Why you should care
Because this is when you want to bring your phone to bed.
A plummy British voice tells my boyfriend to kiss me “softly and seductively, with no tongue.” My partner looks bored. Then the voice suggests he place his palm on my stomach, to feel my breath rise and fall. We giggle, catch each other’s eyes, smile … and blush. The woman’s name is Angelina, and she’s playing the role of my virtual sex therapist — through Blindfold, a new foreplay app that’s designed to add spice to a couple’s sex life.
Yes, it’s an app that tells you exactly how to get down to business. Think of Blindfold as a training manual for adult fun, says CEO Darren J. Smith. The audio sessions, which are currently geared toward women, take a step-by-step approach to foreplay. Turn your speakers on, and follow along. Obedience is key as you’re told to dim the lights and lie down and when — and how and where — to stroke each other.
For $5 a month, subscribers can access existing content and a new episode every month. There are three audio stories so far, each averaging 23 minutes long, with the newest episode using the viral 36 Questions love story from The New York Times as a setup, with a naughty twist: spanking and bondage. Each episode is rated for “kink” and “sensuality.” However, Smith says that his service, which launched this year, is not designed for people already immersed in kink but for those looking to start experimenting. Like the lower-key movie version of 50 Shades.
“We don’t want to think we’re bad at sex, so we don’t want to learn it,” Smith explains. And he’s speaking from experience, having struggled with dwindling passion in his own relationships. He created Blindfold because he believes that keeping relationships fresh means nurturing your sex life. Angelina’s playful instructions are meant to make sex tutorials a game, not a chore. With someone else directing, the pressure is off.
At least that’s the goal. But in an intimate setting, having a disembodied voice instruct you to “make circles around the nipple” might just be too weird. And taking or issuing orders (unless you’re into that kind of thing) while you “do it” can be kinda awkward. Even Smith admits that “not everyone wants a British voice when they’re getting off.” He plans to expand to culturally diverse voices. He’s also working to perfect the tone by collaborating with erotica writers and escorts, who suggest scenarios and give feedback on his scripts.
But sex educator Charlie Glickman is concerned that if people get accustomed to following directions, they could stop “trying anything spontaneous.” His advice: Integrate what Blindfold teaches you into your sex life, and keep experimenting.
Smith wants to help fix what he thinks is “broken” when it comes to sex. Like porn. “It’s ridiculous that we watch porn to know how to have sex,” he says. He hopes his foreplay courses will dispel any shame or confusion and educate people about how to please their partner. Plus, you might accidentally learn how to role-play as a Brit. Shagadelic, baby.