I first encountered OMGYes back in July 2016—a time before maps of the clitoris became centrefold lift outs in mainstream Australian newspapers—when Emma Watson casually dropped the platform into a Q&A with Gloria Steinem.
“I wish it had been around longer,” she said, blushing a little. “It’s an expensive subscription but it’s worth it." Ok Hermione, I thought. You’ve got one of the most influential voices of our generation, you’re telling us this for a reason. Not one to ignore solid life advice, I diligently tapped the web address into a new window and was intrigued by what I found.
OMGYes is a website featuring interviews with real women (in the Dove commercial kind of way) on how they pleasure themselves, accompanied by instructional videos, some of which are shot up close facing the woman’s vagina.
The platform is backed by research conducted by the Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute, who used the results of a qualitative study with 2000 American women to identify and explore twelve commonly-used methods for getting women off. For me, it was sex re-education at a time when I had sworn off sex, following a back catalogue of bad encounters which nearly always included men’s insensitive fingers.
A different interviewee explains each technique, often explicitly, in a conversational and encouraging tone. The women also tend to offer snippets of insight into their own lives, like one woman's confession that, "once I worked out what I wanted, I didn’t need my husband anymore." Perfect. I’m not proud to say that I haven’t been masturbating since puberty, having entered into the game pretty late, so the pointers were a welcome addition to my solo exploration. I found that some techniques worked, others didn’t, but on the whole, I enjoyed the tour.
OMGYes feels like it was developed in a vacuum before apps became a thing, operating as a desktop portal, accessible after you pay a one-off fee of $50AUD. The site also features ‘touchable’ videos, whereby you can play with an interactive vulva that allegedly responds to the swipes of your fingers. The idea is that it enables you to practice techniques before trying them out on yourself or a partner and to demonstrate the non-verbal signals women give when they’re enjoying it. I am much less a fan of this. Every vagina is different, including my own, so what is the point in stroking a simulation?
I recently revisited OMGYes after I recommended it to a new lover who, despite his best efforts, wasn’t hitting the mark in terms of clit stimulation. Like other reviewers, I found sharing the site with someone else broke the ice for talking about what I enjoy with sex. My beau’s review was that it “puts you on the right track to find where you’re going” but ultimately, he found, “you need more than it offers.”
For me, the true value of OMGYes is that I can revisit a discussion with good friends and older women I admire about a topic I was too inhibited to broach for most of my twenties: masturbation. OMGYes is an especially handy how-to guide for the millions of women around the world who have never orgasmed, particularly the vast majority of us who may never orgasm through traditional, penetrative, P in V, sex.
OMGYes rehabilitated me with authoritative and thoughtful advice on what masturbation can be. My initial dalliance with OMGYes was superseded by a determined albeit brief lover, but as my current partner remarked, this time around it got both of us heading in the right direction.
Explore OMGYes yourself here.
— Violet Crumble.