Really Good Vibrations: Study Uses Sex Toy To Loosen Up Singers’ Vocal Cords
by Lee Rannals (via Red Orbit) – Vibrators are being used by researchers at the University of Alberta to help give actors a little bit more vocal power. The team of researchers found that pressing the sex toys against the throats of actors helps to give them improved projection and range – vocally, of course.
“You can actually watch on a spectrograph how vocal energy grows,” said David Ley, who worked on the project. “Even when you take the vibrator off, the frequencies are greater than when first applied.
He said he has used this method with singers, schoolteachers and actors, and so far the vibrator technique has always worked.
Another method used in speech pathology involves massaging the larynx to loosen up tension, but Ley says some people can’t handle this technique because of the feeling of fingers on their throat. He began to search for a new method to help actors and singers project their voices with increased power.
Ley headed over to a local love shop in search of some hand-held vibrators in order to test out whether they could help release various forms of muscular tension. He was looking for a vibrator with a frequency somewhere between 100 and 120 hertz, which is close to the range of the human voice. Once he applied the vibrator to an actress’ neck over the vocal cords, she was able to produce striking results.
“Not only did it free tension in the laryngeal muscles, but it seemed to stimulate vibrations in the vocal folds,” says Ley.
He found applying the vibrator to the top of the head and cheeks helped to increase specific overtones as well. After these results, he decided to take his idea to a friend in speech pathology to explore its potential for helping to relieve more serious cases of vocal stress.
“This is the great thing I’ve found about the university. I’ve gone with what I’ve considered to be pretty wacky ideas to people in other departments and they say, ‘That sounds odd, but I’m willing to go with you on this’,” Ley said.
Sara Farb, a Toronto actress, was suffering from laryngitis in a production of Next to Normal, a high-octane, vocally demanding musical. She said after she tried the vibrator-to-throat application, “it was like my voice had been polished and was completely brand new.
“It was so absent of stress, even though the show was a stressful one to do,” Farb said in a statement. “I sent David a message that night saying he may have changed my life. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it was drastic. I will never forget that performance.”
According to Ley, it is still too early to march out definitive scientific claims on the vibrator technique working, but he plans to present his method at the Voice Foundation Symposium in Philadelphia next June.
For those actors and actresses who do not want to be seen massaging their throats with a sex toy before a big performance, one San Francisco startup company is making a solution. CRAVE announced on Valentine’s Day this year it has officially launched a discreet sex toy. With an inconspicuous vibrator tucked away in a pocket or purse, and the confidence of a new study behind their backs, intrepid actors and actresses can now walk into their next performance and blow everyone away with their powerful vocal projections.