Let us talk frankly about technology and sex1, which are, as the old ad has it, two great tastes that taste great together. Let’s talk about vibrators, and teledildonics, and orgasms, and KinkBNB, and VR porn, and “Uber for escorts.” And let’s talk again about our collective inability to think about, talk about, and invest in sex in an even halfway enlightened way.
We live in the midst of a sex-tech Cambrian explosion, so much so that of late it has attracted stupid patents and patent trolls. You can download quantified-self sex apps like Spreadsheets, or games like HappyPlayTime which aim to “eliminate the stigma around female masturbation.” You can buy smart vibrators like the SmartBod, which tracks your sex data and adjusts to your reactions. Or vibrators for couples like the long- (or short-) distance Vibease (which we’ve covered before.)
Or the Eva from Dame Products, who blew the doors off Indiegogo last year. I felt unqualified to review the Eva myself, so I had a pro-domme friend known as “Madame V” (yes, I live in San Francisco, how ever did you guess?) review it for me/TC. (She also suggested this post’s headline.) She writes:
Eva is a labor of love spawned from a founding team composed of one sex therapist and one mechanical engineer. She promises to be the hands-free, strap-free sex toy for couples to enjoy together. After all, 70 percent of people with vaginas can’t orgasm from intercourse alone, but are generally able to orgasm via masturbation.
If Eva’s goal is to be non-threatening and therefore bring more pleasure to a larger vagina audience, it is achieving it swimmingly. After rigorous testing, its best use cases are 1) softcore missionary and 2) reading smut. However, the heathens among us know that the most uh, “rugged” sex toys include more complicated padding, not less.
All this iteratively better vibrator research is great! …but, these days, well, a little boring. Teledildonics and VR are the new sex-tech frontiers. Because why shouldn’t we eliminate the middleperson and get sex directly over the Internet, right? E.g. via the Kiiroo Onyx & Pearl teledildonics set. (Currently one-way, alas, but hey, these are the Altair 8800s of the field.)
As for VR: raise your hands, everyone surprised that there are VR porn sites out there already. No one at all? I’m shocked, shocked. Indeed, those well-known filth-minded hedonists over at, er, MarketWatch are already calling VR “the porn industry’s billion-dollar new frontier.”
Too impersonal for you? Too inhuman? Not to worry. Tech can set you up with real live sex workers, too, via Ohlala, the “Uber for escorts.” (Based in Germany. It would presumably be pressured into shuttering in America before you could blink.)
If you already know the right person, but your home isn’t sufficiently well appointed for your mutual proclivities, fear not! KinkBNB to the rescue. Like it says on the label, KinkBNB is essentially AirBNB for, well, sex dungeons. It already offers listings in 35 cities spread across 12 countries. Invite-only, for now.
Sexual hardware; sexual services like KinkBNB, aka the “sexual sharing economy”; and new non-porn adult content — there’s innovation everywhere you look. It’s fair to say that, well, sex is hot. I know, I know, you’re shocked, shocked.
But the interesting thing is that this is largely happening despite the tech industry as we know it, courtesy of crowdsourcing and bootstrapping rather than VC funding. Because sexual content is exactly equivalent to porn, as far as the industry (and much of the world) is concerned — so almost nobody who’s not already in the porn industry wants to touch anything even tangentially connected with sex with a hundred-foot pole.
As I’ve argued before, this either-porn-or-G-rated dichotomy has carved out a vast excluded middle, an untapped market abandoned by investors, hosting providers, payment processors, etc, very few of whom are willing to be even involved with anything that can possibly construed as “sexual content,” those dread words that so often serve as a kiss of death.
But “sexual content” is really not the same thing as “porn.” The tech industry is cutting-edge in so many ways, but much of it continues to treat the existence of consensual adult sex — or anything even distantly related to it, such as breastfeeding pictures — as some kind of unspeakable shameful secret. It’s bizarre, it’s retrograde, and it’s deeply counterproductive. Imagine how much better the world, and our collective sex lives, could be if and when that finally ceases to be the case.