Cocks Not Glocks

Sex toys can be revolutionary, too. This summer hundreds of Texas students demonstrated against the “campus carry” law, which went into effect starting 1 August 2016. The new law permits licensed gun owners aged 21+ to carry concealed handguns at UT Austin and other public universities. By means of protesting, students brought thousands of rubber dildos to the campus, turning sex toys into political weapons of agency.

The Cocks Not Glocks rally took place at the same location where Charles Whitman shot and killed 14 people at The University of Texas in Austin on 1 August 1966. Under the motto “Fighting absurdity with absurdity,” the protestors highlight the ridiculous nature of the new law, as this went into effect on the 50th anniversary of the massacre. Reportedly the protest has distributed over 5.000 dildos, donated by sex shops.

The Campus (Dildo) Carry movement started when in 2015 Governor Greg Abbott signed approval of SB11, or the “campus carry” law. Jessica Jin, a UT alumnus organized an “ironic” protest to mock the apparent absurdity of weapons being allowed on campus, but regulates the displaying of obscene items. In less than 36 hours, over 1.700 students pledged to attend the protest and #CocksnotGlocks went viral.

Campus carry has opened a seemingly deep political fault. Faculty members have resigned over the law, whereas a gun-rights group staged a fake mass shooting in Austin to demonstrate their belief that so-called “gun-free zones” are the initial problem that makes mass shootings so lethal. This makes us wonder if cocks can bring down governments?

Source: The Guardian

Wake Up with an Orgasm

If an orgasm won’t get you up in the morning, nothing will. This is the basic premise of the Little Rooster S, the vibrator-alarm clock hybrid for women that takes intimate technology to a whole new level. Never before was snoozing that much fun.

The original Little Rooster was first introduced in 2011, but ran out of stock after garnering a great amount of media attention. Therefore the company behind the contraption is back with an updated model that is currently available for pre-order. Priced at £69.00, “You wake slowly. Sensually. Pleasurably.” The small plastic device is to be worn inside the underwear, but outside the body. The user can adjust the alarm clock by choosing for 30 “snorgasm” power levels –of which 27 are silent– for precision pleasure. The device will begin to vibrate at the specified time, and gradually increases to the user’s selected level of intensity. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

The everyday vibrator-alarm isn’t for solely morning purposes. “I wore it during romantic dinners, set to go off during dessert as we sat watching the sun set over the beach,” one customer said. “I think the waiters must have thought I hadn’t had a creme brûlée in months!” Moreover, sex trainer Charlotte Rose says she believes this could help women suffering from certain sexual issues. “This looks like a great little device for women who may be suffering from low libido due to natural events such as menopause.”

A similar device for both men and women was introduced in 2015, called the Dream Rooster, but after an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign, the erotic dream simulator never came about.

Source: Daily Mail

This Algorithm Increases Your Matches

Remember the Twitterbot that used an algorithm to rate your selfies? Not such a bad idea after all, according to Tinder. The company has just unveiled their latest feature update, Smart Photos, a new algorithm that maximizes your match potential by means of A/B testing. Not only does the algorithm takes into account overall popularity of your photos, it also accounts for the swiping patterns of people looking at your profile.

Smart Photos is yet another feature to the data-driven approach to romance. However, the app has gone one step further in turning its users into human guinea pigs whose every swipe is catalogued and carefully tracked. As the algorithm alternates the first photo seen by others, the new feature mines each response as others swipe on you and re-orders the photos for better results. According to the company, in testing, users saw up to a 12% increase in matches.

The feature launched worldwide on Thursday, but isn’t widely available yet. Once the algorithm is ready for use, users will be able to select a toggle in their profile settings that enables the feature and implements the algorithm. Earlier this month, Tinder launched another new feature for people wanting to maximize their matches and minimize time spent swiping. The premium feature lifts your profile with a 30-minute boost, and is said to increase your chances of being seen by potential matches.

