People Are Apparently Jerking Off With Their Phones During the Pandemic

Illustration for article titled People Are Apparently Jerking Off With Their Phones During the Pandemic
Graphic: Paul J. Richards (Getty) and screenshots of vibrator app reviews

People are doing things with their phones that I didn’t even know you could do with phones. I mean, I get it: In these crazy coronavirus times, people need to get creative to meet their sexual needs. I totally support having a healthy sex life and masturbation. But… with your phone?

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To be completely honest with you all, I did not expect to learn what I learned today. When Apptopia, an app intelligence firm, emailed me some interesting data points about vibrator app downloads, I thought it would make a cool blog. I mean, it totally made sense to me that people were using their vibrators a lot during the pandemic, so it’s understandable that a lot of people would be downloading these apps.

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Considering that having sex right now means getting really close to someone, potentially inhaling their respiratory droplets and possibly developing covid-19—the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that can lead to death—downloading vibrator apps to use with your sex device and take your mind off the fact that the world is on fire seemed like a pretty good, and safe, solution to me.

But boy was I wrong.

Apparently, these apps do not control vibrators, the sexual devices made for that specific purpose, but rather the vibrating feature on your phone. This, of course, caused me great confusion, especially when considering the data Apptopia had sent over.

Per Apptopia, since March, the month the World Health Organization declared that we were living in a pandemic, the top 10 vibrator apps have averaged 1.1 million monthly new downloads globally on iOS and Android. In July, these apps saw at least 1.6 million downloads. This five-month span is a 171% increase over the previous five months, which recorded an average of 404,200 downloads per month, Apptopia said.

The top five apps in downloads over the past 90 days were Vibrator (894,596), Strong vibration massage for women - Vibrator (853,958), strong vibrator & vibration massager relax body (365,295), Vibrator Massage iVibe (309,496) and Vibrator G Vibrating Massager (203,520).

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Needless to say, 171% is a big increase. When I started looking into these apps, I saw that a lot of them described themselves as stress and muscle relaxers, devices that could help you calm your pets, ease your back problems or be a cheap at-home spa device, among others.

This seemed a little weird to me. Were all of these reasons enough to justify a 171% increase in downloads? Then I thought, “Well, we are living through one of the biggest crises of our generation.” There are probably a lot of stressed people that could use a back or neck massage, I told myself. Or maybe people that had sore muscles from working out at home.

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And yes, dear readers, there are some people that use these apps for the purposes above. However, while I was reading the app reviews on the App Store and Play Store, I made a jaw-dropping discovery: People are also using these vibrator apps to jerk off.

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When I read the first comment, I thought it was a joke. I mean, why on earth would you put a phone, a device you hold and speak into daily, in your vagina? Plus, I mean, I would be worried about getting electrocuted!

However, as I read more comments, I slowly became aware that no, this was in fact a thing. And it was something being done by women and men. I also learned other pearls of wisdom from these vibrator app users. For example, it seems that my fear of electrocution might be unfounded, as you don’t actually put your phone in your vagina. As one female user of the iVibrate Calm – Phone Vibrator app put it, the phone stays outside or on top of your genitalia. I also learned that it’s important to clean your phone, or even smother it in perfume, if you want to hide the evidence. (The names have been cropped out of the comments below to preserve the person’s dignity.)

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Thank God that at least some people are not putting their phone into their vagina.
Thank God that at least some people are not putting their phone into their vagina.
Screenshot: Review from iVibrate Calm

Another male iVibrate Calm user said that the app could be a little tame “if your iPhone doesn’t have some sort of bumpy case or a pop socket. The vibration is good but not super strong, which [is] why I recommend an extra layer of stimulation.” This person also suggests using a waterproof case.

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Things you learn: It’s apparently useful to have an extra layer of stimulation.
Things you learn: It’s apparently useful to have an extra layer of stimulation.
Screenshot: Review from male user of iVibrate Calm

Discreetness is also something that vibrator app users appreciate. A male user of the VibraTool app said that he doesn’t want to buy an actual vibrator because his family and friends visit a lot. His phone and these apps help him “get off without having to move quickly to hide stuff.”

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Some people use vibrator apps because they don’t want to buy a vibrator and have others potentially come across it.
Some people use vibrator apps because they don’t want to buy a vibrator and have others potentially come across it.
Screenshot: Review from male user of VibraTool

Quite a few users on multiple apps complained about too many ads (all of the top 20 apps are free, although some run ads or allow users to buy extra features) and vibration intensity. One user of the Strong vibration massage for women - Vibrator app (yes that’s what it’s called) on the Play Store said the ads on the app show up every five minutes. Plus, this user complained that the vibration was too loud, which didn’t allow them to masturbate in a public place, something that they like to be able to do.

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Illustration for article titled People Are Apparently Jerking Off With Their Phones During the Pandemic
Screenshot: Review of strong vibration massage for women

Honestly, I don’t think my “what the fuck?” face has gone away since I began looking into these vibrator apps for this blog. And I also just still have questions. What if you mess up your phone when things get wet or sticky down there? I don’t know if any provider will fix your phone or send you a new one for messing yours up for putting it in places where it is not designed to be. I mean, you could lie, sure. But as some users have revealed, there is the issue of smell.

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I also don’t know if this is hygienic. I mean, do people clean their phone before putting it near their genitalia? I think that would be very important. We are living through a pandemic that has strained or outright collapsed hospitals all over the world. I for one do not think that health care professionals would be very pleased to have to treat you over a coronavirus patient because you got an infection for using your dirty phone to jerk off.

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If you needed another reason to carry hand sanitizer around, just remember that at least 1.6 million people worldwide downloaded a vibrator app in July. I would simply suggest not to touch anyone’s phone other than your own. But if you have to, sanitize your hands (and their phone if they let you.)

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DISCUSSION

jcexc
JicagoChusticeExcession

When I was your age, we had to jerk off with rotary phones. And just a few generations ago, if you wanted to jerk off, you had to go wait in line at the telegram office.