If your smartphone is distracting from your relationship, then one of two possibilities could be the culprit: 1. You haven't yet plugged into the teledildonic phenomenon, or 2. Your sex-tech manufacturer of choice is a bit too concerned with showing off their coding skills.
Lovense Content Specialist Robyn Hemington can relate: “No one wants to press a complicated series of buttons during sex. It screws with your mojo.”
It’s been an ongoing marriage of technology with sex toys, all with the purpose of helping long-distance couples maintain their sexual sanity.
Modern couples are seeking a new spark in their relationships, and by “spark,” we're talking about electrical currents — the kind that send a charge to your sex toys and cell phone, which are now probably on the same extension cord. The glow of a screen has long been heralded as the No. 1 relationship destroyer until Bluetooth hit the sex toy scene. Now couples can connect in the bedroom and across the world, all with the simplicity of a smartphone app — at least if the programmers didn't go too wild.
“Just because the general population is tech-savvy, doesn’t mean you can make their end complicated and just expect people to run with the times,” Hemington said. “The tech inside might get more complex, but user interfaces will have to stay simple. App-wise, we’ve focused on a better user interface for easier access and smooth connectivity — way smoother than competitors.”
Lovense has been in the sex-tech game for almost a decade, but they haven't fallen victim to the constant one-upping that's common among competing tech geeks. Instead, the company looks to its most valuable team of experts — its customers.
“Lovense’s growth and success is entirely because of customer feedback,” says Hemington.
Some manufacturers might pick and choose which user comments to respond to, and others have been notorious for ignoring them altogether. Lovense proudly claims to give their full attention to every Facebook comment, trade show remark, and customer email, which is no small feat considering their broad reach of distributors, retailers and end consumers. And when things aren't going as planned?
The team would rather throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater than try to sell through a batch of embarrassingly bad toys.
“We are at the tail end of a major overhaul of our interface,” Hemington said. “Our programmers look pretty exhausted right now.”
Becoming a marketable Lovense toy is a rigorous process. The company scours the internet for opinionated Redditors, sex toy collectors, experienced cam models, and previous customers before even considering creating a prototype.
There's no point in getting too attached to a first-generation model because it will have morphed into a completely different animal by the time it's ready for the market. Prototypes make the rounds among in-house staff, trade show contacts, and private beta testers before finally arriving on crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
“In each of these stages, we make big changes or small tweaks until someone in the tech department wants to stab us with their pliers,” jokes Hemington.
Lovense's physical toy designs are simple and classic, with old favorites like a rabbit-style dual stimulator, a male masturbator, butt plug and vibrating egg. So what's all the fuss over the research and development process? Bringing the tech end down to earth, and raising the quality of their tangible products.
“Innovation is a word everyone loves to throw around,” Hemington said. “It sounds flashy and sexy on a website or meta description, but in reality, we are one of the few teledildonic companies that actually focuses on making our products better than the copied-to-death models you see everywhere.”
Raising the quality of sex toys was the inspiration behind Lovense, but a long-distance relationship was the catalyst that started the fire. Originally dubbed “Remote Pleasure,” the company's CEO needed a vibrating solution for his faraway girlfriend — one that connected the pair while getting the job done right.
“The design was a bit limited, but it was one of the most powerful vibrators you could get at the time,” recalls Hemington.
Pairing the toy with Skype and adding the ability for it to buzz along to a playlist turned out a success, and Lovense was born. Connecting people between cities, states and continents, and doing so without head-scratching, over-complicated tech geekery, remains the company's core mission.
“It’s been an ongoing marriage of technology with sex toys, all with the purpose of helping long-distance couples maintain their sexual sanity,” Hemington said.
As internet-based sex evolves, Lovense's purpose becomes even more relevant.
“Our uniqueness comes from connectivity over distance, and there’s a greater need for this than people realize,” remarks Hemington.
Average couples seek a way for technology to bring play into their daily routine, while cam model porn actresses are looking to level-up their performances. The remote magic of Bluetooth allows for anyone to reach out and touch the person on the other end of their screen — at least in a metaphorical sense.
Tell your camming clients to download an app, and suddenly they're in control of the show. Put the Lovense app on your boyfriend's phone, pop in a butt plug or vibrating egg, and sneaky public play looks no different from a casual round of Candy Crush. The more teledildonics becomes accessible, the more it becomes integrated into everything we do.
At the other end of the spectrum, the sex-tech category starts to head into outer space — a direction that piques Lovense's curiosity, but doesn't have them reaching too far into the stars. VR porn and robotic sex dolls are next in line for teledildonic stardom, but there's simply too many kinks to work out for Hemington to believe the hype just yet.
“There’s some really cool stuff out there — stuff that’s taking us closer to things we’ve seen on a science-fiction binge on Netflix,” says Hemington. “However, things are still clunky in that department, and not very sexy.”
In the meantime, Lovense is looking to the future while keeping their feet on the ground. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence are on the radar, but the company hasn't forgotten that sex is still, in fact, about the union of flesh and brain chemicals.
“We strive to be mindful of the human body and what makes a good quality sex toy,” says Hemington.
In contrast, teledildonics is about so much more than just sex. It's a leap into the next generation of technology, and Lovense is eager to bring everyone along for the ride.
“We’re always changing and growing, and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon,” Hemington concludes. “It’s the future of so much more than sex toys!”