Wednesday, February 13, 2019

‘Sex button’ inventor responds to going viral, backlash

When Ryan and Jenn Cmich unveiled their latest invention via Kickstarter, they really, truly thought they were about to make the world a better place.
Their “LoveSync” is a button couples can hit to indicate when they’re in the mood for sex — an idea the internet mercilessly dragged for being a rather sterile solution to something that usually involves just … you know, talking. Or at least some equivalent gesture. Or emoji.
“I love to anonymously trigger my horniness device in the hopes that my partner has also triggered their horniness device and that the patent-pending lovesync technology finds consensus in our sexual desire spectrum ratings,” Buzzfeed’s Ryan Broderick tweeted.
“lol just tell your partner you’re horny, and if they’re also horny, like go to town, my dudes,” Verge reporter Julia Alexander wrote. “This is so f–king dumb.”
But at the heart of the device is what appears to be just about the purest of intentions from a very nice, very Ohio couple. The Post caught up with one half of the suddenly viral duo, Ryan, who works a day job as a chief product engineer for an outdoor power equipment company.

How have the last few days been for you?
A little crazy! Some of the responses are not at all what we expected. It was hard that there was so much negativity about it. So I was disappointed that those were the primary opinions.
Why do you think people felt so strongly that this was a bad invention?
They’re hating it because they think everyone should talk more about this kind of thing, like “Oh, great, I don’t have to talk with my partner anymore.” But that’s the reason we invented it! The fact of the matter is people don’t talk as much as we should. My wife works as a manager at a marriage and family therapist’s practice and my cousin owns the practice, so we knew we weren’t the only ones with a communication problem. At least people are talking about it now — even the critics.
Do you and your wife talk about sex?
I wouldn’t consider us prudes. But I know other couples are much more open about this kind of thing, and they talk about all the fine details with others. And that wasn’t us, we’re more conservative about it. So [LoveSync] became something where it wasn’t even about understanding what the other person wanted. It was more understanding what the other person’s emotional state is.
For us, it’s actually had the opposite effect people think it will have. We actually talk about it more now. Before, it was like any negative feeling [I] might have associated with being in the mood, [I] might automatically assume that if I make my interest known, maybe she’s tired or something. You start to associate more of those negative feelings [with sex] and they start to shape your overall view of the topic.
What do your two kids think of the buttons?
Our kids are aware of our little project. They understand them just a bit less than most of the people currently writing articles about them, though. They mostly think they are just a pair of cool-looking devices that light up in different ways.

You seem to have a lot of patents for things like lawn mower blades. This invention seems different. Did it feel that way for you?
I’m one of those people keeping a list of invention ideas for years. I love my day job, but I thought this one could really help a lot of people.
How has the whole process changed your relationship?
Aside from the benefits the products itself has brought …
You mean sex?
[Laughs] That’s half the improvement. But the other piece is that we’ve been married for 15 years, and I’m always doing projects around the house. I built an in-ground pool, remodeled the house. But we’ve never really worked well together on stuff. We couldn’t engage on the same level. She has a great marketing background, so she brings so much to this business that I can’t do. We truly feel like we’re equal now.
Honestly, a year ago I would have been very uncomfortable with this. As this product has grown with us, and we’ve kept seeing the potential of it, we can’t help but get more excited and open about it.
How old are you and your wife?
I just turned 40 and she’s 38. We’re not millennials, as much as everyone keeps saying. We actually just kind of figured millennials were going at it all the time and didn’t have any relationship struggles or need for this kind of thing. (Via NYP)