Whether it’s hooking up with our college professors, going on the fourth Tinder date of the week, or ordering pizza at 3am, there comes a time when we have to ask ourselves if we’re doing things because we want to, or just because we can?
From virtual reality pornography to sex suits, the future of sex probably has more lens flare than a Star Trek movie. Technology is moving towards bridging the gap between sexual desire and a disinterest in meeting other human beings. Where chats and Tweets fed intellectual, or at the very least conversational, needs, science is now working on the software and hardware that will take care of sexual needs without ever needing to meet anyone new.
PornHub: Virtual Reality
PornHub recently launched a virtual reality category, which means free VR porn that’s even optimized for phones. They also gave away 10,000 pair of Google’s cardboard VR goggles for that majority that had little use for VR goggles prior to this porn update.
The actual porn is your standard POV video, but with 360 capabilities, for those moments when you want to stare at a spot on the wall to the right or left of your girl and think about how lucky you are, of course. Maybe leave a note for the set’s interior designer. “The red velvet curtains on the far right don’t bring out the Porn Stars eyes when she’s giving me head.” Pair the cheap goggles with a Fleshlight and the experience is passable for the real thing, right?
Sure, but a Fleshlight and cardboard goggles aren’t as realistic as a masturbation suit. Tenga has created a masturbation suit that “can send impulses all over the wearer’s body to make it feel like another human being is touching them.” It should be noted that the suit is only designed for penises. By dressing like a skin-tight astronaut, you can have a device that will stimulate you while you watch VR porn. As a bonus, there is a pair of boobs to play with, since you don’t exactly need your hands.
Space travel. Assembly lines. McDonald’s cashiers. It always escalates to robots, doesn’t it? It would seem natural for sex, and virtual reality sex, would lead to robots in the end.
However, Sanford University recently found that humans feel incredibly awkward when a robot asked them to touch their genitals.
The study didn’t go into why we’re so uncomfortable with robot foreplay, but we can take a couple of guesses. Maybe it’s because the robot is cold and monotone, like a partner at the end of a relationship. Maybe it’s just not attractive. Rick Ma is a Hong Kong designer who created a robot replica of Scarlett Johansson and named her Mark I. The robot is programmed with a few entertaining comments and all but blushes at a compliment. Is the objectification of a celebrity attractive enough to be aroused by a robot? What does that say about people who use these robots? Would we be able to create replicas of the non-celebrities we’re too afraid to ask out? Would we need their consent?
One thing is for sure, this brings us closer to virtual sex, where you’ll be able to act and respond to the sexual movements of a partner who is not in the room with you, provided you both have the same equipment and software.
Robot sex and the other components of the future of sex are complicated and will probably raise more questions before we’re all comfortable with the idea. I also foresee the rise of new fetishes and levels of voyeurism (cuckold by house robot, for one). It’s new territory, most of it exciting. I don’t think we know exactly what we want from technology’s sex department, but we’re having a good, but mostly awkward, time figuring it out.