Sexual Healing

A sexual health product for people living with spinal-cord injury and disease at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Sexual health is an important component of overall physical health, but for women with spinal-cord injury or disease (SCI/D), sexuality, arousal and gratification can often be difficult. Aside from the physical aspects of positioning, bowel and bladder issues, potential autonomic dysreflexia and limited or lack of sensation, getting “in the mood” can sometimes be easier said than done. That’s where a new type of smart technology can be beneficial.

Megwyn White, a certified clinical sexologist and director of education for Satisfyer, a maker of waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled adult toys for men, women and couples, says encouraging blood flow and circulation using vibration can help people with SCI/D build on their own state of arousal.

“For spinal-cord injury, it’s going to be so much more the brain and also that connection to the breath, so having that added extra stimulation is going to help increase blood flow and circulation, which is going to heighten sensation of all the nerves,” White says.

Promoting the September 2020 launch of its free smart device app called Satisfyer Connect, the company showcased its products for the third year as an exhibitor at the mega consumer technology trade show known as CES in Las Vegas Jan. 5-7.

Showgoers at the 2022 CES in Las Vegas visit the Staisfyer booth. (Photo by Brittany Martin).


About 90% of Satisfyer’s products currently connect to the app, and most cost under $100.

For those with limited hand dexterity, White says many Satisfyer products are designed for hands-free use and can be controlled with the app rather than buttons on the device itself. The app allows the user or a partner to customize programs and save preset sequences.

“So, that can just allow you to be free to not have to think about controlling the functionality of the product. You can really just focus more on your own embodied experience. And that I think is especially helpful for spinal-cord injury because connecting to the breath is especially important,” White says. “When you connect with your breathing, you’re helping to access a connection to the parasympathetic nervous system. And the parasympathetic nervous system, which is tied to the vagus nerve, is really important for sustaining arousal. So, for instance, if you have the product hands-free, you can really allow yourself to focus your mind. When you bring attention to sensation, that will also activate the somatosensory cortex in the brain. So sometimes when you’re too conscious about what’s going on with your product, it takes you out of that more sensate-focus. And so, you can have your eyes closed and completely tune in to where you’re feeling the sensation and especially engaging that connection with the breathing to build arousal.”

The app’s new Remotyca feature allows the user to listen to audio erotica.

“With the visual mediums, it can sometimes overwhelm your senses and with audio erotica, it allows you to bring that imagination to the inside,” White says. “And for women especially, we really need that contextual framing to help build arousal. And what’s cool with the audio erotica specifically with our app, which is unique to other audio erotica, is that the vibration patterns are synced up specifically with the story and will surprise you. You’re not really sure when the intensity will increase and start to be introduced. So, it really makes you more conscious of every single moment.”

In addition, the app can be used to connect with a partner from a distance and has an ambient sound feature that syncs up with a person’s voice or music.

A screenshot of the Satisfyer app.

“Your partner could be stimulating you with their voice or with music, the sounds that are in the space,” White says. “But it can also encourage orgasmic expression, which is going to help bridge that connection to that part of the nervous system which sustains arousal.”

White says health benefits of sexual pleasure include reduced anxiety and tension, better sleep, increased oxytocin and endorphins, which help lower stress and cortisol levels, and increased serotonin, which is important for stabilizing mood. And for those who’ve sustained a SCI, it can help improve overall mental health.

“When you start accessing that sexual pleasure, it’s very empowering. It’s very invigorating,” she says. “And it connects you with your own resource of power … To really have that access to that wellspring of pleasure can help to reset their mindset, can help them sleep better so they’re going to get that restorative sleep, which is going to be so important, and just really gives them more mental power.”

In the future, White says Satisfyer plans to add more wellness-based features to the app, such as sexual wellness meditation.

“We have a lot of designers that are working to create designs that are not intimidating,” White says. “They don’t scream ‘sex’ when you look at them. And that’s been really important, especially for women. We really consider these part of a healthy wellness lifestyle.”

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