The Apple Watch can do many things—monitor your heart rate, count your steps, remind you to hydrate—but can it also spice up your sex life?
I had my doubts. It’s widely known in sex positive circles that Silicon Valley companies approach sexuality very cautiously, with often arbitrary parameters on what is acceptable for mass consumption. The effect: most sexy stuff is kept out of the app store and off of social media advertisements (more about that in a later article).
Still, I wanted to see what WAS out there, and to put it to the test. I was one of the many people who previously held off on buying the Apple Watch, because limited connectivity options and functionality made older versions more an excessive luxury than a justifiable want. The new Series 3 version, with its LTE connectivity and more robust features, changed my mind. And with analysts expecting “blockbuster” sales, I think it many others will go for it, too.
Here’s what I found:
1. Hookup Apps on Hookup Apps
Poking around in the Apple Watch app store, it was immediately apparent there was no shortage of hookup apps.
I’ll save you the time and trouble: none of them looked worth it. Most of the apps feature similar (sometimes identical) stock images of attractive women. There were many apps, but they look to be created by the same few companies. Some were just different versions of the same exact app, divided by ethnicity or race. And they all had deceivingly high star-ratings—five stars, or close to it, which is rare even for the best apps.
When I read the reviews under those five star rating, it became clear that the apps offered to unlock premium features in exchange for five-star reviews in the app store. Some ethical reviewers said as much, giving the apps top marks but warning people not to fall for the same trick within the text.
Complaints included the typical complaints that (mostly men) have about dating apps: not enough matches, too many catfish.
Match.com, which has an Apple Watch app to accompany its main app, was one of the few exceptions. But I would consider them to be more of a dating app than a hookup app.
2. Don’t Get Lost in Translation
Failing the ability to virtually meet people, iTranslate’s Converse is an app that can be useful for in-person encounters with people who don’t speak the same language.
When installed on the Apple Watch, the app is like a translator on your wrist; you can set it to two of many different languages, press a button and speak either one. The app listens, produces a text translation, then reads the translation out loud.
Having this app on your wrist seems like it would be much more helpful in a live conversation. I tested it in both Portuguese and Chinese to check its accuracy, and though the translations can be a little weird, as automated translations tend to be, they were accurate enough to understand.
The only problem: translation is excruciatingly slow, while other functions requiring Internet connectivity on the Apple Watch are not. I don’t know why it takes so long, but that can definitely kill the vibe if you’re trying to get someone’s number in a foreign language.
This one’s for the ladies.
Kegeline is an app that coaches you through kegel exercises. For the uninitiated, those are exercises for your pelvic floor muscles, located around your vagina. Doing these exercises frequently is believed to help make your orgasms more powerful.
If you’re going to try this app out, I have a couple of warnings. First: After installing the app, go in through your phone first. It will just crash if you go in through the watch.
Second warning: if you’re planning on trying this out in a public place, like the office or around other people, turn the sound off before you do. I was alone, but almost jumped out of my chair when I pressed start on my watch, and a voice blared through my phone speakers saying, “SQUEEZE!” then, “RELAX!” It was too much.
Once figured all that out, I gave Kegeline a test run and immediately realize I really have to step up my kegel game. Each set in the app lasts at least several minutes, repeatedly asking you to either squeeze and hold for 30 seconds, or to squeeze and relax in a rhythm.
Overall, it’s a cool little app. If you don’t have them already I’d suggest pairing it with a set of kegel balls, which come in varying weights and are placed in the vagina. Heavier kegel balls are harder to keep in, and make the exercises more challenging.
4. Adult-Themed Party Games
A device as portable as the Apple Watch can be a nice accessory for party games.
Two that seemed fairly interesting. One was 60 Shades of Truth or Dare, which featured prompts that ranged from the weird or even a little juvenile (“Run around wearing socks on your hands, pants for a shirt, and a shirt for pants”) to the risque (“lick the feet of the person sitting next to you”). Given the wide variation in what people are comfortably sexually and socially, this may push your boundaries a little. But I guess that’s the point.
