The art of lovemaking has been the subject of everything from Shakespearean sonnets to R&B crooners professing their skills beneath the sheets (We’re looking at you Trey Songz). But there truly must be something in the air when within one week of each other, two ambitious design firms decide to launch sex-specific campaigns expressly for the purpose of improving sexual pleasure. They also come on the heels of an inflatable sex doll that fell from the sky and was thought to be an angel. Yes, that really happened.
In the case of the sex doll, locals in Indonesia literally stumbled upon the doll on a beach, describing it as “an angel child…found face down, naked and crying and covered only in a white cloth.” Angel child indeed. Villagers in Kalupapi dressed the doll and spread the word that an angel had fallen from the heavens. Of course, this spread like wildfire over social media. Until after some investigation, it was later deemed to be merely a sex toy.
And while something can be said for how lifelike the toy was, a larger conversation about the functional and aesthetic design of sexual accessories and toys has been drumming up. One firm has decided to dedicate more effort into researching what brings pleasure to a woman, even going so far as to render an app that will help answer that question. Omg Yes, cheeky brand name en tow, has partnered with researchers at Indiana University and the McKenzie Institute to pinpoint what “actual techniques” bring pleasure to a woman.
The research comes from over 2000 plus women from 18 to 95 who were studied and provided data and input with regards to techniques not even named yet. And the result is what they call “a refreshingly honest” and “explicit” guide for women, men and couples to achieve sexual pleasure. It’s essentially a blueprint for the female orgasm. And just like everything else in today’s connected world, there’s an app for it. Well not so much an app according to the fine folks at Omg Yes. They call it a “touchable video.” Needless to say, among its many menu items the touchable video will guide the user in how to attain multiple orgasms and sustain a perfect rhythm. Here’s a connected app that, in a few simple steps and diagrams, is like the sexual equivalent of Fit Bit.
The idea of creating a better sexual experience isn’t unique to one mere institution of higher education. In fact, RMIT Upperpool in Australia has endeavored to create a design course for creating a better sex toy. Under the guidance of Dr Judith Glover, students and designers at RMIT have reimagined the sex toy industry as a viable design industry. Much in the same way cutting edge designers are posing new questions about the true functionality of décor furnishings, designers at Future Sex Studio are asking how to conceptualize something equal parts chic and intimate.
Granted these probably won’t be the curated objects and accessories populating a Maison et Objets or a Milan Design Week. But the philosophy of design isn’t lost on these innovators. On its landing page the course exposes, “The underlying socio-sexual ethos embedded in products and services is that of the porn industry with its out-dated views and stereotypes of females and female sexuality. Design culture has just started to affect the genre of sex toys in the last decade. In the fields of sexual health and therapy it is virtually non-existent. These are new and interesting areas for product innovation.”
Dr. Glover has established an industrial design course dedicated to creating more “beautiful and functional” sextoys. Glover’s approach hopes to reach a market of women who aren’t comfortable with the current line of products available in the marketplace, much of which are imagined by the porn industry. She notes that over the years evolution of the sex toy has followed a trajectory from outright dismissal of a woman’s inability to achieve orgasm as a disease to today’s recent renderings of vibrating products like the rabbit.
But all of the focus has been result-driven, simply actioning distributors to achieve orgasm with their products rather than beautify the experience as a whole. Glover intentions to focus on process much like any flock of forward-thinking designers does these days. How do we not only make these products beautiful and functional, she asks. The line of questioning is not unlike what the current leaders and trendsetters in design are asking about furnishings. And Glover sees a very credible bridge between the two.
Are we far off from imagining Glover’s post-millennial movement of sextoys as personal accessories for the home? If the course is anything to go by, we should be seeing a constellation of design pieces entering the market by year’s end.