Lora DiCarlo aims to educate, empower, and delight women with her award-winning devices.
Name Lora Haddock DiCarlo
Title and company Founder and CEO of Lora DiCarlo
An orgasm changed Lora Haddock DiCarlo’s life.
In a word, it was a blended orgasm. Meaning it combined a clitoral and G-spot orgasm. “It was so intense that it knocked me off the bed,” says DiCarlo, 34, of Bend, Oregon. “The feeling was, ‘Holy shit, how do I do that again? And how can I do this by myself?’”
So she began looking for a product that could re-create the experience. But it didn’t exist. DiCarlo was a premed student at the time, so she looked into the data. Except the data didn’t exist, either.
“We don’t lend validity to sexuality,” she says.
Encountering Shame About Masturbation
There was one solution: DiCarlo had to conduct her own research. She started asking women in person, on email, and via social media about masturbation. And a funny (but not funny ha ha) thing happened: Everyone responded the same way, “with an immense amount of shame and embarrassment,” she says. “It was like no one ever talked about it. That turned into curiosity and a want to talk to me about sexuality and masturbation.”
Then she would ask them to measure the distance from their clitoris to their G-spot. “I wanted to make a product that could fit multiple people and utilize bio-mimicry so it felt like a real partner instead of vibrating,” she says.
But none of the women knew about their own bodies. So DiCarlo ended up teaching them how to find their G spot and clitoris and how to measure that. “When I told the women that I wanted to use the information to make a product to create a blended orgasm, every person was like, ‘When can I have it? Is it ready?’”
Devices Re-create Human Hand, Lip, and Mouth Stimulation
They got their wish two years later, in 2017, when DiCarlo founded Lora DiCarlo in partnership with Oregon State University’s robotics and engineering lab. Lora DiCarlo’s hands-free devices use microrobotics to simulate hand, lip, and mouth stimulation. (They’re not considered vibrators, because there’s no vibration.) Her most popular product, Osé — which holds nine patents in microrobotics — retails for $290, and at the time this article posted it was on back order.
Osé won the 2019 Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drones product category at the Consumer Electronics Show, but not without some drama.
Not long after she won, the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award, claiming that Osé violated the award’s terms and conditions for being “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image.” The organization later walked back on its assertions and instead claimed that Osé simply didn’t fit into any of the product categories, including robotics and drones.
Double Standard for Men’s and Women’s Sex Products
But DiCarlo wasn’t buying it. Instead, she published an open letter accusing CES of gender discrimination.
It’s important to note that “a literal sex doll for men launched on the floor at CES in 2018, and a VR porn company exhibits there every year, allowing men to watch pornography in public as consumers walk by,” she wrote. “Clearly CTA has no issue allowing explicit male sexuality and pleasure to be ostentatiously on display. Other sex toys have exhibited at CES, and some have even won awards, but apparently there is something different, something threatening about Osé, a product created by women to empower women.”
Eventually, CTA reversed its decision, and DiCarlo worked with the group to update its policies for 2020. Her latest products, Onda and Baci, were CES 2020 Innovation Award honorees. (They’ll be available for purchase later this year.)
The Power of Embracing Your Sexuality
In addition to physical pleasure, DiCarlo — who has so far raised $5.2 million for her company — wants to help women embrace their sexuality. The way she sees it, embracing your sexuality can help change the world.
“When you embrace your sexuality and are comfortable with your identity, people do great things in the world,” she says. “I truly think that starts with education. When you know more about your own body, it’s empowering. It creates this sense of confidence. And when you can control your own pleasure, that’s empowering. When women have the ability to claim their own pleasure, that’s empowering. Knowing you can give yourself an orgasm is empowering.”
And who knows what they might do with it? “I’m pretty sure that no one leaves high school or college saying, ‘I’m going to go start a sex tech company!’ but hopefully they will.”