When Brianna Rader launched Juicebox—an iPhone app that pairs users one-on-one with professional sex coaches—she thought she knew what kind of user she’d get. “I thought a lot of women would be coming to us because they can’t orgasm,” she says. Instead, she’s discovered that over half of her customers are straight men.
“If we don’t include men in the conversation,” Rader says, “we’re not really going to ever change much. We need to be working with everyone.” Rader surmises that while women often have tightly connected social groups they can talk with about their sex and relationship questions, “not as many men talk about sexual topics really honestly with their friends.”
So, they’re turning to Juicebox, and asking a lot of the same questions. Here’s what most straight men are inquiring about on the app.
Thirty percent of the straight guys who come to Juicebox are looking for help in their dating lives. In the wake of the ongoing #MeToo movement, says Rader, “I think men feel like the rules are changing. They feel a little lost, a little confused and alone navigating this. So they’re seeking out expertise.”
Juicebox’s coaches find themselves helping men navigate online dating, in particular. As the demands of swipe culture have put the pressure on physical appearance, they’re asking coaches how to take a better selfie, flirt via text, and make a good impression on a first date or hookup—giving them an edge in a crowded marketplace. While women have been socialized from an early age to make themselves attractive to potential partners, says Rader, “Men are rarely judged on that factor.”
Moreover, competition is intense on most dating apps, where thousands of straight men vie for the attention of a much smaller pool of straight women. “We have assessments”—like homework that helps coaches pinpoint a user’s needs—“for your dating goals,” says Rader, no matter what they are. “We’re not biased if your goals are casual sex or casual dating. We can help you just as well as if you’re looking for a long-term partner.”
Rader believes that Juicebox is uniquely positioned to help straight men seek help for performance issues. “Especially erectile issues can be really taboo,” she says. But Juicebox offers anonymity, which can free men up to talk about their problems without fear of being judged. “I think the anonymity is huge,” says Rader. Twenty-three percent of Juicebox’s straight male users are worried about their sexual performance, and Rader breaks those worries down into three categories.
First, there are men with general performance anxiety. Performance anxiety is usually tied to emotional issues, but Rader says it’s often treated medically. “If you’re 25 and have performance anxiety, but you can masturbate, you really shouldn’t be on Viagra,” asserts Rader.
The solution looks different for every Juicebox user, says Rader, but coaches often help men find the root of their anxiety, and work through it. “Is it a childhood experience?” asks Rader. “Is it something an ex said? Is it something that happened last weekend?” Coaches on the app also offer practical advice to combat anxiety.
Premature ejaculation is a big source of stress for a lot of men who seek help from Juicebox. In many cases, Rader says, Juicebox users are more concerned than they need to be, and coaches’ first responsibility is to educate their clients on how well they’re actually doing. “People think that other people last twenty or thirty minutes” during intercourse, says Rader, “but really, the average sex session is only about five minutes in America.”
So, for men who seek help on Juicebox, Rader says it’s important that they realize they’re far from alone. Coaches offer personalized plans of action for each guy they talk to, incorporating education, discussion of their personal situation, and exercises to get real-world results.
Another common performance-related issue that sends men into coaching is erectile dysfunction—the consistent, recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual satisfaction. Whereas older men are known to experience ED in higher numbers, recent studies have shown that it’s now affecting up to 10% of men under 40.
“We have a lot of men in their twenties and thirties that are experiencing erectile issues,” says Rader. Although the science is still out on why this is happening, Juicebox is ready to help. “Coaches start by talking to the client about what their masturbation routine is, to figure out if it is related to pornography. Treatment would generally consist of retraining yourself. Giving yourself exercises: to try to masturbate and orgasm in different ways: with and without pornography, with different sensations.”
Every case is different, says Rader, but about 92% of young users with ED report feeling satisfied with their treatment in just four weeks. “We’re like a personal trainer,” she says. “Our homework is just a lot more fun.”
Insecurity, Rader believes, is a driving force for many Juicebox users. It often presents itself as body image issues, which bring thirteen percent of straight men to Juicebox. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s one particular part of the body that they’re often focused on.
Rader says that education is a key component of coaching when it comes to penis size. “It doesn’t actually play much of a role in women’s pleasure. Very, very, very few women say that the length of the penis matters to them!” says Rader. So Juicebox’s coaches make sure that men are aware of that fact, as well as “making sure that the person has adequate information around this—being completely realistic about what average penis sizes are.” The truth is that average penis size is only 5.2 inches when erect, and it’s important for Juicebox clients to know that.
And data isn’t all that coaches can provide, says Rader. They also talk clients through what’s causing them concern. “Shame is at the root of all of all of these issues,” Rader says. “So, where’s the shame coming from?” Coaches can also give clients real-world suggestions to help them feel bigger than they are: “Positions and exercises that can help you be deeper during intercourse, if that’s what your desired outcome is. And there are also products that our coaches can recommend, like the Liberator wedge, or certain vibrators.”
A further ten percent of straight male users come to Juicebox looking for help with sex techniques. “These are people that maybe want to learn more about how to give their girlfriends better oral sex,” says Rader. “It’s mostly related to their partner’s pleasure, which…feeds into their ego. So it might not be the best of intentions for signing up, but I don’t really mind. I’m just happy to see men who want to become better lovers for their partners!”
Many of these users are at a loss as to how to communicate effectively with their partners about what turns them on. Coaches encourage users to “ask an open-ended question that kind of allows the partner to verbalize how they’re feeling, while also feeling less pressured,” rather than yes or no questions that can limit exploration. In the end, if the coaching goes well, everyone can say what they want and get more out of sex.
And that’s the whole idea behind Juicebox.