Trends: Technology in Sex Toys

Crave's Vesper vibrator (Fast CoDesign)

Crave’s Vesper vibrator (Fast CoDesign)

This post was originally published on February 5, 2015.

Legend has it Cleopatra may have been one of the first women to use a vibrator. (In her case, it was a calabash filled with buzzing bees.) The legendary queen/sex toy early adopter clearly knew she needed some extra stimulation, and the simple invention paved the way for a future industry.

Now, things have become a little more complex (and thankfully bee-less). Some sex toys have become more high-tech, and take advantage of opportunities within that field. Clearly, when technology enters the bedroom, fun follows.

Below are just a sampling of what tech looks like…in bed:

We Vibe:

The couples’ vibrator We-Vibe 4 Plus makes use of an app designed to maximize each users’ experience. It can used during sex, stimulating both partners. But it can also be used at a distance, with one wearing and the other controlling via the complementary app. The controller can choose the sensations, which the other partner then receives.

Lelo:

Sometimes you just want oral. Enter the Ora 2, which simulates cunnilingus via a rotating hub that stimulates the clitoris.

Crave:

One central component of technology is that it must look good (thank you Steve Jobs for making this commonplace). Sleek is generally the operative term. Crave’s Vesper is a wearable, thin vibrator the consumer can wear around her neck (and only use externally). Creators of the Vesper made sure the product is as elegant to wear as it is useful.

…And into the future:

Una:

This company doesn’t yet have a product on the market. But their goal is to sell a “smart” vibrator that learns from what the user likes. It’ll be interesting to see how this one takes shape.

As technology continues to evolve, it’ll be interesting to witness how sex toys incorporate the new tech into existing and new toys. Who knows? We could soon see something that looks straight out of “The Jetsons.”

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Grindr Allowed Third-Party Companies to See Users’ HIV Status

Grindr Logo (TechCrunch)

Grindr Logo (TechCrunch)

Yesterday, “BuzzFeed” broke the news that Grindr, the dating app aimed at gay men, had been selling users’ data to two third-party companies. Among the data sold were users’ HIV status.

Grindr admitted that it sold data to Apptimize and Localytics. (No word on how these companies were using the data.) Grindr users can provide their HIV status and date of their last HIV test in their profile on the app. The two third-party companies would’ve had easily identifiable information because the HIV status data was sent along with “users’ GPS data, phone ID and email.”

Norwegian research nonprofit company SINTEF was the first entity to find the problem.  Though Grinder said that the information sent was encrypted (simply put, made into a code that’s not easily broken), the company also revealed that the data provided from Grindr could be further hacked.

In recent months, Grindr has made more strides related to HIV. The app nows offers ad-targeting to HIV-testing websites, and users can sign up for HIV-test reminders.

Though Grindr announced plans later yesterday to discontinue sharing HIV data with the third-party companies, the damage has already been done. It will be interesting to see if this data breach will affect the app’s number of users in the near future.

Grindr reports 3.6M+ “daily active users” worldwide.

Only 17% of Startups Had a Female Founder in 2017

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Whitney Wolfe, Founder of Bumble (Travel + Leisure)

Quick, how many female founders of startups can you name (without Googling)? Let’s see, there’s Sophia Amoruso of NastyGal (RIP!), Whitney Wolfe of Bumble, Jenn Hyman of Rent the Runway, and…who else?

Contrast that with how many male startup founders you could name (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, etc.) and you could go on for days. And that’s without Googling. And without naming their respective companies (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Tesla, in case you’e wondering.)

Why can’t we name more female founders? Do they exist?

Well, yes and no. Crunchbase, a platform that crunches (heh) data for many companies around the world, has been running a study on female founders of start-ups since 2015. And what they found will SHOCK you.

Actually, no it won’t. Only 17% of startups had a female founder as of Q1 2017 (the last recorded study). 17 PERCENT. THIS IS NOT PARITY.

What makes this number worse is that this percentage has persisted since 2012. So women have only have the best seats at the table less than 1/5th of the time for 5 years.

Ladies, let’s start some companies!! Who’s with me?!

Trends: Custom Emoji

Kim Kardashian West's Kimoji (Fushion)

Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji (Fushion)

Everyone loves emoji. That’s just a fact. Recently, emoji have grown and expanded. Where there used to be just one brand of emoji, now there are several types.

Distribution company Focus Features came up with custom emoji to promote their recent film “Loving.” The film details the history of the 1967 landmark Supreme Court case which struck down miscegenation statues across the United States. The emoji were created to show the range of love between people, and so users could relate to the film in a modern way.