While Smart Photos might earn you more matches, Tinder also happens to be a big data company with over 100 million downloads. For the moment, this data is solely being used to help improve your love life, but who knows what the future will bring.

Source: TechCrunch

Simulate Love with a Smart Sex Doll

We are well educated when it comes to finding love using websites and apps, and we do not hesitate to pay for these services. And then there are sex dolls. No longer made from inflatable materials but from high-end silicone, and market leader RealDoll is integrating emerging technologies and AI to make you fall in love with her. Are technologies contributing to the commodification of women?

In August during a Reddit AMA, RealDoll CEO Matt McMullen revealed some of his plans regarding the future of his product and the invasion of sex robots. He is currently developing RealBotix, an AI system that will be compatible with a robotic doll or experienced in a VR environment. “I think the sex industry is headed for the integration of a LOT of new technology […] AI and VR, to name a couple. Teledildonics as well.” he said. “Smart dolls are the logical next step.”

RealDoll was founded in 1997 and has sold over 5.000 life-size dolls, with prices ranging from $5.000 to $10.000. His new dolls will build on the Real Doll formula –you basically only purchase the head– but will be extended with a ”customizable programming of personality.” In an early teaser for the project we meet one the new dolls Harmony, who describes herself as “a prototype of a very exciting new form of adult companionship.”

When during the AMA someone asked whom McMullen’s biggest completion was, he simply responded “human females.” However, he doesn’t want people to think of his dolls as human alternatives, rather catalysts of an intimate future, one that involves plastic, metal, and a smartphone.

Source: Mirror

Gay Escort Website Charged for Promoting Prostitution

In August 2015, the New York offices of infamous gay escort website Rentboy were raided as part of a major prostitution sting, whereby the chief executive and several employees were arrested. 13 months later –this week– CEO Jeffrey Hurant pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in a federal case that incited accusations of anti-gay bias, and faces up to 21 months in prison. He will be sentenced on February 2.

Rentboy.com was founded in 1996 and was known as the largest online m4m escort website in the US. Among the website were escorts’ profiles listing various sexual services and fees; escorts advertised their interests from “vanilla” (clean-cut) to “leather” to fetish RPGs. The company was leading the industry for nearly two decades and was known for its transparency (what’s in a name), pool parties, and their annual awards show for escorts called the Hookies.

In earlier interviews, Hurant stated “there is no place on this website where somebody says I’ll have sex for money because that is against the law,” however he advocated, “to keep the oldest profession in the world up to date with all the latest technology.” Reportedly the raid was prompted by the launch of Rentboy’s Cash4Class scholarship last month. Gay activist Bill Dobbs responded with outrage to the arrest, “It’s wasteful prosecution,” he said. “It’s the war on sex. It feels like it’s something out of the 1950s.”

Prosecutors had alleged that Rentboy was the equivalent of an online brothel, and that the escorts were actually prostitutes. Part of their proof was the explicit ads, attribute listing and price options ranging from $150 an hour to $3.500 for a weekend. This leads us to questioning why Rentboy was targeted over other (straight) escort websites.

Sources: NY Times, ABC

Tampons 2.0

Each month women experience the shedding of their uterine lining. During this period of 3 to 5 days on the average, it has been said that women feel more sensitive and aroused. That’s where San Francisco start-up The Flex Company comes in. This company has designed an alternative tampon that enables couples to have “mess-free period sex” when the monthly cycle hits.

The Flex menstrual disc is similar in design to the Mooncup, and fits against the cervix, creating a soft barrier that temporarily collects menstrual fluid. Made with a medical-grade polymer, the material uses body heat to warm up and adapt to the wearer’s natural shape. As the disc is disposable, it can be worn –during sex– for up to 12 hours, although is not a form of contraception. Women (or anyone having a period) can buy the product for about $20 per cycle, or subscribe to a quarterly box, which reduces the price to $15 a month.

