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If a woman tells you she has had an orgasm, you shouldn’t trust her. Instead, you should hook her up to an algorithm to see if she’s a big old faker.
This seems to be the not-so-subtle suggestion from a group of five men working in sex tech, who claim to have developed an algorithm that can “validate an authentic female orgasm”.
The tech, designed by a company called Relida Limited, will supposedly help sex toy creators make better sex toys by monitoring a woman’s heartbeat.
The theory, they say, is that an accelerated heartbeat can show that a woman has truly orgasmed – never mind the fact an accelerated heartbeat could signify a number of things, including fear or stress.
According to the designers, “so far there is no evidence and proof of female orgasm” and “there is no reliable way to be sure if a woman has an orgasm”. Asking us, apparently, does not count.
Received a pitch presentation from a "female well being sex tech start-up" (five dudes) that can "confirm" and "validate" female orgasms, that could help my company develop better sex toys. Here are some slides, for your enjoyment/anger. pic.twitter.com/wwbk9NUDB3
— Stu Nugent (@CrookedNuts) June 9, 2020
Stu Nugent, a brand manager for the pleasure brand Lelo, was pitched the algorithm, and shared images of the presentation on Twitter. Nugent says he’s used to receiving unsolicited pitches weekly through LinkedIn, but says: “I have never received anything as egregious as this.”
“I was stunned,” he tells HuffPost UK. “I had to do some background to make sure it wasn’t a prank, and having discovered it to be absolutely, unashamedly real, I would have much rather it had been fake.”
In Nugent’s opinion, the pitch has “no redeeming features”.
“Why is ‘female orgasm’ written in a different font, like it was copied and pasted from Wikipedia?” he asks. “Why did they make up the statistic that ’26-74%’ of women have faked an orgasm? Why are there snails [on the presentation]? Why, and I feel I can’t stress this enough, are there snails?”
Nugent says he’s offended by the attitude these pitchers have towards women’s orgasms, but wants to hand the mic over to women to explain why the pitch is so wrong (good man).
Ti Chang, co-founder of sex tech company Crave, described the “male-dacity” of the pitch as “insulting”.
Women don’t need this kind of male saviorism, we’re orgasming just fine without you. Ti Chang, the co-founder of sex tech company Crave
“The premise of their startup is to determine if a woman has actually had an orgasm, because they don’t believe women know their own bodies well enough to determine if they have had an orgasm,” Chang tells HuffPost UK. “They also don’t believe there is scientific proof of the female orgasm. I feel like I’m talking to a flat-earther.”
Chang would like to ask the algorithm designers why they are “trying to fix something that is not broken”.
“A common downfall of many startups is to create solutions for problems that don’t exist,” she adds. “Women don’t need this kind of male saviorism, we’re orgasming just fine without you. Lastly, only boys would reduce a woman’s pleasure to an orgasm.”
Women on Twitter also had a lot to say on the matter.
There is so much wrong with that entire presentation I’m almost getting a nosebleed. Aside from literally everything else, I am baffled at how they think heart rate is the surefire way to *checks notes* “authenticate” an orgasm. What if one is just... vigorous?
— Starling (@Starling7913) June 9, 2020
the funniest thing about this is how they’re just blatantly saying “a woman’s sexual pleasure is about ME” lmao like it’s not about getting her off it’s about them having ~proof~ that they did so they can pat themselves on the back
— laura lux (@DarthLux) June 9, 2020
My favourite part “so far there has been no evidence and proof of a female orgasm”. I think we need to find their current and ex ladies and offer them free toys, they’ve had to put up with a lot.
— Rebecca Chase (@rebeccahchase) June 9, 2020
WTAF?? Why would it even be necessary to "validate" a woman's orgasm? If she says she's had an orgasm, then that should be the end of discussion. This makes me incandescent with rage. Why can't women just be believed? Why does this need validating?
— 💜Isabelle Lauren💜 (@RomanticIsa) June 9, 2020
I think I've come back to this tweet about four times today because I still can't quite believe it. Quite aside from everything else, the implication that women can't be trusted not to fake it with their own VIBRATORS is kind of hilarious.
— samantics (@SmokeAndSmut) June 10, 2020
Nugent says he’s also offended by the “callousness of the attitude it takes towards the pleasure industry as a whole”.
“Charlatans like this think our industry is an easy win, a quick buck,” he says. “They believe they can easily monetise people’s sexuality. I’m proud to say that the huge response to my original tweet proved that attitude wrong. We’re tired of our sexualities being commodified by idiots.”
In response to its critics, Relida Limited issued a statement on its website, which it also sent to HuffPost UK. “There is a tweet describing us in a twisted, very wrong and insulting way,” it read. “That’s why we decided to clarify ourselves.”
It shared five points, including: “Yes, an orgasm may be identified with heart rate, as it has a specific pattern when climaxing”. The statement continued: “We never wanted to sell this algorithm directly to women or men. Indeed, this is a sensitive subject and information that could create additional pressure on women. We just want our algorithm to be used as a testing way for companies developing new products for women’s pleasure.”
On 12 June, HuffPost UK noticed Relida Limited had added to the statement on its website. It added: “The creator of this algorithm is a woman looking for the wellbeing of other women.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.