The Authenticity Patch: Addressing Privacy and Security Concerns with Sexual Wellness Products
Stefani Goerlich is a multi-award winning author whose current project, Securing Sexuality, focuses on how technology is rewiring our intimate connections and why security and privacy are foundational to healthy relationships. Stefani is an expert in working with Gender, Relationship, and Sexuality Diversities as well as religious minority clients and has over 15 years of experience in supporting survivors of domestic and sexual trauma. She is currently the founder and Clinical Director of Bound Together Counseling, a private practice based in Michigan, where she offers sex, relationship and mental health therapy to members of the GSRD community, their partners, and their families. She brings insights from dozens of experts on cybersexuality, sextech, and mental health, who’ve shared their knowledge with her during her weekly podcast and annual conferences.
For the first time in human history, our relationships are no longer being mediated by other people. When tech influences the way humans form intimate bonds, what responsibility do cybersecurity professionals have? No one really knows. The intersection of technology and intimacy remains shrouded by societal hesitations to openly discuss sexuality, creating a blind spot for cybersecurity professionals. The convergence of technology and intimacy has led to a cultural shift where surveillance is equated with affection, and oversharing is mistaken for genuine connection. This redefined concept of "relationship" exposes emotional vulnerabilities, increasing susceptibility to scams and exploitation. While professionals all know compliance isn’t security, standards at least set a bare minimum. But even here, the industry comes short, as we illustrate with relevant ISO standards in sextech and highlight glaring gaps around expectations of privacy and safety. Current cybersecurity approaches predominantly focus on external threats, overlooking the personal misuse of technology that leaves individuals vulnerable. And like other behaviors related to sexual and relational health? Abstinence isn’t the answer. Tell people not to use social sharing apps, to send spicy photos to their partner, is not a valid solution. For all the risks, tech carries real benefits for people seeking connection. This session will provide a framework for conceptualizing security for sexual wellness. It equips attendees, whether dating, parenting, or building apps, with actionable steps to protect themselves and their loved ones. For cybersecurity, we offer new threat models and controls to address an area where we are most vulnerable.