Sadly, I've been forced to put this strange bandaid on my forearm.
I've been cautioned against putting it where it truly belongs -- on that sensitive inch of flesh wedged between my anus and my testicles, the area formally known as the perineum, more commonly known as the taint.
But no, I can't put the bandaid there. Not today. That would involve me removing my pants in a public space at some have christened the "taint bandaid.", in front of two other CNET journalists who've patiently followed me to test this as-yet-unnamed device that
The taint bandaid is only partially bandaid. Attached to the bandaid part is a battery connected to electrodes designed to send mild electrical impulses to whatever area of the flesh it's attached to. Traditionally, electrodes like this are used to relieve muscle pain, but the taint bandaid is different. It's designed to stimulate and confuse the nervous system with one goal in mind: delaying male ejaculation during sexual intercourse.
In short, the taint bandaid is an innovation designed to help men who suffer from premature ejaculation, a condition that affects up to 30% of the male population. The root cause of premature ejaculation still isn't fully understood. Current treatments range from behavioral techniques to anesthesia to drug therapy.
"It's is the No. 1 male sexual dysfunction," explains Jeff Bennett, "but many men don't want to talk about it."
Bennett is the CEO and founder of Morari, the company behind the taint bandaid.
Bennett is lovely. He has what a fellow journalist described as "Big Dad energy." He emits the vibrations of a man who's heard (and politely laughed at) every possible premature ejaculation joke you could imagine. He's middle-aged, graying. He dresses like a Hogwarts professor, and he's come to CES this year with the broader goal of raising awareness about premature ejaculation.
Jokes, believes Bennett, are a great entry point to a genuine conversation about an affliction that affects a tremendous amount of men.
"I've had several people who, after getting through the jokes, say 'tell me a little more about this. I'm interested.'"
I'm also interested.
I'm interested because Bennett, and by extension Morari, are somewhat of an anomaly at CES, particularly in the space his company occupies. In 2020, sex tech is grabbing headlines, but Morari feels likeor , companies at CES selling polished products designed to increase (or introduce) pleasure. In some ways, the taint bandaid is designed to reduce pleasure or, at the very least, delay gratification.
It's also one of the few examples of sex tech at CES designed to solve a male problem. Devicescan be used by both men and women (and their partners) but they're marketed to women.
But the taint bandaid is a device designed for two players. It can be worn only by a man, but it's designed to be controlled by a sexual partner, using what Bennett currently calls a "partner activation device." Sounds painful.
"An app on a phone or Fitbit," says Bennett, "will allow the partner to turn the device on or off."
He also says the device will have a "volume" control that'll let partners adjust the sensitivity.
But why the taint? Dear lord, why the taint? The answer is simple: That's the area of the body where nerves combine before sending an ejaculation signal to the brain. "By delivering electrical energy there," explains Bennett, "we're basically confusing those nerves. We're trying to turn down the sensitivity and the transmission of these neural signals."
Does it work? It's difficult to say. Bennett says he's done tests with five different men who suffered from premature ejaculation. All five, he says, reported back positively. Bennett wouldn't be drawn on times or any specific form of measurement. "Subjectively," he says, "they all said there was an impact."
The taint bandaid, understandably, is a one-use device. A long-term, multi-use version could be possible in the future, he speculates, but the materials would need to be sturdier and there's the issue of keeping it clean. Pending approvals, production and other potential obstacles, Bennett is hoping to have the device on the market by mid 2021. He has no intention of trading in data collection and expects the taint bandaid to sell for $25 a pop.
"Early research has suggested that [men] are willing to do whatever it takes and price is not an issue," says Bennett. "We're thinking a $25 price point is reasonable."
I may not be able to put this thing on my taint just yet, but Bennett agrees to put this thing on a more palatable part of my body.
"I'm not gonna hurt you," he jokes. "Just get your forearm here."
Bennett gently sticks the taint bandaid to the fleshy part of my arm. It's in that moment it occurs to me: Morari's device really does look like a bandaid. Mainly because its electrodes are attached to what appears to be a literal bandaid.
But it doesn't stick like a bandaid -- if anything, I'd be worried about the device falling off. Earlier, Bennett and I discussed a Gizmodo article that coined the phrase "taint bandaid." He loved the article, with one exception: He was upset at the suggestion that his device would rip hair off your taint post-use.
"It's not like a bandaid where it rips the hair out," he insists. "It's very clever and novel. It doesn't use an adhesive, it's a gel that also serves as a conductor."
That word: "conductor." It becomes immediately clear. I'm about to have electricity passed into my forearm. Sweet.
The device is attached and the electrical current flows, but as promised the taint bandaid doesn't hurt. In fact it barely registers, and even at full blast is nothing more than a tickle.
I openly wonder if that sensation would be more than ticklish if this thing were attached to my taint, as advertised. Bennett says no.
"It isn't a shock," he explains. "We're using electricity to interfere with normal neural activity. It doesn't hurt people."
Somehow I trust him. I suspect that's part of Bennett's appeal. He doesn't feel like a salesman with a pitch, he's more like a friendly village doctor. I want to confide my deepest darkest medical secrets, ask questions about that mole on my lower back.
I'm certain Bennett won't hurt anyone with his taint bandaid, but it's difficult to say if it'll change lives in the way he hopes. It's a bizarre concept that requires buy-in and a strange leap of faith.
But it's hard not to root for Bennett, the mild-mannered Hogwarts professor with "Big Dad energy." He's trying to solve a problem that creates a tremendous amount of anxiety and embarrassment for millions of men. He's absorbing endless jokes and the disguised pain of a topic few men are courageous enough to speak about openly.
And he's doing it with a bandaid you attach to your taint.
Jeff Bennett may be the strangest man at CES, but he might also be the bravest.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.