This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
We are weeks into the lockdown and people are getting the horn. Pre-COVID-19, my girlfriend and I had a pretty adventurous sex life (we’re both bisexual, non-monogamous and no strangers to sex clubs) but we’ve never been into sexting, sending nudes or technology-related play at all. But with both of us living in different households – and with no end to coronavirus in sight – has changed that. Couples separated by quarantine have had to get creative.
My girlfriend Fiona and I decided to get the most technologically advanced sex toys we could find to see if they could help us navigate these lonely, horny times. For our first foray into tech-assisted sex, I used the Kiiroo Onyx+ Smart Male Masturbator and Fiona got the OhMiBod Fuse.
Both toys connect to an app via Bluetooth, which then connects to other users on an app. There’s three modes: manual for when you’re alone, an automatic one which syncs to specific porn videos and the one we were most interested in – interactive, where the toys work together from a distance. When one toy is touched, the other one registers the sensation in real time. These “cyberdildonic sex toys” claim to “[allow] users to share sexual sensations across the internet”. Here’s how that went down.
DAY ONE: Today is the day – Quarantine and Chill™, but I have so many things to do first.
Two YouTube tutorials, an instruction manual, a confusing app, 20 WhatsApp messages, two phone calls, four hours of charging, and some assembling later, I’m no closer to cumming. What a buzzkill. By the time I got to the point of actually putting my dick into the Onyx+, I was pretty exasperated. To make matters worse, when we finally managed to get the toys connected and we started to get into dirty talk and touching ourselves, they just kept disconnecting. The all-important flow was constantly disrupted.
I assumed that the sheer chunkiness, lack of spontaneity and all the hassle would have been offset by a sensation that was roughly equivalent to a decent blowjob or at least a high school-standard handjob. Alas, that simply wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, it was mildly pleasurable switching between the various settings from the lowest-intensity “manual” (think a finger running up and down your shaft) all the way up to “storm”, the highest (which isn’t unlike when you try and use your left hand if you’re right-handed; yes, it feels okay, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t really work).
All in all, it was only about one-tenth of the sensation of actually touching myself normally and produced nowhere near the dopamine release of someone else is playing with me. If you had a thing for edging, maybe? For me, I just kept losing my boner. And the amount of lube that you are instructed to use with the Onyx+ (not quite a fisting amount, but definitely an anal amount) was also diverting my attention; I kept thinking about how I was going to have to mop the floor once this was all done.
Once I’d discarded the toy altogether it was much easier to get off using my hand along with the visuals provided by Fiona touching herself on a WhatsApp video chat. The other problem was the noise – it’s loud, and gets increasingly louder as you progress through the settings until “storm”, which sounds like a massive office inkjet printer firing off a 100-page spreadsheet. Hot!
DAY FIVE: In the interest of journalistic integrity, we decided to give it another go a few nights later. Once again, the toys stubbornly refused to connect and I couldn’t maintain an erection. But I was fine without it – I just focused on the video link with Fiona on the other side as she played with her toy. Just as she was about to cum though – I mean the split second right before her body began tensing up – the toy cut off. It was funny, though.
The Onyx+ is not worth the hype in terms of sensation. Plus, it’s just not sustainable for one wank; think: using a lot of lube, washing a towel used to clean up aforementioned lube and mopping your super-slippery room after every use. When it comes to long-distance mutual masturbation, that’s a big investment for a very limited return.
DAY ONE: I'm excited, but also conscious of not knowing what to do before getting all worked up and then having to figure it all out. I watched the online tutorial videos, but they’re not very clear. We call each other and check in to see if we've both done what we need to in order for the toys to connect to each other. There are so many steps that Si seems to have lost the will to live already.
We start video chatting and I show him the OhMiBod Fuse – which looks like a more ergonomic Rampant Rabbit – and talk him through how mine is meant to work. He shows me his and it looks like a portable speaker. Putting your genitals in an electrical appliance doesn't scream sexy, but neither did being spanked by a bamboo stick and let me tell you, I got into that, so I'm keeping an open mind. But then the noise: wow. The website claims the Onyx+ is discreet, but it sounds like windscreen wipers going berserk.
This was not getting us in the mood. I started sexily stroking my toy to help the mood and heard the screeching whizz of the speaker/fleshlight. It worked – the stroking caused the fleshlight to pulse up and down in unison! I stroked again with a bit more vigour. Nothing. Maybe lighter? Nope, nada. Connection lost on the app. After a few failed attempts we give up.
I suggest that we play individually with the toys over video but the fleshlight is so noisy and off-putting that we can't really talk to each other, so we end up ditching the fleshlight for a solo toy performance, some dirty talk and a good old-fashioned wank.
DAY FIVE: Take two. The toys again failed to connect again and we resorted to me using the vibrator and Si watching. The vibrator as a stand-alone toy is quite good. But there are some modes I don't like. There’s one that says it syncs to your touch, but it’s more like a delayed response – and it pulsates with such sudden velocity that it feels disjointed and awkward. It’s like having sex with an overexcited partner who doesn’t know how to communicate.
I settle for one of the modes I do like and we both get into it, watching each other on camera and talking dirty. I start feeling my orgasm approach and my legs start to tremble. I tell Si I'm about to cum and then... it turns itself off. There's no “five-minute warning light” as promised on the box. I'm aghast. In complete disbelief. I check the vibe and the battery is flat. Si just laughs.
ARE BLUETOOTH SEX TOYS WORTH IT?
Sex toys can get all techy but it’s not like real intimacy. They aren’t a substitute for someone stroking your back or breathing on your neck or smelling and tasting like an actual human. As with AI sex robots or ludicrously priced sex dolls, the tech just isn’t there – yet.
For us, the toys had the opposite of the intended effect. It didn’t bridge the physical gap between us; it just left us feeling deflated, more sexually frustrated and further apart than ever before. We won’t be using the toys together again, although Fiona is keen on flying solo with hers. Then again, sex is such a subjective thing that the toys might do it for you.
There is a happy ending to our frustration, though – shortly after this experiment took place, we decided to get a temporary flat together so we could fuck and cook in a socially responsible fashion. Maybe we’ve got the toys to thank for that.
For more on expensive sex toys check out this episode of Most Expensivest on All 4.