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Sextech is a collective term used to describe a variety of technology being created to enhance sexual wellness, health and entertainment.
Sextech can refer to sex devices, production methods and apps, with goals as varied as educating those that want to know more or simply providing pleasure.
Some examples of sextech products and services include:
Some companies in the sextech sphere include Womanizer (non-vibration sex toys), Dame (hands-free sex toys), Beducated (sex ed), BioSure (rapid sexual health testing kits), Einhorn (condoms), RealityLovers (virtual reality porn).
Advances in sextech are often a reflection of how technology is being advanced in non-sex spaces, but sextech has also been known to be instrumental in leading the advancement of technology before it reaches of realms of "mainstream" society.
In 2020, the Sextech industry was estimated to be a $30 billion marketplace. And that could rise to more than $120 billion by 2026. With rapid growth expected, it's also been pegged as an industry that is sure to introduce even more advances and innovations as new entrepreneurs and technologies enter the space.
Because sextech is tied to creation, innovation and entrepreneurship, some people involved in the industry created and participate in Sextech hackathons—weekend long events where people (those already in and those new to the industry) gather to discuss ideas, funding opportunities, and to brainstorm potential ideas for future Sextech developments, advances, and products.
Sextech is also considered by some to be a movement, meant to disrupt the current sexual marketplace and our sexual culture. One of the key goals in the Sextech movement is ensuring the space is welcoming, safe for, and encouraging to women, BIPOC and people of differing sexual and gender identities, and people with disabilities.
Sexual technology is believed to have existed for as long as there have been humans. However, in the past, developing sexual products and services has been both slow and stigmatized.
There were significant advances throughout the history of sexual products, but they often came decades, if not generations apart. These days, we live in a rapidly advancing era of technological development coupled with a greater acceptance of sexual diversity, pleasure, and the need for wide-ranging sexual products.
The idea of "sextech" as it is now referred to, was pioneered by Cindy Gallop of MakeLoveNotPorn in 2010, and advances have skyrocketed, lead by people such as Byrony Cole and Future of Sex since that time. Along with this, we are seeing a positive movement toward greater sexual understanding and freedom that has dropped stigmas and opened discussion of a number of sex topics.
Sex tech allows people to share thoughts, issues, fantasies and concerns in safer, less direct manner than has been possible in the past.
One of the concerns that people have with sextech is the potential for loss of intimacy. Touch and human contact are believed to be cornerstones to the human experience, and, for many, integral for a healthy sexual life.
Some suggest that the continued advancement of sex robots, virtual reality porn, app-enabled sex toys that connect people over distance and other such sextech, will disrupt users' potential for healthy relationships. This is an area that will require further study and review in coming years as sextech becomes more accepted and widely used.
There are other, more tangible concerns with sextech and the potential of unregulated technological advances. In computer imaging, deepfake software can be used to superimpose anyone’s likeness into video and photos—to such a sophisticated degree as to be undetectable.
Another concern people have is the collection of personal, sexual data being collected—and then breached—by sex-involved apps. As sextech emerges, this has already become an issue for some companies.
As with any rapidly changing and growing tech industry, the potential for helpful, enjoyable... possibly even life-changing advances, must be balanced with privacy concerns and the assurance of safety.
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