Design and Sexual Health for Female to Male Transexual
Designing for Sexual Health problems is a relatively new area of research and practice but Industrial Design has a history of working within the medical field and in particular designing prosthetics.
However, there are still a larger number of issues further to investigate in the field of Sexual Health Innovation, specifically the sexual prosthetics design for pre-ops for Female to Male Transgenders (FTMs). This research has shown that there are no industrial design projects that are working on the types of issues faced by FTMs as sexual commodities are still considered as a socially taboo. Industrial designers can push the boundaries and break the stereotypes through rigorous research methods and design innovations.
Therefore, this design research project explores the context of penile prosthetics for pre-ops FTMs, starting with investigating and analysing the issues and the facts of FTMs physical and emotional transitions. Many issues were identified as problematic and all had something in common with a lack of proper fitting of the prosthetic to each individuals body.
Therefore, a product service design was proposed to resolve core issues. The design concept is to allow FTMs home cast their Mons Pubis from a cheap and easy to use moulding kit that purchased from the prosthetics company. They have the options either to send back the physical mould or the 3D scan file of the mould using a smartphone app and send to the manufactures designers. Through modifying the top part of the mould for each FTMs, the designer or the manufacturer would create the custom designed prosthetics interface which would fit the FTMs body the best.
A series of methods have been used in this project such as market research of current penile prosthetics industry and an analysis against best practice in limb prosthetics design where the design problems and gaps have been identified. Further methods include Personas, analysis of existing literature about FTM’s product and lifestyle choices, exploration of the possible user service model and iterative prototyping. The solution proposed in this project is a Product Service System to create better fitting prosthetics through a customisation service. This is in line with future trends in the health sector towards the customisation of personal medicine and devices.