If you were to fly to Las Vegas, enter one of the grand halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and push your way through the crush of tech journalists, businesspeople, and flashy televisions that make up CES, you’d eventually find a small booth showcasing a less conventional lineup: smart sex toys.
It’s not that CES doesn’t typically host women’s health innovations—there are devices like breast pumps to be found among the noise—but even though it’s smart sex toy company OhMiBod’s seventh year at the show, its presence feels like something to grin about. And indeed, if you make your way over to the OhMiBod booth, founders Suki and Brian Dunham will greet you with big smiles.
“We’re absolutely a tech company,” explains Brian Dunham when I ask how he thinks OhMiBod fits in with the rest of the show. “Our category just happens to be sexual health and wellness.”
It seems there can hardly be any doubt about that, what with last year’s Lovelife krush ($149)—a smart kegel exerciser that guides women through pelvic floor workouts and tracks user progress via smartphone app—still taking a prominent spot at the booth. This year, the companion app will expand to allow users to engage in long-distance play with their partners, manually controlling the krush as a vibrator. This Go Play functionality will also apply to a new wearable vibrator, the Lovelife Please ($129).
Also present at the booth is an updated version of OhMiBod's bestselling wireless Club Vibe in the form of a more compact Club 3.OH ($119).
OhMiBod intends to keep exploring how technology can improve sexual pleasure and health, but Brian Dunham is quick to point out that while OhMiBod is a tech company, neither he nor Suki are software developers. That’s why the company will release the world’s first-ever software developer’s kit for intimacy products this spring, giving coders the tools to create apps that connect with OhMiBod’s blueMotion toys.
Dunham foresees some exciting possibilities, like hookup apps that allow users to grant one another remote access to their pleasure devices, providing a safer way to interact sexually with new partners. He also sees inclusion of OhMiBod in games for couples as a possible direction for developers.
“Maybe we’ll even see automobile manufacturers integrating OhMiBod into car seats,” he laughs.
If you’re wondering when ordinary vibrators stopped being enough for the sex toy industry, you might be better off asking when ordinary vibrators stopped being enough for the modern world.
“The whole idea of intimacy has shifted,” explains Dunham. “Kids these days, they don’t pick up the phone to make a call—it’s all texting. Their first intimate moments happen over text or Snapchat. That type of intimacy is second nature for them.”
And it’s true. In a world where the bulk of our communication happens over laptops and smartphones, doesn’t it make sense to shift our approach to sex to fit that space? Why not pleasure our partners from a distance or use technology to increase the quality and quantity of our orgasms?
The latest and greatest of the tech world is teeming with VR headsets, see-through refrigerators, and sports cars, but this humble writer would like to put forth a controversial opinion: tech that improves women’s sexual health and intimacy not only belongs there, but belongs there in prominence.