“Love is a losing game” sang Amy Winehouse in 2006.
Whether your sentimental status is currently on the same page as her anguishing words or not, you must feel it coming too—the dreadful Valentine’s Day. And if love is a losing game, Valentine’s Day is, without a doubt, the lamest one ever. The festivity has the reputation of being a materialistic celebration of monogamous and heterosexual traditional couples, and fairly so. In other words, Valentine’s Day is the feast of love’s many stereotypes, not Saint Valentine’s Feast.
In order to break free from Valentine’s Day traditional outcomes and survive this heart-shaped day that feels like a week for most of us, I shortlisted five sex tech products that will improve your love life, whether you’re coupled-up, single, or somewhere in between. Each of these products and devices will not only make your sex life and relationships more festive, but these might even open up your spectrum of pleasure by breaking the boundaries and taboos surrounding it and by empowering you to feel more comfortable with your sexuality. Okay, I’ll stop teasing you now, here we go.
1. The Osé, and all things Lora DiCarlo
This is a fundamental one, and not only because it was the sex tech company’s first device, but because it is amazing. Osé uses micro-robotics inspired by human movements to give its users a full-bodied climax. How? By aiming for both clitoral and G-spot orgasms simultaneously. The award-winning robotic massager designed for hands-free orgasms made the headlines in 2019 after getting banned from CES.
Shortly after that, DiCarlo’s founder Lora Haddock DiCarlo fought the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and rewrote the rules to create a safer and more inclusive environment at CES. This gave sex tech the space and recognition it deserves. This year, Lora DiCarlo introduced its two additional devices at CES 2020: the Baci, a “microrobotic pleasure device that simulates the feel and motion of the human lips and tongue,” and the Onda, a product which replicates the movements of human fingers.
So even if the Osé isn’t for you, don’t stress, Lora DiCarlo has plenty of other high-end choices.
2. OMGYes subscription
Not all sex tech comes in the shape of a vibrator. For those who are interested in discovering more about sexual pleasure, female orgasm, or just to expand their sex and body education, OMGyes is the right platform for you. This website merges academic research with catchy insights on the universe of sexuality, providing subscribers with two seasons of episodes covering new innovative investigations presented through engaging videos.
Because, at the end of the day, pleasure is all about knowing your body.
3. The Lioness
The Lioness is that one product that blurs the line between sex tech and digital health. By using AI and data visualisation, this vibrator delivers way more than just orgasms: it provides users with all the information required to know more about their orgasm’s patterns. The Lioness’ sensors track pressure, tension and temperature and lets users access the information via the app that comes with it. Charts will show repetitive patterns, forwarding the understanding of female sexual pleasure through data-based technology.
4. Interactive sex toys
For those who are in a long-distance relationship, I haven’t forgotten about you. Interactive sex toys could help you bridge the geographical gap. Regardless of the distance, many of Lovense’s products allow couples to have long-distance sex by connecting both sex toys via Bluetooth. Once the partners are both online and active on the app, one of the two can send a notification to start the session.
The toys respond to the person’s movements and send feedback to their partner. This way, one has the impression of feeling the other person’s touch from a distance (the whole practice can be accompanied by a video call or texts). In case of privacy concerns: all data that passes through Lovense’ servers are fully encrypted, so go for it.
5. XConfessions subscription
Everyone loves PornHub and its genius marketing strategy, but if this year’s Valentine’s Day is about expanding your understanding of sex and relationships, it might be good to subscribe to alternative film platforms too––you know, for research.
Famous director and producer in the porn industry Erika Lust started XConfessions in 2013 as an online space for people to share their sexual confessions, but over the years, it has grown into a global community of like-minded people seeking inclusive and varied erotica film.
Today, the website has organically grown into a platform where filmmakers, performers, and artists turn people’s sexual confessions into explicit short movies. If someone’s anonymous confession is picked to be turned into a film, the person gets rewarded with a free access pass to the site. XConfessions is a creative way of exploring pornography while keeping this gigantic industry challenged and diverse.
