Intimacy and Exploration in Virtual Reality

Advances in Virtual Reality technology have been grabbing the attention of otherwise disinterested people, luring them into at least trying, if not adopting VR as a means of entertainment, education, and even enhancing the realities of life. The popularity of virtual pornography should prove that, as always, when tech evolves so too does the sexuality of its users. There’s a lot more to VR-aided human sexuality than just watching pornstars grind your VR surrogate, though. Virtual Reality is set to make human sexual interactions a whole lot more interesting and exciting.

From the Cinema to the Smartphone

Since it’s primitive arrival in the early 1920s to mid-century traveling 3D cinemas and today’s IMAX 3D experience, 3D film and video have mirrored the development of Virtual Reality. Leading the way towards believable 3D renderings of real-world objects and people, stereoscopic 3D imagery is no longer a feat to produce, the tech required now included with most higher-end smartphones. Placing such technology in the literal palms of users’ hands leads to the inevitable flood of 3D puppy videos and selfies, sure, but it can also bring people closer together in a much more meaningful way. Add the latest state of VR tech to the mix and we’re suddenly looking at an expanded universe of human interaction made available to most anyone at most anytime in most anyplace.

Intimacy from the cinema to VR tech
Image: Eadweard Muybridge, 1887

Absence Makes the Heart Go Digital

Long-distance relationships put stress and strain on a couple and though they work for some, it’s never easy to manage a relationship with distance between you. Imagine a long-distance relationship before Skype, WhatsApp or similar digital tools and you’re left with calling cards, huge phone bills, and no chance whatsoever of visual communication. Video conferencing now being commonplace has no doubt lead to more and more long-distance romantic interactions. Heck, just look at that controversial, once new entity: ChatRoulette. The hookup culture created ChatRoulette and capitalized on our need for sexual intimacy, adventure, and surprise. But it was a risky move and ultimately a momentary success.

Roboticized Romance

Live adult webcam performance has seen a steady increase in popularity and industry prominence over the past decade with the annual AVN Awards and conference now giving prize positioning to solo online stars and independent content producers. Some cam performers have embraced a variety of tools to further arouse their audience (and themselves).

Lovense virtually connects lovers

Image: Lovense

Teledildonic devices that use BlueTooth and wifi connectivity for remote control have enabled viewers to provide pleasure to the remote performers and, if they themselves had a similar device, even receive pleasure from an expert cam star. Such devices – from deep-learning systems producing simulated fellatio to plugs and vibes triggered by music or viewer tips – allow for indirect yet immediate stimulation of a partner even over huge geographic distances. This obviously isn’t limited to interactions with online pros, though. It’s perfect for personal experimentation.

In the next part of this in-depth look at the future melding of virtual reality and human sexuality, Oculus and Facebook reveal their AR intentions and we discuss what a “safe space” means in a world with fully customizable artificial realities available at our fingertips.

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