According the company, Flex is the first product innovation in feminine hygiene in nearly a century. “Flex is a revolutionary device that is changing the way women think about their menstruation […] Unlike other feminine hygiene products, Flex conforms to any woman’s body making it the most comfortable product on the market.” Gynecologist Jane van Dis says the product is hypoallergenic, free of BPA plastic and doesn’t carry the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Menstrual products are subject to regulations from the Federal Drug Administration. However, as currently there is no category for menstrual discs, this means these devices would be regulated as menstrual cups. Therefore Flex submitted itself to the FDA as such and recently acquired its competitor Softcup to corner the market on menstrual discs. If one thing is for sure, the company surely succeeds in giving new meaning to the notion of 1 girl, 1 cup. Period.

Sources: TechCrunch, Dezeen, Mashable

A Wedding Crowdfunding Campaign

Modern families are now turning to crowdfunding websites to help pay for their weddings. There are even special platforms for it, like CrowdedWedding and WedAndGo. However, keeping in mind that crowdfunding sites initially started as charity fundraising websites, you might gain mixed feelings about your wedding inquiry. Therefore SwanLuv proposed a new system in 2015, and here’s why it failed.

Since 2010, over 1.500 wedding-related campaigns were launched on crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com. While it never provided fundraising totals, more than 16.000 donors helped contribute to provide couples the day (or night) they would never forget. Not long after gaining viral status, the Internet responded to the matter, criticizing the commodification of frailty bonds. Then SwanLuv happened.

In December 2015, a young startup company started accepting applications from couples that thought to have found everlasting love. The company promised a $10.000 loan, with one little catch; in case of divorce, the newly-weds had to refund the money –with interest. While it seemed SwanLuv would profit of the doomed marriages, it was the company itself that ended up broken hearted.

On Valentine’s Day, SwanLuv officially launched, and some wondered whether the company’s promise was too good to be true. Turns out, it was. Due to “overwhelming demand,” SwanLuv turned their business model around and launched as a wedding crowdfunding website instead, in which couples were to raise the money themselves.

SwanLuv CEO Scott Avy once referred to their platform as “a casino for marriage” in which algorithm software determines the interest rate, based on the capability score of their relationship. As it turns out, Avy himself took a gamble, but it didn’t turn out as he had calculated, making him walk the aisle of shame.

Source: GeekWire

RE: How do I configure virtual boyfriend 2.4.1?

Dear Desperate,

Thank you for your mail. It is helpful to hear about experiences and inefficiencies in regards to our service.

The Virtual Boyfriend Complete Pack 2.4.1 includes the original Virtual Boyfriend Platinum Edition and its steamy sequel, Virtual Boyfriend: Holiday Star. Added to the pack are Basic Pleasure Model GPLv2, Integrated Speech SDK 5.1 and BoyfriendBlocker.

When running BoyfriendTrainer, please note that due to inefficient memory, you might need to install additional software to improve system performance. The speed of I/O that depends on secondary storage management is critical to the speed of many programs. Therefore, make sure to uncheck ‘CONSIDER ACTUALS’ in table T511K (Maintenance V_T511K) to have the program run at ease.

Once this installation is complete, you will be able to manage your SETTINGS and make use of add-ons and upgrades from the BoyfriendCollection. To unlock its full potential, we highly recommend you to review our PostBody 2.3.2 upgrade to enable intimacy.

In addition to the exchange of interiority, it is possible to model your Boyfriend’s appearance by downloading Skins GX4 (be advised, however, that earlier versions of Basic Pleasure Model GPLv1 do not support this feature). In the CAT.log of the BoyfriendCollection, you find an alphabetically categorized selection of BoySkins that are versatile to your needs. In SETTINGS, you may calibrate your Virtual Boyfriend by assigning experience points (Exp.) to ASSETS. Whilst formatting, add the keys to the ASS.log.

If any errors occur during the process, you may want to consult the SOFT RESET (SRing) option. This trait can also be used when adjusting your Boyfriend during use. Note that an overmatch of SRings will cause your Boyfriend severe trauma, so make sure to use this option only in accordance with our policy. In order to prevent errors, we implemented a contraceptive clock that is subject to defragmentation.

