Sex Tech Innovations to Watch

By Dr. Jess Sexual Health woman's hand with lotion dripping on it

The field of sex tech is booming and much of the growth is driven by thought leaders who have identified a market that both serves social needs and has the potential to produce a financial profit. The industry continues to evolve beyond the basics of vibrators and sex dolls to include products related to health, pleasure, safer sex, fertility and communication.

Check out these innovative companies driving change within the sex tech industry and spreading their good vibes across the globe:

cool and hot private packs for women

Private Packs

Designed to provide immediate relief to your more sensitive areas, these hot and cool packs can be applied after sex or during your period. Whether your labia feel tender from a long bike ride home or you’re dealing with endometriosis, postpartum pain, vulvodynia or premenstrual symptoms, Private Packs offer a well-designed alternative to frozen peas or an electric heating pad.

Users report that they offer some of the same calming benefits as a weighted blanket, as they wrap around your entire vulva to soothe discomfort while inducing relaxation and reducing anxiety.

Founder, Suzanne Sinatra explains her motivation for launching a product in the growing, but challenging sex tech field: “Millions of women experience vulvar pain regularly. I didn’t realize that until an esthetician accidentally tore the skin off my vulva, and I started talking to my friends about pain down there. I realized that every woman has had a trauma down there. Whether it comes from sex, pregnancy, menstruation, exercise, or a chronic condition. I was not alone in feeling puffy, sore, and helpless. That night after the bad wax, I was stuck at home all evening with a frozen water bottle melting into my underwear. You know the drill! Enough is enough. Vulva-owners deserve more.

I wanted to create a natural solution for all of us. Something easier than an ice pack, more mobile than a heating pad, and discreetly wearable, so we can go about our daily lives. Women are powerful as f***, and every time we have to stay home, we miss out on an opportunity. We cancel an important meeting, we skip time with loved ones or for ourselves, and ultimately, we suffer because of it. It’s time for us to relieve vulvar pain on-the-go, so we can put our energy where we want to. With millions of women living pain-free and leaning into our goals, I think the world will be a better place. That’s my dream anyway.”

Private Packs provide vulva-owners with a long-needed tool for self-care and healthy, pleasurable sexuality. Applying hot and cold therapy directly to your vulva provides instant relief and has some incredible benefits. But it’s never been wearable or discreet before. By bringing self-care down there, we hope to help vulva-owners feel more comfortable, more confident, and more powerful.

at-home STI testing kits

Let’s Get Checked 

Safer sex is hotter sex and at-home STI testing kits from Let’s Get Checked allow you to test for a range of sexually transmitted infections from the comfort of your home. The Complete 10 test provides results in 2 to 5 days and checks for the most common infections including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, herpes simplex I & II, ureaplasma, mycoplasma, and trichomoniasis.

The intersection of the health tech and sex tech fields presents an opportunity not only to make health care more accessible to patients in remote areas, but also to those who do not have access to sex-positive health practitioners in their local region. Some folks report that they’ve had symptoms and concerns for years and are just now getting checked thanks to new technologies that don’t require an in-office visit with their local health practitioner.

Getting tested is essential to safer sex and the more accessible testing becomes, the more we can reduce the risk of transmission and long-term effects of undetected infections. Knowing your status makes sex more pleasurable, allowing you to relax and be more mindful in the moment. 

dildo with tubing to ejaculate

POP® by The Semenette

Stephanie Berman created POP® by the Semenette out of a desire to have a more intimate experience conceiving a child with her partner.

POP® is a novelty strap-on dildo, which allows you to have penetrative sex and enjoy the sensation of ejaculation — without a penis. Its inner tubing is embedded inside the shaft with an attached pump and the plastic tubing can be replaced to eliminate sanitary concerns about mixing liquids.

“At first, I thought my customer base would be same-sex couples looking to use this to try and get pregnant, but boy was I mistaken,” explains Berman. “We have had support from so many communities beyond same-sex couples including the transgender community (mostly FTM), men with ED or disabilities, serodiscordant couples (where one or both partners is HIV positive), the pegging community, BDSM, kink, fetish, sub/dom play, swingers – the list goes on and on!”

Planned Parenthood apps

On-demand birth control and UTI treatment

While you have many options for prescription delivery including contraception, Planned Parenthood Direct is now available in more than half the country — 27 states and the District of Columbia. The service, which allows users to request birth control delivery, get a prescription for UTI treatment, review birth control options and make appointments at local health centers, will expand nationwide by the end of 2020.

Barriers to reproductive healthcare include distance, a lack of transportation, few or no childcare options and time restraints imposed by shift work and/or irregular work hours. Reproductive justice involves addressing these issues and apps like Direct improve accessibility to ensure that more people can stay healthy without undue pressure on their finances, relationships and careers.

Other free sex tech innovations by Planned Parenthood include Roo, which provides answers to health 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, a Chat/Text program, which allows young people to message/text with trained sexual health educators quickly and confidentially, and Spot On, which helps people track their periods, become familiar with their menstrual cycles, and manage their birth control options.

kegel release curve pelvic floor massage

The Kegel Release Curve

Kate Roddy came up with the idea for the KR Curve during her first pregnancy when she couldn’t perform the prescribed pelvic floor massage to prepare for childbirth because she couldn’t reach her own vagina (she was carrying an 11.5lb baby). But it’s not just for pregnancy. In her practice as a sport and pelvic physiotherapist, Kate has seen many patients with similar stories whose overall health (and lives!) could benefit from an easier and more effective way to massage tense pelvic floor muscles.

“The vagina is magnificent, strong, resilient and tough AF—but it could use a little relaxation,” Roddy explains. “Pelvic floor strength is linked to how well we contract and relax those muscles, and most women are simply too tense. This muscular tension can cause painful sex, bladder control problems and increased risk of tears or a need for episiotomies during childbirth.

Perineal massage works wonders for releasing stress-related tension and preparing the vagina for childbirth. But it’s a bit awkward at the best of times and downright impossible when you’re eight months pregnant.

Whether you’re in the last weeks of pregnancy, live with a pelvic condition, or simply want to take care of your vagina (’cause she deserves it), the KR Curve is designed to support both your comfort and your overall health.”

Your vaginal health should be a daily lifelong habit—as important as brushing your teeth, so Kate designed the “Tiffany’s” of pelvic floor wands. It’s cast in medical-grade stainless steel to ensure the highest quality product that will last a lifetime. This material is completely non-porous so you can use it with any Astroglide lubricant and it’s dishwasher safe and can be sterilized in boiling water for any desired deep clean.

Continues to Grow

As the sex tech field continues to expand, it will not only intersect with the fields of health care, technology, communications, fertility, and reproduction, but it’s well-positioned to become a driving force to shape these industries.

Suzanne Sinatra explains the importance of this growing field, which, by some estimates, is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2025:

“Female sexuality and pleasure have been ignored for too long. Sex tech is striving to change that as a movement addressing sexuality inclusively and positively. I work closely with The Women of Sex Tech to open conversations, improve transparency, push back against censorship, and create more meaningful experiences for people in their own exploration of sexuality. It’s often an uphill battle, but it’s one I am proud to be a part of.”