Long distance relationships just got a whole lot sexier.
Is this the best combination of sex and technology yet? Durex is working on a line of undergarments (Fundawear—badum-ching!) that vibrate when activated by mobile phone. That’s right, remote-operated vibrating underwear are in development.
They’re not available for purchase yet, but it looks like the Aussies will be the first to give this product a go. (Gives new meaning to the land down under…)
Do you know how to open a condom? Are you sure? ‘Cause there’s totally an app for that. (Trust us, if this guy can do it, so can you.)
Six Birth Control Apps Worth Checking Out
I’m sure you heard about the #teamiPhone vs. #teamAndroid Instagram beef last week. Can’t we all just get along, guys? Thank goodness for the wonderful world of birth control—it offers something for everyone! Hopefully you’ve already checked out and taken advantage of Bedsider’s custom cheeky text message reminders for birth control and medical appointments. They boast nifty features like a snooze function and a “discreet” option for the faint of, umm…frisky.
If you’re craving even more birth-control-related technology, these swipe-able, tap-able, colorful apps are good resources, too. Need a helpful text, an ovulation reminder, or a condom tracker? There’s an app for that. Since prevention is literally at your fingertips, there are no excuses—no matter what kind of phone you have. (Except for the BlackBerrys. Jk!)
The datebooks and calendars of yesteryear can be nixed. My True Cycle tracks the peak of a female user’s ovulation. “You’ll enter three pieces of information on the website or your phone each morning: your temperature, your fertility symptoms, and whether it’s the first day of your period,” reads the website.
MeFertil’s iPhone app is designed for those who “are trying to get pregnant or looking for a natural, hormone-free contraceptive method.” Its convenience lies in the fact that paper charting isn’t necessary…you can keep temperature information and track any fertility medication with one swipe.
Oh, New York. The concrete jungle where plenty of dreams are made…and sometimes babies, too. To prevent an even more populous city, the local health department launched their NYC Condom Finder app on Valentine’s Day. It’s simple: type in your address or use your iPhone or Android GPS and the tracker will direct you to the nearest venue with free condoms. The app is a free download as well.
Have you heard of MTV’s Staying Alive Campaign? It’s their global initiative to fight HIV/AIDS. Ther iCondom app is very similar to the NYC Condom Finder, but this digital download is a national effort. The directions instruct users to “simply upload the location of your nearest condom dispenser or retailer via GPS” to create a user-generated map of condom dispensers and retailers.
The Android app iPill is definitely going for the gold in versatility. For $2.99, you get “specific reminders for over 90 pill, patch, ring and IUD prescriptions.” There are also reality-inducing alarms that you can use, like a baby’s cry. Um, yikes.
Seems myPill was launched with visual types in mind. This iPhone app has an interactive graphic that looks just like a four week pack. As each day passes, a pill disappears (see helpful screen capture). How cool is that?
Khalea Underwood is an intern for the digital media team of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. When she’s not writing, shopping, or listening to music, the Howard University print journalism student moonlights as an older sister, a contributor for MTVIggy.com, and a copy editor for The Hilltop newspaper.
Lost In Translation: A Call Is Worth A Thousand Texts
Originally published on SexReally.com on April 29, 2010.
“Where’s my water bottle?” read the note on the screen. I was sitting at a rest stop on the road to Washington, DC, when my phone vibrated urgently and flashed the above text message from my roommate/boyfriend. I looked at my feet. His Nalgene was sitting on the floor of the car, approximately 500 miles from our apartment. Whoops. “I took it with me, my bad!” I texted back. A few back-and-forths later, he sent a response that I considered somewhat condescending: “Next time, ask me before you take my things.”
I read his message and completely flipped. Instead of “reply”, I hit “dial” and when he answered I snapped, “I apologized, what else do you want?!” He was taken aback by my irritation; I was fuming over his pedantic response to my apology. Things quickly devolved and our tiff lasted nearly half an hour before we realized we were bickering over a missing Nalgene.
Maybe it was car-ride fatigue, or the sticky hot weather, or the disgusting rest-stop smell of McDonald’s mingled with gasoline that made me react so angrily, but more likely, we could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble had we just talked instead of texted. Though my relationship probably wasn’t in danger because of a text message squabble, how many romances-in-development have been derailed due to digital miscommunication? And when it comes to new or potential romantic partners, why are people so afraid of face-to-face communication?
