If you want to make a ridiculous ten-layer rainbow cake with ornate, textured ganache there are hundreds of Pinterest recipes that have you covered down to the last painstaking detail of adding a soupçon of fair-trade sprinkles. Why then, for something as fundamental and universally human as masturbation, is there no common language or basis of knowledge? Why must all of us be doomed to trial-and-error our way to figuring out what feels good?
Part of the answer lies in social stigma and taboo. While (at least in the contemporary west) it is somewhat socially permissible for men to talk -or at a minimum, joke- about self-pleasure, it is considered highly irregular for women to do the same. This arbitrary inequality struck former Berkely college roommates Lydia Daniller and Rob Perkins as something that could and should be changed. The two spitballed ideas around how to compile and organize women’s firsthand knowledge on the subject and landed on the concept of archiving intimate video interviews with women talking about the different ways they find pleasure.
The rationale behind OMGYes is that having a common language and set of shared techniques can help women experiment with their own pleasure in a more considered way and try things they themselves might not have naturally thought of. Given the vast variation in sensitivity and form of female anatomy, to say nothing of the further changes that come at different stages of life, having a bit of guidance is certainly a good thing. This complexity, OMGYes explains, is often “confused for ‘unknowability’”, which has stymied research on the subject.
Beyond this phenomenon, OMGYes cites a lack of precise, accessible language to describe the techniques that produce pleasure as a cause for the absence of a robust, shared basis of knowledge- “stimulate” and “finger”, the site notes, don’t really tell you a whole hell of a lot. Lack of a targeted vocabulary has made the transmission of reliable knowledge on the matter difficult.
OMGYes began by conducting over 1,000 in-depth interviews with women volunteers across the US representing a rainbow of ages and orientations. Next, aided by a partnership with the Kinsey Institute, they then took their initial findings to help them refine their approach and conducted another 1,000 interviews with a nationally representative sample of women.
In the course of conducting their research, the OMGYes team realized that many women were unwittingly describing a range of similar techniques and using a similar range of words. The subjects also spoke about more than methods of physical touch, but covered everything from breathing techniques, to ways to stop overthinking in bed to how to ask your partner for what you like without making them feel inadequate.
For a flat, one-time fee of $29, subscribers gain access to OMGYes.com’s full suite of streamable videos, grouped intuitively by technique (e.g., “Orbiting” (around the clit), “Layering” (or applying indirect pressure through surrounding skin) etc). Some of the content is even published via “touchable video” that allows the viewer to simulate techniques on a virtual vag and receive feedback. Season one (currently on the site) features twelve episodes encompassing 50 short videos and 11 touchable videos. Subscribers are notified when any new content is posted to the site- and there’s never an additional charge to view new content. This user-friendly pricing model and impressive success with word of mouth publicity (including a some unsolicited nods from stars like Emma Watson) have driven success for the site and garnered it a wealth of positive press.
OMGYes is proud to not be grant dependent for the incredible flexibility it affords them in steering the direction of their research. While OMGYes’ first wave of research was primarily concerned with external and clitoral touch, they are looking to broaden their purview with their next wave of research to include topics like internal stimulation, oral sex and more. We know we’ll be staying tuned!