Sex & Relationships

What a Hands-On Guide to the Female Orgasm Looks Like

A new company is using touchable technology to help teach about the female orgasm, one vulva at a time.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

I never thought I would blow so much time in a day trying to bring a series of virtual vulvas to orgasm. But then again, I never really knew I had the option before. For that, I can thank the creators of OMGYes, an interactive web platform that dives deep into the ways of women’s pleasure.

Lydia Daniller and Rob Perkins started the company after a decades-long friendship. Daniller, a lesbian, and Perkins, a straight guy, found they had a common interest in vaginas—specifically, in making them experience orgasms. And though they enjoyed the conversations they had about the endeavor, they found they lacked the vocabulary needed to provide details.

“We went looking for the research. What are the names of these techniques? How do they work? The information just wasn’t there. There wasn’t any research on it,” Perkins explained to AlterNet.

So they went looking for a remedy. They conducted their own research. After over 1,000 in-depth interviews with women aged 18-95, they were able to better assess what women have in common when it comes to pleasure, and what women don't have in common. They looked for prevalent orgasmic trends. They wondered what insights women would find most valuable. With the help of researchers at Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute, they were able to put together the first-ever nationally representative study on female sexual pleasure. But instead of bombarding users with a massive pile of text, they aimed to get them involved. In other words, they wanted to show, not just tell.

Daniller and Perkins were able to identify 12 major techniques of pleasuring, which they later organized into 12 different chapters: Edging, hinting, consistency, surprise, rhythm, multiples, accenting, framing, staging, layering, orbiting and signaling. Some of the terms you may have heard before. Some you haven’t. That’s because the vocabulary simply doesn’t exist for certain techniques, no matter how prevalent they may be. 

One of their investors, a gynecologist, points that there’s a word for every kind of disorder, a word for everything that can go wrong. The vocabulary for what can go right, however, is limited. The vocabulary available to describe the many nuances of women’s sexual pleasure is even narrower.

“Think about how hard it is to lie in bed and teach someone what you like if you don’t even have the words to explain it,” says Perkins. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, only around 60% of heterosexual women experience orgasm during sexual encounters. 

Each OMGYes chapter gets its own page, and on each page is a definition and a chunk of text explaining the variations within that technique. There's also a series of videos featuring women describing the techniques and demonstrating how they work. And then there’s the real highlight: the interactive “try it yourself” section, featuring virtual vulvas that react and move as you touch them. 

“With the world's first touchable videos, as you touch, you get feedback in real time so you can fine-tune. Get it wrong. Then get it right,” the site reads, offering 11 specifically tailored, touchable videos. That's 11 opportunities to bring a virtual vulva to orgasm. Eleven reasons to stay glued to your computer and wonder, where the hell did the time go?

According to Daniller and Perkins, the platform provides inexperienced users the opportunity to learn about an unexplored territory. It gives those with experience a chance to expand on their skills. It’s a way for couples to communicate otherwise incommunicable information. Some predict it might even lead to the end of the orgasm gap.

Here’s how it works: You can use your mouse (or finger, if you’re on a touchscreen device) to recreate the technique described in any given chapter on the interactive image provided. If you’re doing well, you might get some feedback like, “Oh yeah, I like that.” If you’re going too fast, you’ll probably hear, “Hey, slow down.” The realistic canvas allows you to see what a vulva really looks like (the platform provides several to explore), how it moves and how it responds to touch. And if you pay attention, you might notice that the faces you make along the way are strikingly similar to the ones you put on when playing with the real thing.  

So far, 17,000 people have signed up. Traffic is pouring in from all over the word. People of all ages have expressed interest. The female orgasm clearly appeals to a lot of different groups, though Perkins points out that younger men are the least likely to invest in the platform. “I guess they think they already know everything,” he joked. On a more encouraging note, the user base seems to be pretty evenly split between men and women.

But there’s more work to be done. Perkins says, “It’s just the tip of the iceberg. It kind of reminds us of the old days when you had a map and there are dragons in the corner. We don’t know what’s over there. It’s a frontier and we’re just going to do more research to explore it deeper and deeper.”

As they gear up for the second phase of the project, which they call Season 2, they're prepared to tackle issues like childbirth and menopause. “Things change. Sometimes the techniques that work when you’re a younger woman don’t always work later in life. People have to keep that in mind as they go through their sexual journey,” Daniller said.

Perhaps in Season 3, we’ll see the penis make an appearance.

Carrie Weisman is an AlterNet staff writer who focuses on sex, relationships and culture. Got tips, ideas or a first-person story? Email her

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