R.O.S.P is a kit designed by Coby Huang
Sex is a subject we learn far too little about.
Coby Huang in Rituals of Sexual Pleasure, 2020
From wood to glass, from flat surfaces to spiky shapes, several textures and materials are mixed up in the Rituals of Sexual Pleasure (R.O.S.P.), a series of sex toys designed to build both a tactile and physiological experience for (female) users into the discovery of sexual pleasure, often untapped for most.
R.O.S.P is a kit designed by Coby Huang as a journey inside the intimate perception of what sex and pleasure mean to us.
The project, awarded in 2020 within the Ung Svensk Form / Young Swedish Design 2020 by ArkDes, consists of a series of sex educational tools to explore and learn what our bodies like. By using design as an instrument to carry a silent revolution around sexual health and confidence, she established a progressive discussion on an inane contemporary taboo.
“The more we understand our bodies and minds, the more we can express ourselves and build up self-consciousness”, says the designer pointing out loud “context” as the very first limitation when it comes to examining real pleasure, especially for women; and she continues “How do women perceive their bodies under social structures? How can we improve sex education and teach masturbation to make it more beneficial? What type of haptic solutions and which techniques for masturbation and rituals of sexual pleasure do people find satisfying?”.
“Exploring” is the keyword.
All of the products come from a previous evaluation of desires.
The project isn’t based on fancy shapes’ research or on a sterile emulation of what society perceives as “sexual”.
The project comes from questions and ends up answering with a varied toolbox, not the usual all-in-one.
Historically, the social environment in which women live, due also to forced subordination to men, has been mainly “designed” by men.
Regarding the topic, the state of the art that concerns sex toy design is a litmus paper. The phallocentric system of the sex market in general and, thematically, of pleasure devices limits the view on what pleasure means: for the vast majority, vibration and/or penetration.
The reflection expands, for the designer: in patriarchal societies, sex or the aesthetics of female sex is fundamentally oppressed or, conversely, exploited. This issue makes discourse about female pleasure often impractical or unacceptable publicly, in the worst cases.
The journey that Huang has divided into five steps begins right here, to find out what tools can lead a woman to discover what lies behind pleasure, even excluding the most obvious definition of orgasm.
She started creating tool kits to link the woman to the intimacy of self-love and self-discovery by “depersonalizing” the object (abstract/organic shapes instead of anthropomorphic ones).
What leads the products’ usage is sensing different.
To achieve the goal, she used the techniques from OMGyes.com as a guide to take sex tools to another level, while focusing on workshops as a method to build the R.O.S.P. experience.
“Participants got a box of tools “ ROSP Pleasure Box”. Everyone executes the workshop individually. They will follow the instruction/manual to explore themselves step by step (five sections) through the probes”, says the designer focusing on the holistic approach to masturbation that her project teaches.
We might be able to buy sex toys but:
Do you really know what you want?
Do we even have the words to describe body parts?
Do we know what makes us feel good and gets an orgasm?
Coby Huang in Rituals of Sexual Pleasure, 2020
She provides the women with educational sheets about the anatomy of erogenous areas and a 3D model of the outer part of the vagina to help them to connect with their own sex.
After this pedagogical intro, the second step focuses on sensations: she worked with harmless materials to build the probes like glass, silicone, wood, wool, tin, which offer different haptic feedback. At a time, they can be cold or warm, soft or hard, heavy or light, and they have not to be necessary experienced in the genital parts.
The difference in textures closes the circle on material research. As for the probes, the haptic balls feature different surfaces for different kinds of stimulations. It represents the third step, which focuses on the arousal coming from different patterns on the products: flat, lumps, spiky, wavy, and spiral patterns.
R.O.S.P. kit then lets users try vibrational patterns of the genital area. For the fourth step, she comes with three shaped models: O, R, W. “Model O focuses on the clitoris. Model R focuses on both the clitoris and labia. Model W vibrates randomly on genitals. Then participants can try which is their favorite vibrate pattern."
Last but not least, the last step is the creation of their own bespoke probe. Women are provided with modeling plasticine to give shape to their intimate perception of pleasure after the journey inside their consciousness.
Rituals of Sexual Pleasure toolkit was the Master’s degree project of Coby Huang in Konstfack University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Even if the product didn’t end with a big or small series production, it is a clever example of what design is capable of.
What we learn as designers is to solve abstract or concrete issues of the society we live in. How? By going through research, by discovering the roots of how things function or not, and then by giving them a shape, just as a very partial conclusion of the design process.
It is not by chance, that she gives the design process to the users in the end.
R.O.S.P. is a powerful instrument, a mirror that shows what society thinks about sexuality, women, and the influence that conscious design can play.