2010: 7 Ways Technology Is Changing Sex

from the archives


Whilst new technology is quickly adapted into all areas of life, it is probably not surprising to hear that almost all human innovation ends up in the bedroom. And while networks like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way we interact socially, new technologies have also changed the way we engage sexually. Hare are 7 tech-driven trends that have affected sex in this digital age...


1. New Ways For Pleasure

Recent years have seen the launch of several high-tech, multifunction sex toys, including a partners' vibrator called the We-Vibe, which can be used by both partners at once; a virtual sex device called the RealTouch For Men, which syncs up with digital media for a more realistic experience; a sex robot named Roxxxy; and an iPod attachment called the OhMiBod, which is a vibrator that pulsates in time as music plays.


2. New Kinds Of Sex

Courtship, sex, and love can take place in virtual worlds, like the user-created Second Life. Individuals create custom avatars to represent themselves, then interact with other 'residents' of the Second Life community. Sex between avatars is quite common--there are even virtual sex toys for sale that residents can purchase for their avatars. People have been known to form deep relationships with one another via Second Life, and sex between avatars can have real world implications: last year a woman filed for divorce after she caught her husband's avatar engaging in sexual activity with another male avatar!


3. New Ways To Meet A Partner

In 2002, Wired predicted that in 20 years looking for love online would become the norm. Eight years later, Internet dating sites are already anything but taboo. eHarmony and Match.com are two popular forums for singles seeking "traditional" love, while virtual dating websites like OmniDate pair digital avatars and place them into romantic "date" settings. Some statistics suggest that one in eight couples married in the US met via social media.


4. New Kinds Of Partners

Immobile "sex dolls" have been around since Ancient Greece, and they remain part of sex culture today - but in all new forms. In the words of Douglas Hine, creator of Roxxxy the sex robot, "Sex only goes so far – then you want to be able to talk to the person." Thanks to artificial intelligence, sex robots like Roxxxy can sense motion and touch, and even speak. While sex robots cannot yet imitate true human movement, startlingly lifelike 'bots called Actroids exist for non-sexual purposes and can not only speak but can gesture emphatically, the way humans do.


5. New Ways To Consume Erotica

The Internet is both an information and pornography super highway. By some metrics, some 12% of all sites on the web are pornographic. Adult entertainment providers like Playboy have repeatedly leveraged new tech to their advantage. In 1982, to keep pace with demand, the company launched Playboy TV, and in 1989 the magazine became the first men's publication with a Braille edition. For its June 2010 issue, Playboy even featured a 3D centerfold. "What would people most like to see in 3D?" asked Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, "probably a naked lady". Porn is also becoming more 'graphic' than ever before: first came HD TV, with its high resolution images, and now, as 3D TV gains traction, adult entertainment companies are beginning to venture into 3D porn.


6. New Ways To Co-ordinate Hookups

Location-based social networking apps allow smartphone users to search and connect with people in their area. Apps like Skout Dating: A Singles Network and PinPointsX help singles find and coordinate dates. There are also gender-exclusive social apps, like the all-male Grindr.


7. New Ways To Have Cybersex

Cybersex, or sex that takes place over the Internet, is more accessible and available in far more forms than ever. Gone are the days of AOL Chatrooms. Today websites like ChatRoulette host live, spontaneous video chats between strangers, some of whom engage in virtual sex acts. Of course, there's always sexting as a form of electronic flirtation, where partners send explicit text messages or racy photos to one another. The much-touted FaceTime video chat feature for iPhone 4 could even bring a new level to cybersex by combining sexting, video sex and phone sex. Know another way that technology is shaping our romantic and intimate lives? Let us know!

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