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    Startups aim to expand the market for sexual health devices

    All future In our monthly issue, we discuss innovations and technologies that are transforming the way we live, work and play. traffic, health, education more. This month is well-being, online from January 6th, and printed on January 13th.

    Mitchell Tepper’s motto is: Become a wonderful lover, But you could learn a lot from someone who has. “

    Dr. Tepper, Atlanta’s sex educator and coach, specializes in helping people with disabilities find. Sexual satisfaction.. Dr. Tepper, a quadriplegic, injured his spine at the age of 20 in 1982, when he was working as a lifeguard. Doctors told him that he was less than 10% likely to have children, but no one advised him on how to increase his chances of becoming a father or improve his sexual life, Dr. Tepper. Says.Today he recommends App-controlled device For clients like him who aren’t making full use of their hands.

    “Sexuality is an integral part of a person’s life, but disability often leads to physical limitations that can dramatically impair a person’s ability to intimate,” says Dr. Tepper. Technology modified or created for people with disabilities “has the ability to allow individuals and couples to overcome these limitations and access the joy of affirming life,” he says.

    Recently, companies have begun developing products that cater to people with disabilities, relying on testers in the disabled community to incorporate features that make devices more accessible and improve their designs.

    When it comes to sexual health, advocates say the medical community is lagging behind in meeting the needs of people with disabilities.


    Photo:

    The Wall Street Journal Steph Martyniuk, Floral and Prop Styling: Gunnar Floral

    When it comes to sexual health, the medical community is lagging behind in meeting their needs, says disability advocates. Many doctors are particularly uncomfortable talking about sex with people with disabilities. Partly because of the stigma, there is a shortage of useful products and very few devices are insured.

    “From my own personal experience, and from working with patients with countless disabilities, the healing power of sexual contact and sexuality is significantly underestimated,” said a clinical psychologist at the University of New Mexico. David Ray, a certified sex therapist and related faculty member, says. He specializes in working with people with disabilities, and he himself has a disability.

    Several tools that help people with disabilities have children have been on the market for decades. In the 1990s, researchers discovered that a man with a spinal cord injury could give birth to a child by stimulation with a vibrating device. The soon-to-be-launched Ferticare is a wand-like device that uses intense vibrations to treat male infertility with spinal cord injuries.

    The harvest of this new device is not just about giving birth, but about joy. They are cheaper and easier to use, and many were designed by people with disabilities.

    The Bump’n Joystick, expected to sell for $ 249 in early 2022, is a bendable cylinder with extensions for various attachments. Designed for those who are struggling with small motor functions. They can hug the joystick and move the device in place with their arms and legs.

    Toronto-based brothers Andrew Gruza and Heather Morrison came up with the idea for Banpun in 2018 after Gruza, who suffers from spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, was asked to test a third-party device. rice field. “I couldn’t get this toy out of the box because of my dexterity,” he says.

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    The new devices are cheap and easy to use, and many were designed by people with disabilities.


    Photo:

    The Wall Street Journal Steph Martyniuk, Floral and Prop Styling: Gunnar Floral

    Through a survey conducted at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2018, Gurza and Morrison found that sex devices on the market do not meet the needs of people with disabilities, especially those with hand disabilities. ..

    Bump’n has raised A $ 323,000, including AU $ 13,000 from GoFundMe fundraising activities. This is equivalent to about $ 230,000 at the current exchange rate.

    Former designer of automated weapons, Alexander Bjørkmann, used his expertise to design Handy, a remote-controlled male device. Launched for $ 160 in 2019, the Handy looks like a remote control crossing a flashlight, with a motor moving the outer sleeve up and down.

    Bjørkmann and financier Jens Wilhelmsen co-founded Norway-based Sweet Tech in 2018 to develop Handy. The company’s funding includes $ 600,000 in a matching fund from the Norwegian Government’s Innovation Fund.

    Handy isn’t specifically sold for people with disabilities, but Sweettech has those customers in mind, the founder says. Sweet Tech employs testers with disabilities. In one case, the company said it allowed users with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lugeric’s disease to use third-party software to connect handy and control their movements with their eyes.

    Hot Octopuss in the UK recently hired wheelchair user Kelly Gordon as creative director. Designed based on input from people with disabilities, the $ 360 Pulse Solo Interactive includes two app-controlled hands-free vibrating devices that make it easier to use for people with dexterity issues. Mr. says.

    “Sex toys are very important for people with disabilities,” Gordon said, saying that self-pleasure can “relieve pain, promote circulation, and boost the immune system.”

    Scottish sex tech designer Tabisa Rein did not create a RubyGlow vibrator with people with disabilities in mind. Then she read a $ 60 product review from a man with chronic fatigue syndrome. He said he shed tears of joy after using it. Rayne is currently working on a more comprehensive version, priced at $ 110, developed with the feedback of disabled testers, and will be released next year. This iteration has remote controls with buttons of various sizes that make it easy to distinguish features by touch and require less pressure to turn them off.

    All futures | happiness

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    Startups aim to expand the market for sexual health devices

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