This Doesn’t Help with My (Admittedly Selective) Smart Sex Toy Paranoia

This Doesn’t Help with My (Admittedly Selective) Smart Sex Toy Paranoia.

Calico is pretty adventurous when it comes to some things — sexual positions, spicy foods, footwear choices — but more cautious in others. Many times, there doesn’t seem to be much sense behind the divide between areas in which she exercises caution and those in which she throws caution to the wind. Call it, perhaps, “selective paranoia.”

For example, while Calico doesn’t think twice about having a smart phone, frequenting all manner of website using her laptop, or joining Zoom sessions with total strangers on the other side of the planet while wearing pajamas, she’s very reluctant to use ‘smart’ sex toys of any kind.

It’s not just that Calico fears hackers taking over her vibrators from afar, it’s that there doesn’t seem to be any serious effort at coming up with manufacturing standards to address security and privacy issues that might come along with connecting your anal beads to the internet.

Even an international organization that exists to come up with things like manufacturing standards has now missed an opportunity to give guidance on security protocols internet-connected pleasure products. It’s all enough to make Calico wonder if she’ll ever feel comfortable enough with such devices to sync one with her workout playlist, so she can finally live the dream of stealthily masturbating while pretending to ride that broken exercise bike she’s had in the corner of the bedroom since 2006.  

What can the industry do to make people like Calico more comfortable with smart sex toys? Are these toys smart enough to help with Calico’s taxes? How does one go about measuring the IQ of a dildo, anyway?

Read all about it in Calico’s latest post, “This Doesn’t Help with My (Admittedly Selective) Paranoia About Smart Sex Toys.”

– Calico Rudasill For Women

smart sex toys hero

Read on…

Outside of realms like food preparation, athletic performance and taking the trash can to the corner on Tuesday night, I believe consistency is an overrated trait. 

I feel this way particularly strongly while arguing my husband. When we debate certain issues and important questions of the day, he relishes in noting inconsistencies between my current and past statements, as though these apparent contradictions undermine a perfectly reasonable claim of mine – like my recent contention that just because he has done the dishes the last eleven nights in a row, this fact alone doesn’t mean it can’t still be his turn to do the dishes tonight.

I Don’t Believe Everyone is Out to Get Me… Just Half of Everyone

One area in which I’m particularly inconsistent is my paranoia. I don’t think I’m a generally paranoid person, because I don’t freak out when white vans are parked in the neighborhood for hours at a time, despite the distinct possibility those vans could contain kidnappers, FBI agents, shapeshifting aliens or that Buffalo Bill guy from Silence of the Lambs.

I am certainly selectively paranoid though, even when it comes to different applications of the same technologies. I don’t worry much about people hacking my laptop and taking over its built-in camera, for instance, but you can’t pay me enough to put a smart sex toy anywhere near my genitals – or anywhere near my laptop, for that matter, it’s an already-compromised, Bluetooth-equipped smart vibrator, a description which makes this hypothetical device sound both high tech and potentially very painful to use.

I Think We Can All Agree on This Much: No Exposed Wiring

Sadly, it seems an opportunity was missed recently to put the minds of smart sex toy skeptics and paranoiacs to rest a bit. The International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) recently published ISO 3533:2021, a standards document entitled “Sex toys: Design and safety requirements for products in direct contact with genitalia, the anus, or both.”

Noting that sex toys are “produced, marketed and sold in most countries in the world” and that the products are “in touch with physically sensitive parts of the body,” the ISO explained that the intent of creating an international standard for sex toys regarding design, materials and user information is to “help both user, producers and re-sellers to make sure that the sex toys on the market are safe to use and that the user has enough information on how to use them correctly.”

“This document aims to ensure that the design of sex toys minimizes the risk of injuries to the user for reasonable and foreseeable use, that the materials are safe to use in contact with genitalia, the anus or both, and also that there is sufficient and correct information provided to the user,” the ISO report states.

These are all good and noble goals. Unfortunately, what the ISO didn’t do was offer any sort of standards regarding security protocols, user privacy or much of anything else that would be useful for manufacturers of smart sex toys, at least with respect to the parts of those devices that make them ‘smart.’

A Whole New ‘Ball Game’? Have They Started Making Smart Cock Rings Too?

As WIRED points out, the guidelines “largely fail to address connected devices, a dominant sex toy subcategory.”

“Security researchers who specialize in sex toys have been pointing out the potential risks of ‘teledildonics’ for years,” WIRED adds. “To them, the new ISO standards—which don’t address privacy and barely touch on security—are something of a missed opportunity.”

“A purely electromechanical device—a battery, an on-off switch, and a motor—it’s basically a glorified pager,” Brad Haines, who runs the site Internet of Dongs, told WIRED. “When you’ve got digital control with external communication, it’s a whole new ball game.”

Indeed, smart toys are a whole new ball game – or whole new vag game, depending on one’s parts and perspectives.

I’m not inclined to be too critical of the ISO here, in part because their report seems quite detailed and carefully considered in its evaluation of materials and designs used in sex toys and in part because it appears the higher-tech features of smart sex toys were simply outside the scope of their evaluation. I’m just disappointed because I do someday want to try out the remote-control aspects of a smart toy.

Then again, seeing as how neither my husband nor I ever travel for work anymore, our remote session would probably amount to being on opposite sides of the house, so maybe enabling the use of long distance teledildonics shouldn’t be my highest priority right now. 

I do still need to convince him to do the dishes, after all.

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