Based on this list, it looks like love doesn’t have to be a losing game after all.
The sex tech industry is booming, and with it come many positive as well as negative aspects. While some people are receiving these new changes with open arms, others keep a guarded approach to them. Why? Well, because some of these technologies might alter the way we have real relationships, and how we interact with potential partners. This is the case of Virtual Mate, a virtual partner aimed at heterosexual male users (for now at least) that comes with a high tech fleshlight. Could this be the future of intimacy or has sex tech gone too far?
Described by some as “the sex tech industry’s most ambitious project,” Virtual Mate is the first virtual intimacy system that combines realistic adult gameplay with an advanced, sensor-based masturbation sleeve—also known as a fleshlight. The virtual girlfriend comes with an adult game, where users can put themselves in any kind of situation they want. Pick the story mode if you want a drawn-out love affair in a picturesque hotel in Paris. If you’re in a hurry, just select the mode for a quickie.
The Core is the main element of Virtual Mate. It is a wireless, Bluetooth-enabled masturbator that includes real-time motion tracking, and a sensitive internal sensor to give ‘feedback’ to the Virtual Mate video game. The game comes with a main model called Shelia, a white, busty woman, ready for any kind of sex. She comes with a database of animations, facial expressions, and responses to every type of thrust.
The Virtual Mate can be used on a smartphone, a tablet, a computer and with a VR headset. Once the player turns on the Core, slides it over his erection, the realistic 3D model responds. Because the animations are based on the player’s movement and ways of having sexual relationships, each experience is supposed to be different for everyone.
Screen Shot spoke to Jeff Dillon, the CEO of Virtual Mate, about what this sex tech innovation means for the future of relationships, and what’s next on the company’s agenda. “Our goal is to create an experience so real it will be hard to tell what is real and what isn’t. This starts with a mental connection to the Virtual Mate character and the more personal we can make it, the better the mental connection,” Dillon shared. In his mind, anyone owning a Virtual Mate will soon be able to create their own perfect sexual fantasy—something that sounds both exciting and somehow worrying.
On its Twitter account, the company is currently running a contest where users can vote for who they’d like to see Virtual Mate create as its new avatars—from Kim Kardashian to pornstars. When asked about whether he ever worries about how Virtual Mate could influence the way we behave in real life relationships, Dillon admits that he simply doesn’t. Sharing where the idea came from in the first place, he says that “One of the reasons we came up with this concept was because my wife had a difficult pregnancy and post-birth, so it impacted our sex life. Because the Virtual Mate character is not a real person, my wife doesn’t feel like it is cheating, and she isn’t threatened by a digital character.”
Although Dillon makes a fair point—after all a virtual ‘girlfriend’ is not real—the sense of attachment that could develop over time between a user and the virtual partner could still cause some to become jealous. It could even affect a user’s ability to connect with real potential partners. Dillon explains that he wants to “fill a void where traditional relationships break down,” because “traditional relationships are not for everyone.” In other words, Virtual Mate would be there for users as an alternative relationship and sexual release. And isn’t that what makes this technology so strange, the idea that your partner might not need you that much for the intimate aspects of your relationship?
No one has the answer to that question just yet, as only time will tell. In the meantime, Virtual Mate is already working on expanding its reach to more users. “We are already in research and development for a product for women, which will be a haptic silicone dildo that will simulate the male erection and get harder the more aroused the Virtual Mate character gets. The silicone dildo will also be able to thrust in and out while changing speeds and motion,” Dillon explained. The company is also exploring lesbian and gay options, for the Core as well as the available virtual partners.
The possibilities for this new technology and the many concepts that could derive from it are endless. Dillon said that he and his company “are getting in front of this market, and intend to lead the way in virtual product capabilities.” The future of intimacy is here, and it’s as mind-blowing and scary as it sounds.