Releasing custom emoji has hit disparate industries and public figures. Professional golfer Bubba Watson released his “Bubbamoji” in April 2016. Stand-up comic and actor Kevin Hart has his line of “Kevmoji,” all modeled after the comedian’s very expressive face. The “Kevmoji” hit #1 on iTunes downloads immediately after its release in September 2016.

But nobody’s dominated the custom emoji space better than America’s most polarizing reality TV family: the Kardashian/Jenners. Members of the family have taken to designing custom emoji for their fans to communicate with like-minded souls. Kim Kardashian West (who’s turned out to be quite the technology and new media mogul) debuted her “Kimoji” in December 2015, and was an immediate hit.

Not to be outdone, Rob Kardashian’s fiancee (and mother of his daughter Dream) Blac Chyna has also released her own line of emoji. But, like anything dealing with the Kardashian/Jenner clan, this has not been without drama: One of the “Chymoji” depicts Chyna slapping a brunette woman presumed to be Kardashian West’s stepsister Kylie Jenner. (If you don’t know why this is a foul, brush up on the history of the feud between the two.)

Another person in the Kardashian Extended Universe (KEU, for short) is feminist activist Amber Rose. (Rose is one of Kanye West’s former paramours. West is now, of course, married to Kim Kardashian West.) Rose dropped her “MuvaMoji” in March 2016, where it earned around $4M. That number includes $2M on release day alone.

It’s clear that launching a set of custom emoji is becoming a necessary step in engaging with fans. So who’ll be next to launch a set?

#ThrowbackThursday: Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji Launch, 2015

Kim Kardashian West's Kimoji, 2015 (Kim Kardashian West)

Kim Kardashian West’s Kimoji, 2015 (Kim Kardashian West)

Kim Kardashian West’s set of custom emoji, dubbed “Kimoji,” launched on December 21, 2015. Nearly a year later, they continue to be a hit, and paved the way for other celebrities to launch their own custom emoji lines.

Kardashian West’s Kimoji references notable things about her which both hardcore and casual fans would recognize: her waist trainer corset, posing in her white swimsuit, and her notorious crying face.

Clinton vs. Trump Supporters on Match.com

Dating (The Love Hawk)

Dating (The Love Hawk)

Earlier this year, Match.com released its annual Singles in America study. The study surveyed 5K+ singles ages 18-70 in 2015 on a variety of subjects pertinent to those who date. The results are fascinating, in no small part because Donald Trump was still a sideshow attraction and not a full-blown potential threat at the time.

Without further ado, here are some findings:

Clinton supporters are:

  • 70% more likely to discuss politics
  • 102% more likely to lie about their number of past sexual partners
  • 2,133% more likely to expect no physical contact

Trump supporters are:

But some benefits are bi-partisan, as the press release touts:

Individuals who are passionate about political issues (regardless of their affiliation) have better sex, with 13% more orgasms; they are also 32% more likely to experience multiple orgasms.

If that’s not a good reason to get politically involved/educated (or fuck across the aisle, at the very least), I don’t know what is.

“Loving” Film Releases Interracial Emoji Couples

Love-Moji ('Glamour' en Espanol)

Love-Moji (‘Glamour’ en Espanol)

Given our current obsession with all things tech, Focus Features has found a fitting way to promote the company’s upcoming film “Loving:” custom emojis.

The Love-Mojis feature a variety of emojis of interracial couples in about every combination you could think of. So if you’re in an interracial couple, and you haven’t yet felt your coupling properly represented by the Unicode Consortium, your time has finally come!

Why is this important? Let’s start with the film itself: “Loving” follows Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who got married in 1958. This wouldn’t be so remarkable except that Richard was white and Mildred was black. Their marriage happened during a time where interracial dating, much less marriage, was frowned upon, to put it lightly. Interracial marriage could bring a charge of miscegenation (race mixing, in plain terms).

The Lovings were arrested after their marriage for the crime of their relationship, and forced to leave Virginia. Once in D.C., they began legal proceedings. The Loving v. Virginia case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, which struck down said laws that were on the books of sixteen states. (All sixteen states were in the South. Shocker.)

Needless to say, this was a landmark case.

But why use emojis to promote it?

Since emojis debuted, the options for emoji couples were pretty stark. They didn’t show the breadth of real-life relationships in terms of race and also sexual preference. The new Love-Moji take this into account, and rectify the oversight.

There’s also the fact that using emojis has become a convenient visual shorthand for emotions we don’t particularly feel like typing out in words.

You can get the Love-Moji via app stores and at VoteLoving.com.

“Loving” comes out on Friday, Nov. 4th.