In my last post I questioned what “real” sex is. What sorts of things count, and sorts of things do not? Different people = different opinions. Of course, given that people are so varied on what does and does not fit the bill for sex, it only makes sense for humans to go about complicating the issue further.
Last fall, Tenga, a Japanese manufacturer that has specialized in disposable male masturbatory aids, has paired up with the game designers at Illusion to use the Oculus Rift (virtual reality goggles) and the haptic device Novint Falcon, which was utilized in first person shooter game controllers to make them respond to virtual gunfire, and created a video game you can have sex with. See the video below (I promise, no “real” people are nude or getting it on with the game. They were at a conference full of for goodness sake. That being said, it's probably not the best video to watch with your mother…)
So there we have it: Virtual Reality Sex.
The CEO of Tenga, Tsenuki Sato, even went so far as to claim that "...in the future, the virtual real will become more real than actual real sex" (Merchant, 2014).
But wait, weren't we just questioning what sex is? you might be asking. Why yes, yes we were, and therein lay the problem.
If one cannot define sex, or more so, cannot define a complete list of specific acts that can universally be accepted as sex, then how would one go about proving that sex with a tube held by a robot arm is not “real” sex? Even with this idea of “real sex” floating around, we still have to divvy it up into classifications: Sexual Intercourse, Sexual Activity, Penetrative Sex, Non-Penetrative Sex,, etc… “Real” sex cannot be held to one category. Of course we could take the cheap route and say that because there is only one person involved, it cannot be classified as sex.
But wait, what’s that? That might not always be the case? Why thank you, internet, for that wonderful tidbit of information.
As it turns out, Ted Nelson — a well-known pioneer in information technology, philosopher, and sociologist who coined the word “hypertext” — created the term “Teledildonics.” Stay with me.
Teledildonics, or cyberdildonics, are electronic sex toys that can be controlled by someone’s computer, and now they could even be controlled by someone’s Xbox or even Bluetooth. This may not sound so radical (or maybe it does to you, I don’t know what you've got going on), but I did not say that the computer that controls it needs be the one belonging to its user.
As shown by the image above — belonging to LovePals, a company that has literally "made an app for that" — Teledildonics can be controlled by remote access. This means that if someone owns a teledildonic toy in Russia and wants to get groiny with someone in Vermont, they could give that person remote access to their teledildonic toy and have at it. Two people are involved (and if they so desired, even more than two people could be involved) and they are performing sexual acts, so why question whether or not this is “real” sex?
Perhaps it is not considered to be “real” now, but I certainly think that it will be. People are supplementing social interaction with various forms of technology and media already (Facebook, FetLife, W.O.W, Eve Online, Second Life, etc…) so why not move sex onto the World Wide Web, too? It could easily be considered a far superior form of sexual activity. Here are a few reasons why:
1. There is no risk of STDs or STIs, provided someone does not share their devices with others.
2. They do not have to risk being assaulted because if they become uncomfortable, they can just unplug the device or turn off their computer.
3. There will be fewer sexual insecurities regarding body shape and size because each person will have already picked out their own devices, so the size is whatever they decide suits them. Plus,
4. if Tenga’s new creation catches on, they could easily include the Virtual Reality goggles and Illusion’s programming to make it seem like they are interacting with someone they find to be physically ideal.
This may someday be considered the new, improved, simulative and superior form of sex. What would there be to miss when all of one’s ideals are only a click and type away?