Can HappyPlayTime Free Masturbation from Shame?
Masturbater. Master Baiter?
Whether you’re an expert animal trapper or a normal person who enjoys self-pleasure, the mere sound of the word masturbation isn’t pleasant for anyone. The clunky quadrisyllabic term meant to describe personal relief is so socially awkward that it’s ostensibly forbidden to talk about, despite being something every human being has engaged with at some point in our lives. Masturbation as it relates to women is an even bigger taboo to discuss, as a result of widespread dogma pushing absolute female purity throughout the development of most modern societies.
The act of masturbation is an important step in our sexual development as human beings, yet this dogma still exists. As a result of this many females feel a societal pressure to live up to these outdated beliefs and suffer from negative self-image and lowered self-esteem for their natural desires. The fact remains that many women and girls don’t masturbate at all and may not even know how to but does it need to be this way?
HappyPlayTime is a pet project by designer Tina Gong that seeks to rebrand the entire concept of female masturbation through education and light-hearted games. The game is a mobile app currently in development that will teach female anatomy and provide lessons on masturbation techniques through a number of minigames. At the heart of all this is HPT’s mascot: the pink, fleshy, and gleeful personification of a vagina.
When I inquired about the nature of the mascot, Tina explained that it goes back to rebranding our preconceived notions about masturbation. Teaching an anatomy lesson with a mission to educate about female masturbation is too much of a serious topic when taught in the traditional education model and it is difficult to separate the idea of empowering females to masturbate from a feminist perspective. HPT’s approach to education involves a quick demonstration of different masturbation techniques for each level, followed by a freestyle portion that has the player perform each technique on the mascot. Completion of each level builds up to a fantastically funny and wacky climax upon completion.
Tina commented that the game’s success isn’t relient on having people understand her vision of freeing masturbation for females, which cleverly follows Nicole Lazzarro’s design philosophy for the successful Tilt World social impact game. If users can pick up the game, play it, laugh, and share it with their friends, then the inherent taboo surrounding the conversation about female masturbation has been lifted; you don’t need to bash your beliefs over the heads of your players in order to make a point. By representing the whole process around a lighthearted and comical character and games, the masturbation topic at hand is easier to discuss. Tina also mentioned future plans for making an arduino-powered vibrator companion to work with HPT.
HPT is still in early development but Tina is aiming to have a playable alpha version available later this summer. To learn more about HappyPlayTime, sign up for its newsletter and get access to the alpha when it comes out.
What do you think? Is making light of masturbation the right path for releasing the stigma around it?