Science, Sex, and Tech

“The Quantified Vagina” opened up, as with most panels, with the speakers introducing themselves (Raychelle Burks, Scicurious, Emily Finke, Stephen Granade, and A B Kovacs), and included individual brands of humor. Immediately following introductions, one of the panelists asked what Bluetooth tampons are and who in the audience was familiar with this technology. The abruptness made the question a smooth transition between the comedic introductions and the body of the panel.

As the panelists responded to the question, they did discus the medical uses of the product. Bluetooth tampons are able to catalog data and make diagnostics easer for doctors. Also, with the data to back up patient claims, there is less concern of doctors dismissing patient concerns as being unrealistic.

That being said, the discussion was not at any point dry as the panelists frequently interjected comments to evoke reactions from the audience.  When it was brought up that there was an app that received the data, one of the panelists inquired “Is there a social network aspect?”

The discussion changed directions frequently between three main topics: lube, sex toys (including VR sex toys where your toy communicates with your partner’s toy), and Viagra (both Viagra and female equivalents).

Since the panel consisted of scientists, it was noted that there is a scientific study of lubrication and that someone that studies lubrication is called a turbologiet. It is important to note that usually that term is used to describe scientists studying mechanical systems where lubricants are necessary (like oil in a car engine), but it does technically apply to the developers at KY, too.

One of the best sound bites of the panel was prompted by the lube conversation. One of the panelists ended up shouting, “Lube is a safe topic that does not involve puppy kicking.” (I promise you context provides no clarity with this comment.)

Getting back to the science of things, the panelists did a quite detailed overview of how (and why) the type of lubricant one uses can avoid (or exacerbate) bacteria growth on their sex toys. As well as being rather unappetizing, they covered quite a few tips and tricks for cleaning and using your toys.

After this commentary on un-preferable biological systems, the panel was open to questions. The audience was interested about the effects of “female Viagras” and what the effects would be to a female if she were to take Viagra (which is intended for men). The consensus of the panelists was that female equivalents to Viagra are quite cumbersome to a person’s life since they prevent the person taking them from drinking alcohol (or smoking marijuana) or eating certain foods. Also, the effects of the drug are not that strong. It was noted that for people with exceedingly low libidos it is an option and the effects may be worth the side effects.

As for the question of what will happen if a woman were to take actual Viagra, A B Kovacs explained that there is evidence to suggest that increased blood flow to the reproductive organs would occur and an increased temperature in the area will result. However, whether or not the desired effects would result is indeterminate. She noted that this is a chemist’s perspective, not that of a medical doctor. She also stated after the panel that she is no longer a professional chemist and that her comments were largely anecdotal.

The panel as a whole ended with an explanation as to why so many sex toys are shaped like animals. It was entirely unprompted. As was explained, Japan used to be the largest producer of sex toys in the world until the government banned the production of them. Thankfully, people are good at finding loopholes, and if they produce vibrating animal themed figurines people would figure out what do with them.

This was a great random ending to a panel that was wonderfully haphazard and overt.

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