While the internet is in no short supply of libido-enhancing, erectile dysfunction-fixing, and pelvic floor-strengthening remedies, none has quite the comically absurd allure as the boner-boosting boxer briefs designed by Vylyv Labs.
After a successful 2016 IndieGoGo campaign, the company has been refining and tweaking their wearable into a sleek, expensive looking pair of undies that they claim will protect the wearer “from a sedentary lifestyle and other threats to [their] manhood.” To encourage use, they've found a way to gamify the process.
As both a lifelong gamer and bona fide male kegel program reviewer, I've been captivated by the product since I first read about it. And after reading on their website that, after a month into my pelvic floor exercises with these trunks, I'd be able to "raise the angle and increase the hardness of [my] erection" I was sold. Who among us hasn't pulled out the protractor from time to time and wished for a few more degrees?
I got a pair of Vylyv trunks to test out for myself. While I doubted they would replace my Switch as my preferred way of gaming in my underwear, I thought perhaps they could help with my overall below-the-belt health as I exercised the oft-neglected pubococcygeus muscle group.
The underwear had the sleek, expensive, and clean look of a brand like 2(x)ist. The sheer black panels around the hipbones were a touch flashy for my taste but nothing I couldn’t stomach in the pursuit of good health. I tried them on and, despite making me look like Mitt Romney's idea of "spicing up the marriage," they were comfy enough.
It took me a second to wrap my mind around how the undies worked. As I worked my way through the accompanying app’s Kegal exercise challenges, an inflated air sac nestled beneath my taint relayed the pressure change from my clenching and unclenching my pelvic floor to an electronic disk magnetically holstered in a receptacle on my hip. This removable and rechargeable little oval, resembling one of the doodads that gets stuck to a temple in every other episode of Black Mirror, sent the pressure input information to the Vylyv app, which transformed them into gaming commands.
It all seemed simple enough, though I was now wondering why Vylyv chose white fabric for a product designed to have buttholes repeatedly pressed against it.
Once my disc was charged, I slipped it into the holster, the underwear registering the addition of the device by sending a multi-second vibration to my taint.
It turned out that I had to do a bunch of five minute workouts to earn points and unlock the actual games. They made me do stuff like clench my crotch to inflate a sphere on the screen. Sort of like those grip strength tester bar games.
Though the device had a vibrationless "ninja" mode setting and the website implied the suited men in its photos were stealthily Kegal-ing in the office, I refused to wear the underwear out in public, convinced that, even under pants, everyone could tell I was sporting them. The trunks went on and off specifically for the exercises. Nothing more or less.
My training got off to a rocky start as I struggled to properly calibrate the underwear’s sensitivity and get into the groove of the exercise regimen. The activities were also pretty boring, but I pushed through, focusing on the dessert that lay ahead once my veggies had been eaten. Eventually, I finally earned enough digital tokens to get a game.
While I hadn’t been expecting anything as robust as Mario, I was still a bit disappointed to discover that the only games I’d be able to play with the underwear was a generic run-in-a-straight-line platformer where I’d jump over spikes and gaps to reach a flag, signifying the end of the level. There was also a Flappy Bird clone available, but I’d have to level up my profile a bit to unlock it.
Your avatar in the game is a Dickbutt-esque anthropomorphic penis and testicles with a smaller set of genitals as a tail. As icing on the cake, I learned that those tokens I’d been accruing could not only be used to buy extra lives for the games, but also accoutrements like a cigar and sunglasses for my little wiener sprite.
Alas, the actual gameplay left much to be desired. Tedium aside, Dick Butt’s responses to my pelvic prompts ranged from laggy to non-existent, no matter how hard I squeezed. Even after resorting to cheating by using my finger to push the air sac, I was getting nowhere. Eventually, I figured out that this was, in part, being caused by bluetooth disconnections, because the disc hemorrhages battery life and I was already out of juice less than an hour after fully charging up. A low batt warning would have been nice.
Exercise routines can’t always be fun, of course. Even the gaming-based ones. Acknowledging this hard truth, I pushed on for another two-ish weeks, gritting through my frustrating daily regimen and slowly leveling up my profile, unlocking new features and games along the way.
Fortunately, the Vylyv community is an encouraging one and, whenever I became too frustrated with my exercises and in need of a motivational boost, I’d check the Forum tab in the app to read up on other users’ thoughts and queries about the program.
“Does anyone else feel like those games are too hard? I’m suck at playing it,” lamented a user going by the handle Kumquat. Other users replied with validation of his feelings and suggestions that, with time and practice, things will get easier.
When another user shared that he’d just been told he has “a small dick,” commenters rushed in to offer digital pats on the back and offer new perspectives like “sometimes it’s not about the size.”
Unfortunately, the positivity of the group was not infectious enough, and my undie exercises quickly became too much of a chore to keep up with. This lack of input consistency resulted in every exercise feeling like a crap shoot, forcing me to eventually retire my briefs for good.
Though they hadn’t worked for me, I was encouraged to read that, for at least a few of these guys, the product was showing noticeable results and seemed to be worth their time and money. In fact, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before one of these fellas has leveled up his pelvic floor to the point of beating “Through the Fire and Flames” on expert in Guitar Hero with his Vylyv underwear. Hopefully, by the time that happens, I’ll have finally figured out how to pronounce the company’s name.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.