Why these smart vibrators are the future of sex
The founder of smart sex toy company OhMiBod talks intimacy, tech, and female sexuality.
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Suki Dunham, founder of tech-enabled pleasure device company OhMiBod, arrives at the Reviewed.com offices in the midst of a rainstorm. She’s draped in a soft sweater I covet instantly, and her greeting is warm enough to soothe the butterflies fluttering inside my stomach.
Yes, I’ll admit it—I’ve been nervous about this interview. I have a list of questions to ask about intimacy and pleasure, and I’m not sure how explicit the answers will be. “Keep it professional,” I coach myself as Suki and I sit down to chat.
I needn’t have worried. I think it’s safe to say that Suki talks about sex toys a lot and she’s very good at it. She knows quite a bit about her products, which are innovative enough to intrigue the tech-obsessed and pleasure-seekers alike. I’d expected our conversation to center around the vibrators she’s stacked in boxes on the table beside her—and to some degree it does—but the conversation keeps circling back to people: relationships, self-discovery, and connection.
After all, Suki makes devices for real people, devices that fit into many kinds of lifestyles and bring people together. Devices that are fun, or that treat medical issues like incontinence, or that make for safer sexual encounters. OhMiBod’s devices are inherently personal, made relevant by all the people who use and love them—and use them to love each other.
Editor's note: The following has been condensed for brevity and clarity.
On the joys of remote-controlled orgasm
So, first off, what is OhMiBod?
OhMiBod is a technology-enabled pleasure products company. We’ve been around for about ten years now. We’re about really pushing the idea of self pleasure and pleasure products mainstream, the idea that they’re a healthy part of anybody’s existence.
What are some of the coolest toys from OhMiBod?
First, there’s the Club Vibe 3.OH. Club Vibe 3.OH is a wearable panty vibe.
This product is great because it has a little remote control that you can hand over to your partner. You can use it as foreplay, as a way to share this intimate secret that nobody else knows about. I have customers who have worn these out for date night. They’re having dinner in a restaurant, and the female may be wearing this, and her partner is controlling it. Or obviously you can do this in the privacy of your own home.
But what’s also cool about Club Vibe is that it has what we call "club mode." The little remote control has a microphone in it. And the microphone, when in club mode, will take in ambient sound and drive the vibrator. So if you’re at a concert it will bring in the ambient sound from the music and vibrate to the music. In your bedroom, it will vibrate to your lover’s voice. It’s a really fun, playful toy.
Can you also use it for solo play?
Yes, totally! If you have music on in your bedroom and you put your remote control by the bed, it can vibrate to the music that is surrounding you in your room. So yes.
On the benefits of pelvic floor health
And you also have the Lovelife Krush?
Yeah. The Lovelife Krush is a smart kegel exerciser.
This product won Best of Show at CES in digital health and fitness, which is pretty darn cool. We were up against Fitbit, and Withings, and here we are, this sexual health company, being recognized for a great product.
For those who might not know, what is a kegel exercise and why is it important?
Women and men have a pelvic floor muscle. The pelvic floor muscles basically hold in the internal organs—the uterus, the bladder, those sorts of things. We’re supposed to exercise this muscle, because it keeps all that stuff in place. As we age, that muscle will get weaker, just like all of the muscles in our bodies. So by exercising that, you can keep that part of your body nice and healthy.
If you are preparing for childbirth, doing your kegel exercises will help with delivery. Same thing happens after you have your baby—that muscle gets all stretched out, and so you want to exercise it and bring it back into place. Doing kegel exercise can also improve incontinence for people.
How does the Lovelife Krush help with kegel exercises?
We developed this product because a lot of women don’t really know if they’re doing their kegel exercises correctly. The Lovelife Krush has sensors built into it. When you insert it, you connect it to the TASL app [a companion app that lets you see and track kegel exercise progress] via Bluetooth, and the app will show you on screen that you’re squeezing.
So as it’s taking you through a given kegel exercise—a training regime, if you will—it will let you know, “Oh okay, I’m squeezing when I’m supposed to be, I can see that on the screen.”
The app will allow you to set reminders, because it’s recommended that you do your kegel exercises at least three to four times a week. So it is a great solution for a lot of women.
We’ve put in a bit of a reward system in the app as well. So when you do exercises, you earn little badges on your profile. And beyond that, you also can unlock vibration patterns as rewards. So you can also use it as a remote control toy.
On long-distance play
And you also have the blueMotion vibrators?
Bluemotion products have an app that allows you to connect remotely with a partner. So if you are sitting here and your partner is in Paris, you can connect remotely and you can allow your partner to control your vibe, or vice versa. There are a lot of people that have long distance relationships, and so this allows people to stay connected in that form. And then of course you can also use this product, as a discreet remote control. So, if you’re at a dinner party, people might think your partner is texting someone when in fact they’re controlling your device. That makes it fun and super discreet.
On the importance of talking about female sexuality
It’s so great to see all these products that focus on female pleasure and sexuality. I feel like that’s something people have been talking about more and more openly.
Yes, in the last ten years I’ve seen a massive shift in this.
It’s interesting—when you talk to women in my generation, there are people that use pleasure products and talk about it, and then there are the people that use pleasure products and would never talk about it, and then the people that have never tried it. And today when I speak to young women they’re much more open, very much owning their sexuality and what they want for themselves. I’m excited for future generations of women because I really feel like they’re owning their sexuality and realize that it’s just as important as any man’s.
So you think it’s important that we talk openly about sex and female pleasure?
Oh, most definitely. I’ve been with my husband for 30 years, but it’s very important that a young woman, or a young man for that matter, know what they want and what they like and what works for them intimately. And you’re only going to find that out when you practice yourself.