If you've always thought copulation was the one human endeavor that couldn't be improved with the help of technology, then be aware there's an entire industry trying to prove you wrong.
Gone are the days when you'd be good to go with a couple of double-A batteries. This holiday season, motorized sex toys come equipped with remote controls, NASA-developed polymers that replicate the feel of skin, USB plugs and, yes, iPod connections. Even marital aids without moving parts have firmly entered the 21st century, boasting ergonomic shapes, bright colors and such playful, contemporary designs that you could be forgiven for mistaking a newfangled butt plug for an Alessi pepper grinder. Could a Michael Graves dildo line be far behind?
Leading the high-tech revolution is Lelo, a Swedish manufacturer of sleek "pleasure objects." One of the company's more discreet products is a pink, lipstick-shaped vibrator that wouldn't arouse undue attention if it fell out of your purse. Pull off one end to reveal a USB plug for recharging the internal battery. Lelo also has one foot in the high-end market, offering a luxury line that includes a gold-plated clitoral massager shaped like a bent egg for $1,500. The so-called "gentleman's plug" comes with matching gold cufflinks, just in case you'd like to signal to the world that you have a thousand-dollar hunk of metal shoved up your ass.
Know someone who can't live without her MP3 player? Sounds like the perfect recipient for the OhMiBod, a wand-shaped vibrator with a cord that plugs directly into an iPod to match the rhythm of her favorite band. Think of the possibilities: Are you in a Magnetic Fields mood, or do you wanna get your rocks off to Mastodon? OhMiBod also makes an iPhone version to turn even calls from your landlord into a pleasant surprise.
The Berman Center's products aren't as big on design, but they make the ultimate in stealth stimulation: remote-controlled vibrating panties. Just make sure Junior doesn't get hold of the remote while you're wearing them.
For items with no moving parts, there's the Share by Fun Factory, a colorful, curved lesbian implement that replaces the strap-on and eliminates the need for unsightly harnesses and belts. One end fits snugly up the wearer's cornhole and – voila! – you're packing. As always, try not to put out an eye.
For the man on your gift list, can you possibly go wrong with a prostate massager? Don't answer that. Instead, consider Fun Factory's Bloomy, a silicone device that could pass for modern sculpture and is designed to hit all your special guy's pleasure spots, including some he may not know he has. Best of all, it goes in the dishwasher. And if your man is hard to shop for, there's always the Shower Shot, a dildo at the end of a hose that hooks up directly to the showerhead. Think of all the money he'll save on colonics.
Of course, what use are sex toys unless you're resting comfortably? For that we recommend the Liberator, a line of ramps, wedges and curve-shaped cushions that can turn your boudoir into a skatepark of love.
But let's say you prefer old-school jollies; none of these abstract designs or fluorescent colors for you. In fact, nothing left to the imagination. In that case, may we suggest going with the rather plainly named Lisa Ann Pussy & Ass. As the name suggests, it's an anatomically correct reproduction of the naughty bits of the star of last year's porn hit, Who's Nailin' Paylin, rendered in something akin to latex and, as the package claims, "contoured for EZ-stroke action!" Finally, a sex toy you wouldn't want anyone to know you own. Now that we can relate to.