Lehigh senior Jessica Chu says that using text and instant messages during the nascent stages of a relationship is particularly problematic. While texting and instant messaging (IMing) have become prevalent forms of communication, relying on written texts alone might not get across the nuances of your message, especially if you’re interacting with someone who isn’t familiar with your personality and tone. In one study of college students, researchers wanted to investigate whether sarcasm could be accurately detected in written statements. When given a series of sarcastic and serious statements to convey via email, the senders assumed that they would be understood 78 percent of the time. In reality, the recipients accurately identified sarcasm 73 percent of the time in voicemails and only 56 percent of the time through email, with the latter rate being equivalent to a pure guess. According to one of the researchers, “E-mail is fine if you want to communicate content, but not any emotional material.”
But what about that winky face you can append to the end of a text? Doesn’t that add some subtlety to your statements? Perhaps, but they’re still not nearly as useful as social cues, such as tone of voice and facial expressions, which could drastically alter the meaning of a statement. A researcher on another study, this one by Harvard University, says that “computer-mediated communication” is a poor substitute for face-to-face interactions. The lack of “relationship features” and physical cues prevents people from “identify[ing] correctly the kind of interpersonal situations they find themselves in”.
If the prevalence of digital conversations were just a matter of convenience, that’d be one thing. But part of the reason why people find the medium so attractive is precisely because it’s not as personal as a phone call. One informal poll by AOL and the Associated Press found that 43 percent of teenagers use instant message to deal with potentially awkward situations, including making and breaking dates – and in some cases, even relationships. While hiding behind a phone or computer screen is a nice shield, the least that we owe our romantic partners (potential and otherwise) is the decency of a real conversation, and not one that has a character limit.
Nowadays, I’m saving heated conversations – with both strangers and close friends – for later instead of responding quickly with a digital note that may or may not convey what I want to say. Jessica feels similarly and is “trying to cut the BS and stupid pointless unclear texts”. Not only does she find calling more “direct”, but she also think it saves people emotional hassle. She says, “I don’t want to waste my time figuring out what you mean and I want to save your time too.”
Lena Chen is a blogger, writer and speaker on sex, gender and feminism. As a Harvard undergrad, she authored the blog Sex and the Ivy and her writing has been featured in The New York Times and Newsweek. She currently blogs at The Chicktionary.
Unplanned Pregnancy (and Planned Un-pregnancy) in The Sims 3
Originally published on August 17, 2009 on SexReally.com.
1.4 million people bought The Sims 3 in the first week it was released, and I was one of them. For those of you who are not familiar with the franchise, here is the premise: The player creates characters, or “sims,” and then controls pretty much everything about them, such as their clothes, house, and traits, and then makes all of their decisions for them. I know this sounds like it would be a total waste of time — it is — but it’s really entertaining.
And when it comes to starting a family in the Sims, things get really interesting. Sims can “WooHoo” without the risk (or, according to some players, with very little risk) of getting pregnant, and to get pregnant the user has to select “Try for baby.” As some people have said in various forums, “WooHoo” is considered by some to mean sex with contraception. Statistically speaking, this makes perfect sense. Even with perfect use of the pill, there’s still a 1% risk of getting pregnant.
For “research purposes,” I wanted to see what would happen if my single, broke Sim had a baby. She had no desire for a baby, but I control everything she does so she didn’t have a choice. I had her invite her boyfriend over to her house and, long story short, when she suggested to him that they try to have a baby he rejected her advances completely (as evidenced in the above photo). And to think, he had no problem when he was WooHoo-ing with her the night before…
Even though my Sim would have ended up a single parent and the boyfriend could have had nothing to do with the baby, he didn’t want a baby. Which, you could say, accurately reflects what a lot of men would want in real life. Unfortunately, in most real-world cases it’s probably more likely that they don’t talk about the possibility of pregnancy and then get the “surprise.”
Curious about what others have been thinking about reproduction in the game, I checked out some message boards. Some players have reported they would applaud having unplanned pregnancies in the game, because it would only make it that much more realistic. There have been a few reports of this happening and some players said they were totally happy about it. But others have reported that they were devastated their Sim had an unplanned pregnancy. One of the posts reads: “Actually that happened to me once.. it was such a shock it totally messed up the story I was planning.”
Another one of my favorite posts involves a player asking around to see if abstinence was the best option because she didn’t want her sim to have any more children: “so i know sims can get pregnant from the try for a baby option which works nearly every time, but can they get pregnant accidentally from having too much woohoo… just wanted to know as my sims have 3 children all ready two toddlers and a baby and i didnt really want any more yet but the male sim has the wish to woohoo. do you think i should risk it or not ?”
But this is my all-time favorite, from a player who tried to click on WooHoo but missed: “Accidentally pressing try for baby sucks. The first time I did this there wasn’t even any delay. And the next day my sim was feeling sick. All I could say was FUCK. Now I have no money, my sim is single, and my baby is sleeping on the floor.”
At least it’s just a game. It’s not like any of this stuff ever happens in real life.
A version of this piece is cross-posted on The National Campaign’s blog, Pregnant Pause.