Could this new wearable tech help to improve your sex life?
Tania Boler, co-Founder and CEO of Chiaro who launched the app Elvie in 2015 certainly thinks so. Elvie is a small kegel exercise tracker (the ultimate in ‘wearable tech’ one might say – it is inserted into the vagina to track your exercise progress) that helps women strengthen and tone their pelvic floor by correcting technique and offering real-time feedback. And if you thought pelvic floor ‘squeezes’ were only for pregnant women or those who have just given birth, Tania is on a mission to encourage every woman to incorporate the exercise into their daily routines and reap the benefits in the bedroom.
So how does it work? Heralded as ground-breaking technology; the pebbled-shaped pod is worn internally and connects to an app via Bluetooth with a patented system of force and motion sensors, so women instantly know if they’re doing the pelvic floor exercises correctly. ‘People often ask me if this is a health issue or a sex issue,’ explains Tania. ‘Yes it is both but, ultimately, it is a woman’s issue. We need to shift everyone’s thinking on a grand scale. Our sexuality, our health, our bodies, can all be fun and something positive. Once we start thinking about ourselves like that then things will really change. Elvie helps women feel good about themselves so it’s one small step in the right direction.
As a sexual health researcher, Tania was shocked at how overlooked this important set of muscles are, particularly given the vital role they play in women’s physical and mental wellbeing. Tania realised the pelvic floor is one of the last uncharted territories in women’s health and she’s on a one-woman mission to improve the sex lives of women everywhere with her handy new device, so we thought we should catch up with her to find out what’s up, umm, down there.
So why do we all need to start talking about our pelvic floor?
Our pelvic floor is at the heart of what makes us women and affects how we feel about ourselves physically, sexually and emotionally. Most people think that this is a health issue or only relevant for new mums, but fundamentally it is a woman’s issue. Because women don’t know much about the importance of looking after this part of their bodies, too many suffer from the physical problems and too often think this is just part of being a woman.
How does the app work exactly?
Women find it difficult to exercise their pelvic floor because they can’t see how they’re doing and it’s hard to stay motivated. This is where Elvie and the app comes in. Elvie detects if you are exercising incorrectly using motion sensors, while the force sensors measure the strength of your squeeze. Bluetooth connects to the app, allowing you to visualise each exercise.
What impact could using the app daily have on our sex lives?
The immediate benefits are amazing and cover all aspects of your life- from a stronger core, to more control and better sex. Toning your pelvic floor is also a great way to prepare your body for pregnancy, speed up recovery after childbirth and prevent problems in later life. It really is a set of miracle muscles and should be worked on regularly.
How did you come up with the idea?
Like lots of women, I had never thought about the pelvic floor until I had a baby. My husband is French and it is normal for French women to attend pelvic floor exercise classes after birth. After researching and taking to experts, I found that women were buying lots of different products with no evidence that they really worked. Women need better technology that fits around their busy lives, and Elvie was designed with this in mind.
What feedback have you had from women who’ve used the app?
Lots of women tell us that Elvie has helped them gain a better understanding of their vaginas. The pelvic floor muscles are the same ones that contract when you orgasm so the stronger the muscles, the stronger the orgasm. It’s that simple!
How easy is it to fit this exercise into our daily routines?
Elvie is designed for busy women, so each workout is less than five minutes long. As with any exercise, the most important thing is to set realistic goals. So if you’re an early riser, use Elvie first thing, but if you know you’ll have time at night then leave Elvie by your bed. You wouldn’t book a gym class you don’t have time to go to so treat Elvie in the same way.