Firm defends algorithm that ‘spots women’s orgasms’
A firm that claimed to have built an algorithm to identify women’s orgasms has defended itself after ridicule on social media.
Stu Nugent, brand manager at the sex toy label Lelo, had shared some slides on Twitter of the pitch he’d received, in which the firm claimed it could “validate” female orgasms.
It has since been re-tweeted thousands of times.
The company involved said it wanted to help developers test sex tech products.
Relida added that the idea was still in development, and was not intended for publication.
In the presentation, seen by the BBC, it notes that “there is no reliable way to be sure a woman has an orgasm” and lists statistics about women who have faked climaxes.
The algorithm is based on earlier research into changes in heart rate.
“An orgasm may be identified with heart rate as it has a specific pattern when climaxing,” it said in an email to the BBC.
The algorithm is not yet finished, it added, and was created by a woman “looking for the well-being of other women”.
“We never wanted to sell this algorithm directly to women or men.
“Indeed, this is a too sensitive a subject, and information that could create additional pressure on women.”
It described Mr Nugent’s tweet as “unethical”.
Mr Nugent said he was taken aback when he received the set of slides on LinkedIn.
“To be frank, we already have a very robust and reliable system for deciding whether our designs are pleasurable, and that’s by asking the people who use them,” he said.
“In any case the orgasm isn’t necessarily the right metric for measuring the pleasurability of a sex toy.”
Relida said its product was “all about science”.
However Mr Nugent said it was “solving a problem we never had”.
“The idea of detecting an orgasm against the word of the person who is actually having (or not having) one is dangerous,” he said.