Another, just called Truth or Dare, is meant to be used with the iPhone in a group. The app displays a bottle on your phone, which you can use your watch to spin for a regular game of Spin the Bottle. There are also options to spice it up, but the prompts that come free are labeled for “kids” and are reminiscent of junior high school. If you want to move beyond Seven Minutes in Heaven, or calling out your crush, you can pay a few bucks for more mature prompts, like taking the bra off the person next to you.
I will say, I don’t remember playing games like this in a group setting since being mature enough to move beyond the “kids” category. But this could be a fun, adventurous ice breaker.
5. Game for Couples
Another playful game called Intimisisi functions as a sort of Truth or Dare game for couples. Some work for groups, wit prompts like telling the truth about your first sexual experience. In the iPhone app, it has several different options to play, including sex dice, which can be fun for foreplay and makes a lot of sense in digital form.
On the Apple Watch however, some of the prompts in English seem poorly translated from whatever the original language is. They aren’t impossible to figure out, but some are more mystifying than fun.
“Get the candy with your teeth from the saucer where flour is poured.”
“To depict a mirror (you can look at yourself, copying facial expressions and movements)”
“Perform industrial gymnastics for 10 minutes.”
(Some light Googling suggests that industrial gymnastics might be stretches and other exercises done by workers in Russia.)
6. Get a Heads Up Before Aunt Flow Arrives
For women, keeping track of menstrual cycles is essential to reproductive and sexual health, so period trackers are a no-brainer. If ever there were a need for health apps, tracking periods should be among the top five uses (though sadly, were not incorporated into Apple’s health app until recently. But I digress.).
Period trackers have different uses for different people. If you’re trying to conceive, knowing when you’re most fertile is important. For everyone else: the fact of the matter is, not everyone is going to be down with period sex, especially when they’re not in a relationship. So it can be helpful to have an idea of when to anticipate that time of the month.
One period tracking app, Eve, stood out to me. Its Apple Watch app is aesthetically pleasing, and in the accompanying iPhone app you get access to forums where women discuss everything from fertility to sex and relationships. There’s one thread where people just vent about their weird period patterns, which I found to be unexpectedly amazing. The app also encourages sex positive discussion, which I am here for, and the women who participate seem to self police pretty well in terms of shutting down slut-shaming.
There were some complaints about the app and its discussions needing to be more inclusive and culturally sensitive, because its branding can seem geared toward a specific type of woman (femme, young, white) because of the terms of endearment it uses, etc. I notice it, but I think for those who don’t mind, the app’s benefits will outweigh those shortcomings. The community discussions are only as good as the people who participate in them, so it will be nice to see over time if the app attracts a more diverse group of users.
HILARIOUS video by Brazilian comedians “If my period was a person.”
(Subtitled in English and worth a watch)
7. Have it All the Way Together for Your Dates
The Apple Watch has tons of general productivity functions, playing sidekick to your calendar apps, your favorite review and ride-sharing apps, and review sites. It can be kind of lame and anti-social to be glued to your phone the entire time you’re on a date, so being able to use those apps hands free is a good look.
One new app I discovered while playing with the Apple Watch is called ETA. As the name suggests, the app tells you how long you can expect to get to where you want to go. You can program your home and office into it, and sync it with your calendar to have easy reference to real-time information about how far you area from your next appointment.
The app SAYS it takes traffic into account, but in trying it so far it’s only accurate sometimes. If you really need to be somewhere in time, I’d still check Google Maps or Waze for the latest traffic info.
Some of these apps are cool, but there weren’t that many to choose from, and it would be a stretch to call them truly SEXY. I’ll explore the reasoning behind the tech industry’s approach to sex in future articles. Until then, find me on Twitter and tell me how technology plays into your sex or love life!