Sex Tech

Introducing Pillow: The New App for Intimac

Intimacy is a concept hard to define. Some clients express struggling with emotional intimacy, wherein they have difficulty communicating vulnerabilities. Other clients explicitly have issues with physical intimacy, not knowing how to express affection, attraction, or desire. Pillow is a new app that includes exercises of different lengths to help couples improve their physical and emotional intimacy. I connected with therapist Kate Moyle who writes for the app to ask her a few questions. The app is in the crowdfunding stage so if you connect with their mission please click the link to donate.

Who is the target audience for this app? 

Pillow App is for all couples but our target audience is really those that are busy and struggling to fit intimacy into their lives and routine. We really recognise how technology is changing both our home lives and work lives – often blending and blurring the lines between the two and we wanted to offer people an easy to use and convenient but non-threatening way of tuning out of what’s going on around them and tuning into each other. ​Our episodes are audio-guided follow along intimacy exercises and ​some ​are as short as five minutes. The point is​ it doesn’t take a long time for us to pay our partners our full attention​, ​and to feel closer, appreciated and important. We want to help couples recognize this focus on the quality of that time spent together when neither are preoccupied with something else.

Why create an app with intimacy exercises? 

Because it’s so needed. There are so many apps for helping couples to meet and to make couples ​but not many for helping couples to stay together. There are lots of amazing products for spicing up and adding variety to people’s sex lives but often in long term relationships a lack of connection can be a big contributing factor to getting in the way of sex and intimacy both physical and emotional and we wanted to recognize that. As a Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist when Darren  (Smith – Founder of Pillow App) and I met everything he was talking about made so much sense – So many people are looking for more than just a quick fix in their sex lives and the space that lies in is very human – intimacy and connection. ​The format of the episodes is audio-guided follow along, with both male and female voices to choose from; and the reason that we wanted to do it this way was to help couples to be mindful and in the moment together. It’s more difficult for us to be in the moment with so much going on in our lives but mindfulness techniques can help us to be more focused on what is happening then and there. Listening, following along and doing is where couples are paying their attention rather than it being on the technology which means they have each others’ full attention

What led you, specifically, to create this app? What’s your background? 

​I work as a Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist and so every day I’m having conversations with people about how to get them to a place of a healthier and happier sexual and intimate life and relationship and more and more it felt apparent that people were pointing the finger at technology for making this harder in so many ways. When Darren (Smith – Founder of Pillow App) and I first met he had an idea about how he wanted to help couples in relationships push back against the narrative of ‘long term relationships = routine and less active sex lives, but also recognizing that tech (e.g. our phones) that was potentially increasing that problem, and that it was also the solution. Darren has a background in children’s gaming and so it was also about bringing that playfulness that we have so much as children and is so encouraged, into the adult and couple space.

What are the types of exercises offered? Can you give some examples. 

​There are a variety of over 30 episodes based on different forms of intimacy and theories about human connection. Some are more touch based, others about communication focused, and appreciation is also a big theme for us. We offer a range as we understand that every couple is unique and have different ways in which they connect, and that some may have a preference for e.g. touch over talking and others may just want more eye-contact or sensuality. Fifteen Kisses is very popular ​episode which helps couples to  break away from routine and be more creative with their kisses. It starts out lightly and gently, before the kisses build up to being more sensual. Appreciate is a lovely 5 minute episode that encourages us to just pay attention to our partners and appreciate the person that is in front of us. It’s so easy when we are rushing between work, home, kids, life admin, emails to forget to notice that person who is so important to us and this is just a little reminder of that. We also have guest episodes written by experts from the field of sex, love, intimacy and relationships. A good example of one of these is the episode Sensual Senses written by Melissa Risso a US based Sexual & Relationship Therapist, where she takes you through exploring each of the five senses one by one encouraging you to pay more attention to them all than you would usually which helps couples to experience them more fully. We even have an episode for couples to try in the bath!

How does the couple know which exercise to choose?

​There is the option when signing up to Pillow to fill in a short quiz about what you are looking for in your Pillow experience, and I as the in-house expert can offer tailored suggestions based on the answers.​ Some couples may be recommended a particular episode to try by a therapist or professional they are seeing, but in most cases it is about looking at the app together and seeing what appeals to them as a couple which as an exercise in itself can be a helpful conversation about what they would both like to experience more of. It also shows how long an episode is on the title page so if couples are thinking about time, they can see if they would prefer to start with a five minute episode or to put aside more time to try something longer together.

Do you feel that couples will commit to practicing the exercises? What holds them accountable? 

We already see that couples that try the app and enjoy the experience go back to try further episodes, and the feedback that we get is that it works and that they do feel closer afterwards. This is the goal for us as we aren’t trying to encouraging gamifying or making intimacy about point scoring but the benefit is in the feelings that trying the episodes produces. We release new content at least monthly so there are always new episodes for couples to try. It’s also not so much about holding people accountable but encouraging good relationship habits. We aren’t anti-screen just pro-connection and so showing people how good it feels when they focus on each other, even just for a short amount of time regularly can ​help them to hold that at the front of their minds and make more time and space for intimacy in their relationship.

Do you suggest working with a therapist simultaneously? Why or why not?

The important point here is that couples don’t have to be having problems or difficulties to be using Pillow and that most of our users are doing it for their own motivation to nurture their relationship rather than on recommendation. The other side of that is that we are supported by professionals, therapists and counsellors who are working with couples who use and recommend us as a tool for couples to try to stay connected between sessions. It is also about how the couple intend to use the app, for many and most that use it, it is a way of trying something new together, exploring new ways to be intimate and feel closer but importantly making time for themselves and their sexual and intimate lives. Some couples may prefer the support of  professional if they are going through a difficult time or to work on something specific together and we support both ways of using it wholeheartedly. We have designed the app so that it can be used both ways comfortably by couples and professionals alike.

Any other information you feel is pertinent for someone to know in regards to the app

To not be afraid to try something different together just because it refers to intimacy. In general as humans we are quite scared of holding an open space to discuss sex and intimacy and Pillow hopes to do that in a gentle way for couples where they can trust that the content is designed with exactly this in mind. You can download the app for free and start a free 14 day trial which gives you a chance to see what it is like for yourself without feeling you have to make a commitment first. Currently only available on IOS. We also just launched our Equity Crowdfunding Campaign on WeFunder which is so exciting and will help us to take Pillow to where we really believe that it can go. Over 30,000 people have already downloaded the app and we have even been recommended by Esther Perel in her online workshop ‘Rekindling Desire’ and investments start at as little as $111 which means that anyone who is interested can join us on the next leg of our journey. We are currently the only app like it on the market and hold quite a unique space between sexual wellness and self-help and professional help such as therapy. The most important thing is that although we are a tech-product the focus is completely on human connection.