This article contains sexually explicit material that may be NSFW.
Orgasms are pretty effing great. But if faced with the choice between having the same orgasms or having stronger, better ones, there probably isn’t a woman on Earth who wouldn’t opt for the latter. For these people (a.k.a. every woman on the planet ever), the Swedish sex toy company LELO has created the Luna Smart Bead, a small “personal pleasure training device” that delivers vibrations to help teach women to “fulfill their orgasm potential.”
Basically, the Smart Bead is a smooth, silicone, bullet-like device that a woman inserts into her vagina. The device is equipped with touch-sensors which guide the woman through a “progressive training routine” of five vibration-guided levels, each of which last about five minutes. Steve Thomson, the head of marketing at LELO, says the Luna Smart Bead is equipped with a memory chip that measures how well you squeeze and relax according to the vibration patterns, increasing or decreasing the "difficulty" of the routine depending on your performance. It also uses capacitance sensors under the silicone – the same technology that is used in smartphone touch screens.
"With the busy lives women lead, often juggling a relationship, careers, family—it can be difficult to find the time for any dedicated routine," Thomson told the Daily Dot via e-mail. "It’s a similar story with going to the gym, which is why the idea of hiring personal trainers is so appealing—they help you get the most out of exercise, in a short space of time. So what we did was take this concept, and apply it to a product that would help women train to enjoy orgasms more intensely."
At first glance, the benefits of the Luna Smart Bead sound deceptively easy to achieve: Simply do Kegels, or squeeze and un-squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, for a few minutes every day, and you’ll start having mind-blowing, toe-curling, earth-shaking, bed-quaking orgasms on the reg, to the point where your vagina will essentially become Mount Vesuvius and your partner the terrified Neapolitan villager who trembles in its wake.
OK, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but there is some evidence that the LELO Smart Bead will actually be effective at building better female orgasms. Research shows that women who regularly do Kegels have stronger pelvic floor muscles, causing increased blood flow to the pelvic region and more intense contractions during orgasm. (In this respect, the Smart Bead operates on a similar principle as the Skea or the kGoal, the Fitbit-like wearable devices that function as personal trainers for your vagina.)
In a press release for the LELO Smart Bead, sexologist Dr. Ian Kerner backs up the idea that the Smart Bead’s Kegel-training exercises could actually be effective at building better orgasms.
“It’s well-known by now that Kegel exercising aids not only shorten the length of time needed to reach orgasm, but also increase its intensity and duration,” he says. “A vibration-guided routine such as the one LELO is offering will help women focus on exercising in the correct way, and they will reap fantastic rewards as a result.” And a sex survey conducted by LELO indicates that only 4 percent of women worldwide report being “fully satisfied” with the strength of their orgasms, indicating that a product that helps strengthen the female orgasm is sorely needed in the lady toy marketplace.
That said, while the LELO Smart Bead is pretty and elegantly designed, I’m skeptical of the Smart Bead’s claim to serve as a magic bullet for women who have subpar orgasms, in part because I’m skeptical of the notion that a “subpar” orgasm is even a thing. Sure, orgasms vary in terms of strength and length and consistency, but in general, a quote-unquote “bad” orgasm is a bit like “bad” cookie dough ice cream: It’s cookie dough ice cream, so it’s already pretty great.
Furthermore, the idea that there’s a hierarchy of female orgasms is suspect in itself, in part because it’s rooted in a history of bad, sexist science. (Case in point: The idea that vaginal orgasms are superior to clitoral ones dominated the cultural consciousness for years—despite the fact that a recent study has suggested that vaginal orgasms might not even be a thing to begin with.)
To a certain extent, Thomson acknowledges that the LUNA Smart Bead is far from a one-size-fits-all solution for women who have trouble achieving strong orgasms. "It sounds a cliché but an orgasm is such a unique thing, influenced by so many factors—you might argue it’s closer to art than science," he told the Daily Dot. That said, "the response we received from women who followed the routine [while testing the product] was overwhelming. It shows that a focused routine that enhances your pleasure potential can really increase the chances of orgasms despite all potential distractions."
Ultimately, while sex toys serve a valuable function at helping women who might not be comfortable navigating their bodies achieve orgasm, the idea that one can achieve “maximum potential” orgasm, this elusive, bigger, better, stronger orgasm of myth, seems to me a bit like chasing the dragon. Maybe LELO’s $109 Smart Bead will help you become the hyper-orgasmic, Cosmo-fied, tight-vagina’ed sex kitten you’ve always dreamed of, but I’ll probably just save my $109 and do my Kegels manually during weekly staff meetings while thinking about Jimmy Fallon feeding me cookie dough ice cream, like every other woman in the world.
Photo by Richard Foster/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)