Photo credits: MacMillan Publishing Co.
Let’s be real here, the song featured in the Broadway play, Avenue Q aptly named, “The Internet is for Porn” (and cat videos, of course) is onto something, or at least it was… considering that in the 1990’s closer to 30% of internet traffic was of an erotic nature (Even if it wasn’t HD, but hey, perhaps the sound of dial-up works in a Pavlovian manner to get those folks wet). However, according to a more recent comprehensive study in 2010, “Out of the million most popular (most trafficked) websites in the world, only 42,337 were sex-related sites.” That’s down to roughly 4%. The point being, is while we currently use technological advances much more for everyday life, such as checking our email on a smartphone, there will always be others trying to figure out how to make tech better, for the sake of sustainability or sexual desire.
Some of the most expensive robots to ever be created, and certainly the only ones we seem comfortable with taking on a semblance to the human form are made explicitly for this purpose. Of course, some people may just want a companion (May I suggest to instead see Lars and the Real Girl and then a good therapist). They are also leading the front on research regarding characteristics in AI that most closely simulate Love, and Matt McMullen, RealDoll’s CEO and Founder, made a recent announcement on Reddit saying they “are building an AI system which can either be connected to a robotic doll OR experienced in a VR environment.” While some of these creations feel like a slippery slope in a generation that reports feeling more disconnected from peers, but can’t seem to leave the comfort of Facebook or Tinder (the ubiquitous fast-dating app that was recently valued at 1.6 Billion) despite all of these things lacking the pheromones and other physical releases we experience when touching another real, live, breathing person. That said, it could make a no strings attached one night stand (just hook up to wifi first) and perhaps the testing here can give greater understanding of what drives us sexually in the name of Tech, as well as some players that are looking to give back.
With google at your fingertips, it’s a well known fact, that those in Puberty are looking at Porn, on laptops, phones. Everywhere. With a wild cocktail of sexual hormones swimming inside them and a sure lack of understanding of what BDSM stands for, we’ve all been there (just hope you figured out how to erase your browsing history). In fact, post 1960’s it’s nearly impossible for researchers to find youth over age 10 that haven’t been exposed to sexual photos or video unless they are part of a religious commune or very removed from technology as a whole (think Amish). The issue at hand here is your average porn isn’t going to show the consent, testing and use of protection that should happen beforehand, further lending to the idea It just isn’t sexy. Yet, there is rigorous STD testing behind the scenes to insure safety with all these condomless pizza delivery men on screen, and is even written in most adult stars contracts. Still, few stories depict these conversations. Now, Americans are in the wake of a terrifying Presidency with a Head of the Department of Education that believes in “abstinence only” Christain teaching in public schools, defunding current Sex-Ed health programs, and gutting protections for reporting for sexual assault in schools & colleges. So, in these occasionally bleak time for our reproductive rights, let’s all give a brief applause to the makers of PornHub! They have taken up the task of aiding in sexual knowledge for all via free Sex Education videos on their website, as well as all the other folks doing this work. Who knows where we will go next and if tech belongs in the bedroom, or better is left at work, but let’s keep the femme-designed vibrators, orgasms, safety and education coming!
Also, please check out the wonderfully written exploration of Emily Witt, Future Sex, with Cover Art Seen Above.