A sex-positive mobile app aims to educate women about masturbation

Here's an app we can really get excited about. Well, sort of.

A new mobile app launching called “HappyPlayTime,” is seeking to make information about female masturbation more accessible than ever. Designer Tina Gong says she created the new app to talk “openly and lightheartedly about female masturbation." The hero of this game/masturbation-educational tool is an adorable animated character named “Happy,” who humbly describes herself as “your friendly, neighborhood vagina.”

Humor aside, the mission of Gong's app—to erode ignorance and cultural stigma around female masturbation—is a noble one, but its approach is problematic in multiple ways. 

First, “Happy” bares little resemblance to an actual vagina. In fact, she is looks more like a baby-pink cross between a teletubby and a Japanese anime character. That might be confusing for women trying to use the app to learn how actually to get-off. After all, it’s not very useful to learn how to stimulate a cartoon character with your finger. 

 

Another problem with the game is that it only seems to focus its lessons on clitoral stimulation—or at least that’s the only thing the screenshots portray. The downside of this limited approach is made clear by contrast with the approach used by seasoned sex educator Betty Dodson. In a story published by New York Magazine, a woman recalls her experience attending one of Dodson’s female group masturbation workshops in New York City. The author quotes Dodson saying during the workshop, “My mantra is vaginal penetration with clitoral stimulation.” Why? Because she worries that when women try to apply what they’ve learned about self-pleasure in partner sex that involves penetration, they will be “totally lost” if their masturbation only focused on the clitoris.

 

While this app may be the saving grace for women too shy or price-conscious to attend five-hour long group masturbation workshops (though they do come complete with almond oil, metal barbells, and wand vibrators) it also lacks many of the benefits of a more thorough and life-like masturbation education. In addition, Happy’s hyper cheerleader-like feedback in the masturbation-as-game simulation could be stressful for women who are already worried about their lack of experience and expertise achieving a solo-gasm. The project is still in development, though, and it's possible that Gong will incorporate some of the feedback that's been generated on the internet before completing the app. 

Until then, there's always the 20th century solution: your hand, and a mirror. 

Images: Pexels, HappyPlayTime 

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