I’ve written about futuristic sex toys for long enough by now that, frankly, I’m a bit bored. There was this wonderful period when an explosion of companies came out with awesome, innovative stuff — haptic tech! DIY dildos! SEX ROBOTS!! — but the past year has seen many of those companies go under and very little by way of innovation. Sure, we still have a bunch of badass haptic sex toys that also came out during that time (looking at you Kiiroo and Lovense) but I’m starting to feel similarly to them as I do to the Rabbit. Cool, does a good job, but the “new thing shine” has definitely worn thin.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I learned about Wisp, a new toy/concept from Taiwanese artist Wan Tseng. The thing that makes Wisp interesting and different from pretty much everything else I’ve seen is that it’s a sex toy that’s not focused on orgasm. Instead, it’s a wearable foreplay toy.
Here’s how it works. Dominique Sisley reports in Dazed that Wisp is silicon “jewelry” (and we’ll get back to that point later) that’s worn directly on the skin. Little circular pads dispersed throughout create pulsations, “tender caresses,” and the feeling of breath blowing softly on the skin.
“Looking at the current sex toy market, many popular brands are designed to feature human genitals and might be vibrating or non-vibrating,” Tseng told Dazed. “Almost all toys are aimed toward reaching orgasm; they are playful and intense. ‘Wisp’ is designed for a new category that focuses on only the arousal stage.”
I love this idea so much, mainly because I haven’t really seen a foreplay sex tech toy yet. (And that’s not to say they don’t exist — just that this is the first to cross my desk.) While all humans need pre-intercourse stimulation, women and other people with vaginas often need more turn-on time than men and people with penises. Wisp perfectly plays into those needs by providing light erotic stimulation throughout the day that can help people build up to fun times at night.
But let’s talk about the fact that it’s “jewelry,” which is the one objection I have here. While Wisp is prettier than a lot of wearables, I don’t know that I would wear it the way I wear a necklace, for example. This could totally be a matter of taste but I think I’d keep it under cover, not as part of an outfit. However, if my aesthetic was more Space Age/Barbarella, I could totally see Wisp working as jewelry — but my look is much more ‘50s housewife than ‘50s housewife in The Jetsons.
Ultimately, I think Wisp is a great addition to the sex tech scene and I hope it encourages other designers and innovators to think more about — or start thinking about — the erotic parts of our bodies that aren’t our genitals. Sex, after all, is a full body experience — and haptic technologies are the best poised to enhance and recreate that experience.