Have technology-riddled sex toys taken the 'sexy' out of masturbation? Toys have bypassed all the bump-and-grind of masturbation and turned into vending machines: push button and out pops orgasm.

The Womanizer.

If there wasn't a giant fake jewel on it, I could've told you Babeland's The Womanizer was used as a vibrator during the times of Hysteria, and you probably would've believed me, because it's that non-sexy looking. The press release guarantees women will orgasm in "60 seconds or less" and honestly, it scared me.

Sex toys of past, the ones you think of immediately when talked about, have been recognizably sex toys. They've been in the shapes of the genitalia that we all know and love. They've been a bit tacky but also endearing. They've also been luxury items that you feel fancy owning.

They haven't looked like Das Sound Machine from Pitch Perfect 2 would carry them around on their belts like gun holsters.

Even in the directions of The Womanizer, it says that there's no need to move or grind, which while amazing for the lazy-girl in me, sounds counterproductive at best. The Womanizer seemed to have bypassed all the bump-and-grind of masturbation and made sex toys into vending machines: push a few buttons and out pops an orgasm. And that, to me, was frustrating. Why is it that sex toys have become more complicated and technologically advanced that I feel like a grandmother trying to figure out how Google works?

Related: The unending frustrations of a sex shop clerk

So, I decided to ask a few experts about what they thought and see if they could convince me that no, sex toys are not turning into iPhones, where people are just holding out so they can trade up for the next-and-newest edition.

"For a younger demographic, technology is intertwined with all aspects of their lives," Suki Dunham, Founder OhMiBod explains, "and why should their sex lives be any different? Having said that, there is a large part of the population where technology may not be a pervasive in their lives and therefore a lower tech solution is a better fit to their use case."

"We work with a European designer to design all of our products so that from a visual perspective, the products are visually appealing…and feel even better," Dunham says. "In the last decade or so, due to the Apple design phenomena, consumers are expecting and wanting high design in all of their consumer goods and that has impacted our industry as well.

Design has also been influenced by the changing cultural shifts and the stigmas associated with this industry, as more toy brands are striving to break into more mainstream channels. A softer, non-phallic and approachable design will help support these channel opportunities."

The Eva.

After deciding to go down this road of conversation, I was sent the Eva, a handsfree vibrator that is the #1 crowdsourced sex toy out right now. And to be honest, I was a little confused. The toy itself looks kind of like a small frog, where the "leg" parts are supposed to fit into the folds of your labia majora. It literally could be mistaken for anything else except a sex toy, but it was created because someone (probably multiple someone's) wanted it.

"I don't think most sex toy users are attempting to replace genitalia and therefore aren't interested in these toys resembling genitalia," says Alex Fine, the cofounder of Dame Products who manufactures the Eva. "On the flip side, I feel that luxury designer toys have gotten so preoccupied with looking like luxury ‘pleasure objects' that they often put form before function."

Related: The 15 best ways technology can give you an orgasm

The rabbit, which was the first "big innovation" in sex toys, really kick-started the movement to take female masturbation out of the clinical and diagnostic, into something that everyone could enjoy. Toy manufactures renounced their phallicism in favor of something sleeker and in keeping with the advances of the early ‘80s and the cultural giant that was Sex and the City in the ‘90s, went with something fun and functional, rather than anatomically correct.

The toys that have recently caused the biggest stir in the sex toy industry are the ones that are so technologically advanced, that you can even hook them up to your Apple Watch. There are ones with bluetooth, ones that emulate cunnilingus, ones that are basically adult lego sets.

(which, let me tell you, give Lego's a run for their money in terms of hours of fun. Plus, they hurt a lot less if you step on them barefoot)

"Designing luxury sex toys is like designing smartphones or luxury cars: everything needs to be considered and tested and tweaked," says Steve Thomson, LELO Director of Marketing. "In the end, if the customer doesn't even notice how much work went into a product, we consider that a success."

What you may consider "technology" (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.) wasn't actually all that important to a lot of the larger companies. It's about creating a new experience for the customer rather than keeping up with the Jones' with different motions and motors and functions, but without the tackiness of creating a huge stir around it.

It's the anti-used car salesman technique. "There's a temptation in the pleasure industry to assume that more gadgetry, more functions, more flashing lights and more gimmicks all equal a better sex toy," says Thomson, "but our experience has taught us just the opposite: simplicity and fine design are what really matter."

Remote Control Couple Vibrator with custom vibrations.

I got the chance to speak to Claire Cavanah, the co-founder of Babeland, about where she thinks technology and the future of sex toys is heading. "Sex toys have always gone the way of the newest tech. They say something like, ‘Every new technology is used first for the military and then the very next thing is used for sex.'" I laughed but it honestly made so much sense after I thought about it for a little (her examples of the rewind function on a VCR and of course, the Internet) even if it was hyperbole.

"We have to keep up with the times, even if it's not in my personal toy chest or Rachel [Venning]‘s, we always carry the latest thing that makes sense for us [to carry]," she explained. And that makes a lot of sense, especially with the more liberal stance that our culture has taken in terms of the sex industry.

What sparked my interest in this topic was a news article about a new company that was changing the world of sex toys, using teledildonics. For those of you who don't know what that is and just like saying the word like I do, it's basically the genre of sex toys that deal in long distance pleasure.

Think the OhMiBod BlueMotion or the LovePalz. The company, called Lovense, was created in 2009 but only until recently (when the 4th generation of the toy and app was launched) was there really any buzz about it (no pun intended).

"Everyone has different kinks and needs," explains Eddy Olivares, Lovense's Marketing Manager. "I don't think the future of sex toys relies on technology. New technology is opening up niches within the sex toy industry and creating opportunities for new companies, like us, that are tech-focused. We're using technology to create sex tech products that solve problems."

Talking to the founders and marketers from many different companies help reiterate the same thing. Technology-based anything, whether it's sex toys, phone apps, tools, or software, was created specifically because there was a problem that needed to be solved. Lovense was founded, and toys like the BlueMotion, with the notion that there are many long distance relationships that suffer because of the lack of intimacy, and they created a virtual form of intimacy with the use of tech. It's not for everyone, but it's for enough people that incredibly talented and intelligent individuals sought to help.

It's strange to think about, but the sex toy industry is almost becoming a tech industry. "New technology doesn't need to mean bells and whistles like wireless technology or biofeedback, though," explains Fine. "Even something as simple as more efficient batteries would go a long way in this industry. It's the smart, useful, choices that really go a long way."

Related: The odd world of sex toys for the faithful

What sets the sex toy industry apart from your typical tech company is something that is also what separates the sex toy industry from most other industries: its focus on human intimacy and interactivity. "Human instinct is to explore and connect," says Dunham. "And that is what we are trying to facilitate – the exploration of intimacy as it relates to the intersection of sex and technology."

The toys that are built to be extensions of our bodies and our pleasures need to keep up with the different demands that our bodies have, and that's what technology is doing, not just taking the work out of masturbation. Sexiness is decided by who and what we choose to use the sex toys on and for, regardless of simplicity or intricacy of the design. Sex toys will always need to be new and exciting because we as humans continue to be too.

Sorry! Comments are disabled.