One is painfully twee, but whatever.
Have you guys heard that there's a "masturbation app" for the ladies on the horizon? It's called "HappyPlayTime," it's supposed to help (cis) women become sexually liberated by coaching them through self-pleasure, and it seems to think your clitoris is the scariest fucking thing I've ever seen:
This thing looks like an extra from "Spirited Away: XXX After Dark." WHY IS IT BLUSHING? Are we supposed to believe that this cheerful Red Riding Hood creature is excited to have its face smushed in circles by our clumsy, germy hands? If my vagina looked like this I would be terrifiedto touch myself, lest one day it snapped and decided to devour my entire forearm.
I bet there's porn about that, actually.
Anyway, aside from Nightmare Vagina (whose name is Happy, dear Lord), this app looks kind of cool. I'm a little inclined to side-eye all its rhetoric about a smartphone application being the key to unlocking the sexuality of repressed women everywhere, but hey, if it helps some people step up their fap game, then why not.
HPT is still in the marketing stages, so it's tough to see how all the features will come together. The interesting thing, for me, is that aside from basic technique tips , the app appears to pit you against fellow users to see who can masturbate the most efficiently and often. Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku is troubled by this, because women are already taught that their sexualities are part of a competition.
On the one hand, I get what she's saying -- that this "gamification" framework could drive women who are already insecure about their sexualities away from healthy relationships with their bodies.
I could also easily see this rapidly growing out of proportion -- can you challenge your friends to Orgasm Races? Is this gonna be like when everybody was obsessed with their Klout score for some reason? Can we become the Foursquare Mayor of our own vaginas? Perhaps masturbation should be the one sacred space that doesn't require a push notification.
On the other hand, though, the part of me that's a competitive, sex-obsessed jerkwad is screaming, "SOMEBODY GIVE ME A MOTHERFUCKING WHACK-OFF BADGE, NOW!"
Suffice it to say that I am signing up for the beta.
While we wait with bated breath for HappyPlayTime to launch, I took the opportunity to poke around all the other "masturbation apps" available at the Apple store. As I explored, it became eminently clear that while HPT might not be a flawless way of incorporating sex and technology, it is certainly filling a need. Because when it comes to sex-related applications, the Internet is surprisingly, and tragically, lacking.
The Deal: This app is clearly intended to help people with penises avoid premature ejaculation. It offers "training schedules" (basically just scheduled edging sessions), exercises one can do to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, and…somewhat inexplicably, the worst blow job tips ever.
The Verdict: This isn't strictly my area, but I still gave the edging and pelvic floor exercises a whirl. They were… fine. This idea actually has a lot of potential -- scheduled reminders not to orgasm, maybe, or little timers that could tell you when to hold it, hold it, hold, it -- okay come right now. Alas, it was mostly just pages and pages of poorly formatted explanations of how reverse cowgirl can help stimulate the clitoris.
Of Note: There's an "audio training" option, which, again, I was hoping would be some sort of guided edging meditation where a sexy lady-voice would get you all worked up before a mean drill sergeant told you to KNOCK IT OFF, SOLDIER and then the sexy lady voice would come back, et cetera, et cetera.
This was not the case.
Sexiness Rating: 1/10. I guess the pelvic floor exercises got me going a little, but I actually got more turned on writing those suggestions just now than this app could ever hope to accomplish.
The Deal: Ugh, this is the kind of app that I HATE, where it's essentially just a web page distilled into icon form. I'm so glad I paid a dollar for you to essentially Google "games to liven up the bedroom," man.
The Verdict: See above. Fourteen role play / sexy party game ideas that you can probably find printed on a joke birthday card at Spencer's.
Of Note: It kept freezing, which did lead me to some pretty entertaining mental visions of a naked couple crankily tapping at their iPhone screens while their bowl of Jell-O jiggles, sad and neglected, in the background. "You had one job, Sex Games! One job!"
Sexiness Rating: 2/10. I guess if I'm really hard-up for fantasy ideas I can give the "Big Wig" a whirl.
"Lesbian Short Stories"
The Deal: Again, I get really cranky when apps are basically unnecessary. This is a book of lesbian erotica of which you can download the first chapter for free. When you get to the end of that chapter, your phone will start inviting you to pay $2.99 to access the full spread.
The Verdict: What is with these apps and freezing unnecessarily? The porn was okay, kind of, but I kept going to scroll down and having to stop and wait for the app to catch up with my request. Kinda kills the buzz.
Of Note: This is only Volume 2.
Sexiness Rating: 4/10, because lesbian erotica is pretty much always hot even if you have to skim the majority of it and let your imagination do the rest. But if I'm gonna read porn on my phone, there are better places to find it.
The Deal: Supposedly crafted to track the frequency and intensity of vibrations during fucking in order to determine overall power and longevity during sex sessions. Assuming, of course, that your penetrative sex skill is the only kind you're interested in improving.
The Verdict: I was curious, so I thought real hard about burly dudes touching each other and stuck my phone on my stomach just to see what kind of vibrations I was recording. Maybe this is because I just really love seeing data mapped out, but it was genuinely awesome to see how my breathing rate increased as I got closer to finishing. It also automatically logs your time, which I am totally going to use to try to get my two-minute jack-off technique down to a science.
Of Note: I'm not sure what the …? between "Awake" and "Asleep" is supposed to mean. In REM state?
Sexiness Rating: 7/10. Ain't nothing like data analytics to get the old clit-pulse thumping.
So there you have it. Clearly, if you're yearning for appsturbation, what's currently available probably won't do it for you -- and if you're aware of some obscure option I missed, please throw it my way. I, for one, am genuinely looking forward to trying out HappyPlayTime. The carpal tunnel factor is just a risk I will have to take.
Kate occasionally uses her phone to tweet, too: @katchatters