The VOICE podcast delves into the minds of UK tech trailblazers – narrowing in on one industry per series. The theme for our inaugural series is sextech. In the second episode, host Graham Hussey speaks to Soumyadip Rakshit about MysteryVibe.
We had a few more questions, so spoke to Soumyadip about the kind of research backing up MysteryVibe; the fact that one in five Brits can’t remember the last time they masturbated; and his favourite business books.
[Maddyness] What kind of research did you undertake regarding sexual wellness in the run-up to founding MysteryVibe? Did you speak to doctors and/or members of the public?
[Soumyadip] All our product design follows a structured process, with engineering and medicine working in tandem. This starts with detailed research into clinical evidence that demonstrates where vibration has been helpful in addressing the sexual dysfunction we are aiming to support with that device.
As a quick background, vibration is a proven non-medicinal solution for a wide range of sexual health issues. Vibratory stimulation leads to improvements in vaginal lubrication, orgasm, genital sensation and sexually related distress in women with arousal and orgasm disorders. Similarly, they provide great erectile response to support with erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation.
Our devices are created to be malleable which can adapt exactly to any body shape and precisely deliver targeted vibrations where it’s needed.
Next, we establish the areas of our anatomy where vibrations need to be delivered to create the necessary blood flow. Based on this, we create a variety of designs, surface models and start to prototype them. The prototypes are then built up with internal structures and electronics to start testing with real users within the team.
After numerous rounds of testing and iterations, we move to production tooling and create the first set of fully compliant devices which can be sent externally for testing and feedback. We start testing these with small groups and build up to Pilot1000, our final product test with 1000 users before finalising the product and starting production.
When conducting studies, we set the appropriate study parameters such as number of participants, study duration, measurement method, etc. We then set the participant selection criteria such as age, pre-existing conditions & current sexual health score. Following study execution, we analyse the data and review with the participant to validate the outcomes against the original target outcomes set at the start of the study.
As an example of thinking behind our devices: Crescendo was designed to mimic the human fingers, so users can simply bend it to reach areas they couldn’t before, and deliver intense targeted stimulation exactly where they need it. This helps many individuals with major pain relief, pelvic floor restoration, anorgasmia and general help with sexual dysfunction.
You mentioned you enjoyed Shoedog. Are there any other books you’ve liked recently?
Another book I love (although not very recent) is Zero to One. This is especially true for hardware, where creating something that has never been done before brings with it a huge set of unknowns. The challenges associated with that can seem overwhelming, so it was great to find inspiration from others who have built companies from ‘Zero to One’.
What kind of partnerships are in store for MysteryVibe as you grow – what would be some of your ideal organisations and people to work with?
Bringing about change in sexual health is always going to be a collective effort.
That’s why we partner with numerous sex positive companies. From clinics to charities to big corporates to sextech startups, we partner with everyone who shares our vision of making sexual health accessible to all.
What do you foresee for the future of sextech? What areas will we see more innovation in?
The pandemic has really shone a light on sextech and how important human touch and intimacy is for people’s wellbeing.
The perception of sextech has already shifted away from vibrators ‘replacing’ partners to being much more about enhancing intimacy for individuals and couples.
And the best way to accelerate that through technology would be to make the technology so advanced and miniaturised that it becomes an enabler without getting in the way.
An example of that could be a vibrator so compact that can be fitted within a condom!
What’s the most interesting/shocking fact about sex or sextech that you’ve come across?
Our 2020 research showed that 24% of Brits couldn’t remember the last time they had sex and 1 in 5 couldn’t remember the last time they masturbated. We expected less sex due to lockdown… but to not remember when we last had sex or masturbated – now that’s a real sex recession!
People’s sexual wellbeing is taking the backseat amidst all the stress that surrounds us today. This is particularly ironic now, since improved sexual health has significant health benefits like improving the immune system, and contributing to better sleep and better mental health.