In a world where technology is everywhere and and interactions are as easy as speaking into a screen, ideal relationships are becoming an increasingly ambiguous concept. But how is intimacy changing in the modern world? Tillie Demetriou Investigates: Sex in the digital age.
Sex. It needs no introduction and statistics show that globally we spent approximately £15b a year on the adult entertainment industry alone. But with the emergence of robots and virtual reality porn, the need for a human partner is becoming less and less. Gone are the days where we have to use our imaginations and some text messages to satisfy our sexual desires. These new inventions are slowly distorting the line between reality and fantasy and soon we may not even be able to tell the difference.
The Rise of Robophillia!
There is a scene in the Channel 4 television drama ‘Humans’ where Joe (played by John Goodman-Hill) decides he is going to activate the adult programming on a synthetic robot he bought for his family, and have sex with her.
The all cast show, set in a parallel world, portrays a society where the latest new trend in every household is a humanoid. These robots are programmed to look after children, undertake household chores and even sleep with humans at their beck and call. They also, look just like us!
Although fiction, the show portrays a concept that is not as unrealistic as you may think. US company Abyss creations created their first silicone sex doll in 1996 and are currently working on their very own sex robot.
The gynoid, they have named Harmony, will have a number of hyper realistic features allowing her to appear as human-like as possible. These include: heaters in her intimate areas, built in artificial intelligence so that she can understand and respond to you and she can even be programmed to make jokes.
But just how popular will these robots be and what impact will they have on our love and sex lives?
Futurologist Dr Ian Pearsons, has made a career out of predicting the popularity of future technologies for PR firms.
In a report he produced with online sex company Bondara, he predicted that by 2025 we will start to see humanoid robots in high-income households and by 2050 sex with robots will be as if not more common than human-human sex.
Dr Pearsons believes that it is “inevitable for people to fall in love with robots” and has even compared it to attachments people already make with unhuman beings.
In science fiction films people form strong bonds with robots and androids just as much as the human characters. Also, young children even form close emotional bonds with teddy bears so they don’t event have to look human”
Not everyone believes that the release of sexbots will be a good thing. Dr Kathleen Richardson has gone as far as saying our future would be “Despairing”. Last year she launched the ‘Campaign Against Sex Robots’ which fights for the complete ban of the production of them altogether. She argues that sex robots are “detrimental to society” and pose a threat to all women everywhere.
“I started to notice different representations of females in robots. Some of them were hyper sexualised and some of them weren’t even full female bodies they were just heads on tables that were just presumably there to give blowjobs.”
She continued. “It’s an insult to all women in the world. That the experience of a human woman can be reduced to a few artificial behaviours, a non living organism.”
Virtual Reality Porn& Robotic Toys.
Another way our sex is changing in the digital age is by the launching of virtual reality toys and porn. We can already see VR making revolutionary progress in the way we learn, our healthcare and our warfare, but new immersive adult toys and porn videos are completely altering the adult entertainment industry.
One of many companies creating virtual reality sex toys is Amsterdam based organisation Kiiroo. They have recently launched an interactive sex toy aimed for couples in long distance relationships. The female has a mechanical dildo and the man a tube to emulate a vagina. These toys respond to your partner’s touch so regardless of how far away they are, they can still simulate arousal by playing with their half of the toy.
Since the release of this product, they have now linked the toys to virtual reality porn videos. This adds a physical sensation to an already immersive first person experience.
Concerns from therapists are already being put forward about the repercussions virtual reality porn could have on its viewers. Psychotherapist and Cognitive behavioural therapist Julian Hayes has experience working with individuals who have become addicted to pornography.
Although he believes that many people will find VR porn humorous and exciting he fears that the addiction could also take over our lives.
Porn has become so prevalent in society as a means of power and control, that we are in the verge of losing sight of its role in our lives. People who come to me with this issue say they lose site of who they are”
Regardless of the for-or-against viewpoints professionals are expressing towards these new sex-tech’s, It’s seeming inevitable that they are on their way to sex shops everywhere. They may be just as tremendous and exciting as described. A way that people who have difficulties finding partners can find love, or a even a way for couples to remain close and intimate and still live their lives thousands of miles apart. But in a world where, many people, still consider sex to be an important and emotion-full experience with another human being, maybe we should consider the danger the digital era could pose… to our hearts.