TOUCH OVER THE INTERNET,” the advertisement for Durex’s latest “durexperiment” proclaims. The online video ad is for a sophisticated, expensive pair of underwear (for both sexes) that allows people in long distance relationships to stimulate each other over the internet.
It’s called “Fundawear,” and in true 1950s fashion it is “the foreplay of the future.” How does it work? Good vibrations. Excellent vibrations, apparently.
The video begins with a couple Skyping each other in their underwear. They’re doing the best they can to avoid the awkwardness that comes with the situation; in a few seconds, they will pull out their smartphones and connect to an app that will attempt, perhaps poorly, to compensate for their distance.
The app provides a palate of points to touch that the person on the other end will “feel”. If you’re the guy, you might see a left bra cup on your screen, for instance. It’ll have five purple dots on it that you can drag your finger across. When you do, vibrators in the corresponding part of the girl’s bra cup will activate, causing… something, however many miles away.
The girl has similar options, except they’re directed towards the compression shorts the man would be wearing. In the video, the woman seems to be enjoying it a lot more than the man does.
In another video, Ben Moir, the very serious tech director of the project, explains the elaborate process of putting vibrators into underwear in a casually unbuttoned shirt and a British accent.
“One of the most interesting parts was ‘How do we transfer that touch from a phone to a piece of underwear?’” he says. It’s unclear as to whether there were any other parts of the project.
Both videos make the mistake of applying a serious lens to a completely ridiculous product. How does a condom company steadily and seriously go where no condom company has gone before? For some reason, Durex seems to want to find itself on the cutting edge of vibrating underwear technology, as opposed to just celebrating another, potentially fun means of sexual expression.
Another thing that needs to be said, briefly, is that the product is clearly mostly for women and is marketed as such. It’s difficult to imagine a guy getting much out of a pair of compression shorts that wiggles.
Sexually speaking, it makes sense to work on products that help to relieve the stress of long distance relationships. In addition, the product calls to mind not so much a Skype session as an escapade during the day; imagine walking around wearing the thing without knowing when your partner is going to use the app. Exciting for some, uncomfortable for others.
Unknowingly, Moir himself best sums up the project’s lack of appeal to the consumer: “We find that if we have fun making it, it’s a great experience for everyone else.” Is it?