This morning at my breakfast table I learned how to pleasure another woman with my boyfriend.
Sex education site OMGYes is starting conversations about female pleasure, via some experimental new methods.
In a recent chat with currently controversial feminist icon Gloria Steinem, actress and women’s rights activist Emma Watson endorsed OMGYes, encouraging fans to “definitely check it out…It’s worth it” (“it” being the site’s $29 subscription fee).
The interactive site, backed by several research studies about the pleasure preferences of over 1,000 women, features video interviews with real women talking about their real experiences of sexual pleasure. Most notably, touchscreen video lessons of sexual stimulation techniques allow users to tap and caress a variety of virtual vulvas on-screen.
But what is a site like OMGYes actually teaching us about female sexual pleasure? Most notably, when we’re invited to learn about sexual pleasure via a futuristic touchscreen, are we framing sexual pleasure as something to talk about or just another thing to type about from the isolating safety of our handheld devices? Though Emma Watson got gutsy to publicly praise OMGYes as a concept, her language was still vague, peppered in the age-old euphemism for sex — “it” — and still left female sexual pleasure in the background of the site itself. Are we really ready to use OMGYes as its creators intended or is this just another piece of a human sexuality, untranslated from the web to real life?
How it’s packaged
OMGYes certainly makes strides in breaking the silence, by packaging female sexual pleasure in new, educational ways. But its one-sided sexual stimulation experience (created by viewing and virtually touching these women through a screen) runs the risk of continuing to promote female sexual pleasure as something to be achieved rather than cooperated, intuited rather than asked about, and perfected rather than made genuine. This could reinforce the disconnect between pleasure and communication that mainstream porn has already vastly propagated.
At times this is even presented in similar packaging to porn: The women featured on the site conform to many classic beauty standards, and their pre-recorded moans of pleasure are soft, dainty and (notably) never audibly climactic, an intentional decision on the creator’s part. OMGYes co-creator Lydia Daniller says, “We’re actually working to counteract the orgasm as goal-oriented view of sex through the entire site, and through the simulations in particular. We wanted to emphasize pleasure for pleasure’s own sake and not pleasure to reach an ‘end goal.’”
Nonetheless, when my boyfriend and I took OMGYes for a spin on his iPad one morning, we couldn’t help but direct our eyes to the prize. We chose to learn about one woman on the site who was teaching us the technique “layering,” via video. We listened to how exactly she likes to experience this kind of touch and why. She cautioned us against moving too quickly or venturing away from her clitoris too far or for too long, which rang realistic. After watching her video and reading the site’s blurb about “layering” we ventured to the virtual vulva, taking turns to practice the moves we were just taught.
The virtual video was good at responding quickly and accurately when we disobeyed our new sex partner’s instruction. After a few minutes, in place of her climax, the video just ended. That’s when my boyfriend exclaimed, “Hey! We won! This is like a video game.”…continue reading on Mashable.com…