SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — Often times "Yes" is an answer, but 17-year-old Charlotte Sedaka is posing it as a question that she hopes unfolds into a candid conversation about a typically taboo topic — consensual sex.
“I think a lot of times [consent] is put up to be this very anticipated awkward conversation,” Charlotte said.
Middle school was probably the first time Charlotte and her friends Luca Wheeler and Jed Siegel touched a condom. It was in sex ed, learning about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, but they say conversations surrounding consensual sex were left undiscussed.
Charlotte said, “We’d go home and see all these stories about the Me Too Movement, so after that we realized we want to create something that could promote safe sex and consent.”
They came up with "Condom with a Conversation," a condom packaged in what somewhat resembles an origami fortune teller and unfolds as an ice breaker to make it less uncomfortable talking about consent.
Wheeler,18, never predicted he’d be an entrepreneur by 16-years-old, especially not in the condom industry. He says their age worked to their benefit, being able to relate to teenagers as they navigate through this awkward phase.
“People at the college or high school level, they’re inexperienced and immature. There's a lot of hesitancy and confusion," Wheeler said. "People will sometimes neglect to have important conversations."
Last year, Charlotte produced a short documentary about the importance of consent and it’s part of what earned her the 2021 Presidential Scholar Award. It's one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.
Charlotte said, “That validation to know that I am doing something right and that I'm getting things done was a nice thing to have before I go off to college.”
As she, and her friends get ready to embark on different collegiate journeys, they’re hoping to expand their business as consent and safe sex advocates on their campuses.
The teens recently partnered with UC Davis to get their brand on campus this fall to promote safe and consensual sex.