Written by Teresa Bigelow for Salon. Originally published on October 23rd, 2016.
There’s been a giant surge of interest lately in sex-focused technology, appropriately dubbed “sextech.” Virtual reality porn is officially buzzworthy, overtly sex-focused dating apps are ubiquitous, and Londoners can expect a new sex robot cafe soon. But another side of sextech — one that caters to real-life human sex and feminine pleasure — was the focus of a recent panel held at the New York co-working space, Knotel, recently. A mostly-female audience of approximately 75 people squeezed into a meeting room at Knotel’s Flatiron location to listen to three prominent entrepreneurs discuss the opportunities in sextech, and how women are transforming an industry that is estimated to be worth more than $30 billion.
But what are the implications of an exponentially increasing rate of innovation for one of humankind’s most fundamental needs?
Like most sectors of the tech industry, where disruption is the holy grail, sextech entrepreneurs aim to create ripples of change throughout a valuable market. But sextech is not your typical Silicon Valley subset. The nuanced industry is unique in that its “disruption” is actually dependent on overturning psychological constructs, centuries of cultural conditioning, and addictive behaviors.
Some experts believe that the way we currently think about, and approach, intimacy is largely affected by how the sex industry taps into these constructs.
Helmed by Cindy Gallop, founder & CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn; Polly Rodriguez, co-founder and CEO of Unbound; and Janet Lieberman, co-founder and CTO of Dame Products, the panelists at Knotel’s sextech discussion are hoping their ventures will be a positive force in this movement.
Gallop, a former advertising executive and influential voice for gender equality, champions the idea that women will lead the charge in crafting a breed of sextech that encourages human connection. Gallop says she’s hoping to raise $10 million for a sextech incubator that exclusively works with female founders, as well as to scale MakeLoveNotPorn.
Head over to Salon to learn more about what the future of #sextech looks like!