Smart Sex: Designers

‘Are you involved in the design or manufacture of techsex products? This includes founders, CEO’s, copywriters, or anyone in the production chain.

About the study

Technology increasingly forms a part of our sex lives. New technologies have allowed for different forms of sexual engagement and expression, such as connecting remotely with an intimate partner, or syncing a sex toy with a game, kindle book, or VR experience. While there is an expanding body of research on the sexualised use of the internet, there is only limited research of the use of new smart sex products in adults’ sexual lives.As part of trying to examine the role of these devices in shaping contemporary sex lives, we are looking to speak to designers and manufactures of these products, particularly those from ‘start-up’ companies. Interested participants must be aged 18 years and older. The findings from this research will provide an informed basis for improving policy, regulatory and educational responses in this area.

Who can participate?

To participate, we are seeking people aged 18 years and older who design or manufacture smart sex products.  In particular, we are looking to speak to ‘start-up’ designers or small scale manufactures who are likely to be thinking broadly and creatively about these products.

How can I participate?

If you would like to participate, and fit the eligibility criteria, you can select to participate in either a zoom, phone, or face-to-face interview. To express interest in participating, please provide your contact email in the Eligibility Survey. Please email if you would have any further questions about participation.

What does participation involve?

If you would like to take part in this study, you can select whether to participate in an interview either via zoom, phone, or face-to-face (depending on your location). Face-to-face interviews will take place in Melbourne in a safe, public venue which provides sufficient privacy to discuss sensitive topics. It will take approximately one to two hours of your time to be part of this study. Topics of discussion include background information about yourself, your engagement and experiences with the design of smart sex products, the types of devices designed, and the benefits or risks you associate with smart sex products.

Where and when are interviews located?

Interviews can take place either face-to-face in Melbourne, over the phone, or via Zoom. You can select an interview time which best suits your schedule.

Who is running this study?

This research is conducted by Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. The researchers conducting this study are Dr Jennifer Power, Dr Andrea Waling, Professor Anne Marie Farrell, Professor Jayne Lucke, Professor Gary Dowsett, Dr Alexandra James, Lily Moor, and Nicole Shackleton. This research has received funding from the Australian Research Council DP190102027 and has been granted ethics approval by the La Trobe University Ethics Committee (HEC20492).

How can I find out more? 

If you have any further questions, or if you would like to express interest in participating, you can contact Dr Jennifer Power at

What if I have a complaint?

If you have a complaint about any part of this study (HEC20492), please contact the Senior Research Ethics Officer at La Trobe University via phone (03 9479 1443) or email (

When might I be informed of results?

Participants will be informed of the results of the study once they have been peer-reviewed and published. They will receive a short summary of results of the project which will include a list of any publications. Additionally, they can periodically check our Research Outputs page. You can also join the ARCSHS mailing list that provides quarterly updates on all ARCSHS research. Findings from this study will be posted to this list.

Where might I access results?

Participants can request copies of any publications via the Contact Form on this website.