I met up with my college roommate recently and tried to explain (a) what I do for work and (b) why I am happily single in one fell swoop: “I have a treasure chest of sex toys that makes it hard to justify dating in a pandemic,” I said. “Currently, I’m researching whether or not sexual robotics can replace a human, and I really hope the answer is no.”
This isn’t to shade sex-tech company Lora DiCarlo‘s Baci Premium Robotic Clitoral Massager ($160), a super-sophisticated oral sex simulator. It’s just commentary on what my relationship with self-pleasure and sex toys has turned into this year. I’m warily romantic but hate dating, and I love sex but refuse to risk spreading the coronavirus because of it. This bundle of contradictions has transformed self-pleasure into a matter of self-care for me.
I don’t and never have needed sex. But I am a vulva-owning woman who withers a bit without erotic affection in her life. Right now, I’m choosing self-imposed celibacy, but I still crave human touch—just like anyone else who’s listened to the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” 457 times since March.
Because this pandemic-caused sexual draught has no foreseeable end, I thought it would pay to try out one of the best touch substitutes on the market. Could sexual micro-robotics quench my thirst for physical connection? Let’s see what happened when I tried the Lora DiCarlo Baci.
Baci, which comes from the Italian word for kiss, is a highly evolved clitoral massager and micro-robot that was named an honoree in the 2020 CES Innovation Awards. The company, which has worked with Oregon State University’s College of Engineering on development, created Baci with airflow technology, a slightly-bigger-than-usual opening, and clitoral stimulation capability to simulate human mouth.
“When we talk about micro-robotics, what we’re actually talking about is the precision of the movement,” says Sarah Brown, director of product at Lora DiCarlo. “Using very precise movements creates biomimicry—when you mimic biologic movement—or, in this case, touch. So with the Baci, we are mimicking the movement of a mouth and tongue and lips over an external part of the body.” Meaning: your clitoris, your vulva, or any other body part that will make you sing.
What also makes Baci special is its large coverage area. (Most suction-focused sex toys are very direct and pinpointed, providing for a very targeted clitoral orgasm.) Baci’s raised platform allows for a new iteration on suction technology: Underneath the “mouth” of the toy, you get a thrumming sensation that simulates a tongue. Furthermore, the ergonomic toy can fit in your hand, but it’s also designed to fit in-between your legs. Meaning, you can leave it there and really imagine the experience.
As a final bonus, when you turn on Baci, a ring lights up around the power button to display the charge level. Lighted quadrants tell you whether you’re at 100 percent battery, 75 percent battery, and so on. And, um, why is it that all sex toys can’t have this? There’s nothing worse than having your toy die out when you are this close.
Taking Baci to bed
At the behest of sex educator Amy Weissfeld, a Lora DiCarlo sex coach, I engaged all of my senses to prepare myself for an embodied sexual experience. I put on some of my better lingerie, drank some Prophecy rosé, and binged Community until I felt tipsy and sexy. Then I put on up a clip from Quinn, an audio erotica site, and slowly dove into fantasy mode.
For me, the fantasy started with using the Baci on my neck (because, hello, kissing!). I also made sure lube was on hand for a proper tongue feel, but by the time it was between my legs, there was almost no need because the thrumming sensation of the Baci did so much already to connect the mental and physical dots for me. The full-coverage element is also a really a delicious feature that transforms the pleasure experience completely. And the suction is strong, so I recommend starting by letting Baci hover and making small, low-pressure movements.
Ultimately, my orgasm with the Baci was more magnificent then, um, most of the oral experiences I’ve had. But I think so much of that was because I engaged my sense leading up to the act. My romantic heart missed and needed the whole erotic experience of an orgasm—not just the physical release—and, apparently my vulva needed it, too.
Can sex micro-robotics replace humans?
So, is Baci, or any high-tech stimulator for that matter, going to replace the real-life thing? I mean, of course not. And the product doesn’t claim to do so, either. Rather, it provides a helpful technological tool for these pandemic times and beyond.
The delicacy of micro-robotics like Baci do allow for ecstatic orgasms. And with a little bit of imagination and the right soundtrack, you can even make technology fuel your fantasies until it’s safe to touch again.
Alexa, play “Blinding Lights.”