Lastly, by making use of the PE 2.4.1 model, you commit to our terms and conditions; any form of mistreatment will not go undermined. Virtual Boyfriend maintains a data.log that responds to flow sensor and has an RGB indicator light added to it. It automatically sends updates to our server and hosts API for logging time.

In summary, Virtual Boyfriend PE 2.4.1 is easy in use, though there is a lightweight foundation to keep in mind. It is of upmost importance to us that both of you are happy, and as in any relationship, this takes time. We certainly hope you and your Boyfriend spend this time wonderfully together.

Tech

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This story is part of the Epistolary Contraint series and was originally published in Speculating Systems, the annual reader from the Sandberg Instituut.

The First Sex Toy for Trans Men

Over the last decade the sex toy industry gain more mainstream acceptance, thereby growing into a $15 billion market segment, with the expectation to surpass the $50 billion by 2020. Unfortunately this market fails to provide for gender-transitioning men, therefore trans activist and entrepreneur Buck Angel has created a sex toy designed specifically for the female-to-male (FTM) trans community.

The so-called Buck Off is a masturbation aid made for people who have transitioned or are currently transitioning. The shape of the toy is designed to be more comfortable for those experiencing the effects of testosterone as part of their transition, including the enlarging of their genitals. While the Buck Off resembles other masturbation sleeves in its basic design, this model is shorter and wider than other sleeves and can create suction. This allows the overcoming of gender dysphoria, which might arise in using other toys.

The device, which is distributed by male sex toy manufacturer Perfect Fit presents a radical entry into the sex toy industry, broadening the horizons beyond strap-ons and slings. Made from Perfect Fit’s ultra-soft SilaSkin™ the Buck-off is said to be “so pleasurable to touch it is addictive.” Steve Callow, Perfect Fit CEO responded, “Our philosophy has always been to make products to enhance the sexual experience, and Buck believes this toy will help transmen explore their bodies and be more confident in their sexuality. That’s all we needed to hear, and we are proud to be associated with Buck on this project.”

Angel believes that his product can help validate trans male identities, and has high hopes for his tool becoming an educational aid to help trans men connect with their bodies. The Buck Off has only been available for purchase for two weeks, but satisfied customers are already voicing their gratitude.

Source: Vice

The Dating Apocalypse

In our current understanding of hook-up culture there is not much space left for love. Our matches are being algorithmically determined and we decide if there is a “click” by swiping left or right. When it comes to sexual behavior and values, there seems to be an increasingly common attitude of “anything goes,” and somewhere along the way we started separating boyfriend material from hook-up material. Therefore Hinge is declaring war to swipe culture.

In September 2015, Vanity Fair ran an article that advocated the dawn of dating –or romance, as we know it– inspiring Hinge to re-launch their service for serious relationships aiming at millennials. The article is structured around Tinder, which is the most popular dating app to date thanks to its gamification element. The swipe is often characterized as the determining element of dating apps, wherein the swipe itself is just as fun as having a conversation with one of your matches.

Hinge is now ready to flaunt their service that treats dating not as a game, but as serious business, which as such, requires investment. The company explained in an email to current users that their accounts will automatically upgrade to a free trial of the new premium relationship app –not dating app– while the older service is taken down. Until then Hinge is running a campaign that shares data they compiled through their internal surveys of users in August 2016.

A study from the University of Sydney examined the online dating habits of 365 millennial users, and found almost three quarters of users “were just as inclined to seek a monogamous relationship since taking their search for love online.” Lead author Dr. Mitchell Hobbs said dating platforms are only as conducive to casual sex or real love as its users are. “The technology thrives because it is useful, and will die when it no longer offers pathways to connect and communicate that are advantageous to users.”

By removing the “fun” element of swiping and the payment of a monthly fee, Hinge aims to provide its users a clear alternative in their search for real relationships, rather than facilitating hookups. However, a younger demographic may not respond well to this.

Source: Forbes