definition of consent or change how it should or shouldn’t be perceived, but instead just provoke the conversation,” explains Charlotte, who attends Viewpoint School.
While the philosophy behind the company encourages people to have meaningful dialogue before deciding whether or not to have safe, consensual sex, the condoms they’re sourcing are 100% FDA-approved.
To kick off their endeavor, they’re selling the condoms online and they’re donating 50,000 of them to college campuses across the United States.
“Most will be going to fraternities, where there’s been problems with consent in the past. Our hope is to promote a new dialogue,” shares Jed, who also goes to Oakwood.
While the three founders are having provocative discussions about sex, they willingly share their own truth—all are virgins.
“I never thought it was something I would broadcast, but it felt personally important that people knew where I was coming from,” explains Luca.
He adds, “Maybe people can understand our fears and start having their own discussions. If I have to tell people I’m a virgin to do that, I’m OK with that.”