When Snap CEO Evan Spiegel described Spectacles—his company’s first piece of hardware, a pair of video-shooting sunglasses—in a September Wall Street Journal story, he called them a “toy.”
There’s more than one type of a toy in this world, however, and there’s one Spectacles use case we’re not yet seeing, at least not publicly: Spectacles as a sex toy.
Of course, behind closed doors, it’s already happened.
“It was the first thing I thought as we were waiting in line,” said media entrepreneur Rachel, who bought a pair from the first popup shop in Venice Beach with the guy she’s seeing. (Names of users have been changed by Mashable at their request for privacy.)
Rachel’s not alone. Financial analyst Richard was interested in filming himself in the act with a recent girlfriend. He saw the perfect opportunity, when he got a pair of Spectacles from the shop in New York.
“It seemed easy, and better than a phone,” he told Mashable. “I liked my point of view instead of a side table, because it feels more authentic. I was there, and this is what I’m seeing, and I remember what I was feeling when I re-watch the videos.”
Snap will soon be a big, public company, but not that long ago it was just an app commonly associated with sexting. Its foundation in disappearing messages—the once-unique feature that made Snapchat a must-have—made sending naughty material seem less risky, even if it’s with a complete stranger. And sure, Snapchat’s built out their product to appeal to different users, in different ways, via the news-focused Live Stories and publisher perspectives on Discover (which is a Mashable partner). But by releasing a physical product like Spectacles, Snap Inc. has repositioned itself as a lifestyle tech company. And with this comes the potential, of course, for innovations in sexual pleasure and fun.
To wit, take our friend Richard’s feedback: “The circular video part”—which is how Spectacles films footage, where users watching Spectacle-shot media can look around the footage, simply by moving their phone—”was really cool.”
“By turning my phone,” he continued, “I get a whole new vantage point.” Of his own amateur sex footage, he means. And maybe, one day, someone else’s.
An instant connection
The idea was an obvious one for some Snapchat users, Rachel and Richard included. Right after the initial Spectacles rollout, people were already cracking the same joke on social media. The idea was practically floated by Snap themselves in the marketing for Spectacles—photos of models, donning the sunglasses, while shirtless.
But you know what they say—there’s truth in every joke. And this one’s time is coming.
Given the limited availability of Snapchat Spectacles, the sexual accessorizing of them has yet to begin in earnest. Mashable reached out to more than two dozen Spectacles owners and found that the majority hadn’t engaged in any sexual act with their new toy.
Yet—most of them have at least had the idea.
“I hadn’t thought about that as a personal use, but one of my first thoughts was when we’d see this pop up in porn,” one early Spectacles owner explained.
“My friends have talked about all the possibilities that can be made with these, including sex,” another said. “The Specs will definitely be 1000% less creepier than Google Glass.”
Of course, there’s the idea, and then the execution. And people have definitely been executing on the potential for Spectacles as a sex toy. So far, reviews are mixed.
Spectacle Sex: From erotic to Awkward
Of the 26 Spectacles owners we spoke with, Mashable did hear from several people who wore the glasses during masturbation, foreplay and sex.
“I’ve used it by myself just to dance around and be sexual, and also, used it in the beginning stages [of sex] when I was still getting intimate with a partner,” Rachel, the media entrepreneur, said.
“With the glasses on, it definitely takes you out of the moment a little bit.”
The experience wasn’t seamless. Rachel and her partner chose to wear one pair of glasses and pass them back and forth during foreplay. Spectacles also only records up to 30 seconds, with the press of the button three times.
“It definitely takes you out of the moment a little bit,” she said.
It wasn’t Rachel’s first time making a home sex video and while she appreciated the new visceral perspective Spectacles had to offer, wearing the glasses were a bit distracting, and made her feel more than a little self-conscious.
“There was a barrier, in terms of personal space. I didn’t feel as close to the person, because one of us had the sunglasses on,” she said.
Jennifer, a publicist, said her partner and her both wore them, the first time, which felt fun, but two pairs of Spectacles make for strange bedfellows—literally. To say nothing of the viewing, itself.
“We thought we would try it, but the first five minutes we were laughing. I think teal”—the color of her Spectacles—”was a bad choice,” she said.
“I deleted the videos right after, and we tried again.”
A series of 10-, 20- and 30-second clips are now saved on her personal iPhone, which Jennifer said she’s privately masturbated to, and also, sent to her boyfriend.
While Rachel had the idea to use them for sex early on in her Spectacles ownership, she was initially concerned about whether or not her videos would post instantly to her Story.
They don’t. The app saves all Spectacles videos in a dedicated tab within your Snapchat Memories. Still, due to privacy concerns, she downloads the Stories off of the app, deletes them from Snapchat, and then stores them in a personal, private folder.
“I’m a little skeptical about how much Snapchat can see,” she said.
Richard and Jennifer saved their videos in “My Eyes Only,” a section of the app protected by a pin code, which Snapchat released back in July.
As for professional, non-amateur use in sex, we couldn’t track down any examples using Spectacles, but one could still—and isn’t unlikely to—show up in the near future.
Jesse Adams, co-founder and CEO of adult content app platform MiKandi, says his company is already looking at the potential of Spectacles. “We haven’t gotten our hands on one yet, but with the adult industry, any time there’s a new gadget, we’re very excited in terms of how to explore it,” he said.
His company embraced the first wearable camera, Google Glass, and used it to create an app called “Tits and Glass” as well as film a parody porn video back in 2013.
“The question is what appeal will these Spectacles have, if any, to this industry. Will they see these as a different kind of POV niche that it might be able to financially profit from or build a more general porn viewership,” said Lynn Comella, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Will it be different from Google Glass?”
Snap declined to comment for this story, but a spokesperson pointed to the Snapchat support and safety pages for reference. Spectacles’ support page has no direct mention of using Spectacles during sex. The gadget’s warnings page addresses flying and driving, however.
All sex-related context is, for now, designated to the community guidelines for Snap and Snapchat. That’s not too surprising given that Spectacles only upload videos directly to Snapchat. A pornography section of its community guidelines states, “Snapchat prohibits accounts that use public Stories to distribute sexually explicit content.”
There’s no control or limitation to what users do with Snapchat privately, of course.
Cindy Gallop, an advertising industry veteran and consultant who is now focused on a tech site called MakeLoveNotPorn, said she wished Snapchat would be more explicit and embrace the use case.
She credited Snapchat’s “explosive growth”—which now boasts 150 million daily active users—to sexting, and though Mashable can’t prove that, it’s clearly a part of the app.
“Spectacles can be and will be used in sexual context,” Gallop said. “I would love to see Snap be open and active about it.
In fact, Spectacles owners have some recommendations. “The glasses kept slipping off. I remember thinking at the time: I wish there was a strap,” Richard said.
Just as Snapchat inspired a third-party market for app solutions, there’s bound to be accessories for Spectacles.
At this point, it’s only a matter of time.
BONUS: How do Snap Spectacles work?
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