Sexual Singularity

Updated: OCTOBER 4, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on September 14, 2021

Sexual singularity is a term used to describe a theoretical future state of human relationships where people will choose virtual connections over in-person ones. Those virtual connections are not limited to human beings, but can include VR porn, app-controlled sex toys and artificially intelligent sex dolls.

It also does not mean that people will entirely forgo real-life connections, however, their preferred sexual relationship will happen virtually. The potential of a sexual singularity is social theory that has not been proven but is being considered and debated.

This kind of shift in relationship dynamics could have significant impacts on society in everything from demographics to the economy to politics. The theory that being immersed in a digital world can lead to a decrease in empathy needs to be studied.

Movement towards a sexual singularity has increased in the past decade. The advent and adoption of technology has provided people with increased opportunity to connect with others without ever meeting those new people in person. Messaging systems, video conferencing, Bluetooth connectivity and increasing capability in internet connectivity ensure that folks are always able to speak with another person, regardless of distance.

Further technological advances, such as haptic technology, 5D film, artificial intelligence and robotics and virtual reality offer increasingly immersive ways to be “connected” to others without ever leaving your home.

These technologies are booming in the sex world and are often referred to as sextech. Apps can allow someone to control their partner’s sex toy from anywhere in the world. Virtual reality has a strong foothold in the porn industry. Video conferencing revolutionized the sex cam industry. Haptic technology has introduced the option to touch another person at a distance. Artificial intelligence and sex robots are a hotly-debated industry that is rapidly evolving. Companies are continuously producing models with more advanced features.

Under an evolved sexual singularity, those who do come to prefer a virtual connection may come to be known as digisexuals.

More About Sexual Singularity

The idea of a sexual singularity is hotly debated. While the origin of the term is unclear, the concept was discussed at a SXSW in 2015 to very mixed reactions. Brian Shuster, director of an online role-playing game, famously said “We are rapidly approaching the point where man and machine will merge, where sex can be much better and safer than in real life." The concept of humans/robots/androids or some variation of these is not new. Countless movies and books have explored these connections since mechanical started whirring into our lives. However, the potential of forgoing sex in favour of virtual sex is less considered.

While sexual singularity has remained a topic of discussion as sex talk becomes less taboo and technologies continue to advance, it hasn’t become as fearful a concept as some had worried back in the mid-2010s. As a society we adopt technology readily, however slowly as cost is often prohibitive in the early releases. Certainly there were those continuing to discuss and research, but the mania died down after Shuster’s panel.

And then the Covid pandemic happened. As has been well-documented, people across the world were forced to stay home, work from home and change their lives to adapt to not seeing people in person. While a massive challenge of adjustment, it proved a huge opportunity for telecommunication and sex toys. Sex product sales surged and continue to grow at a tremendous rate. This had put a renewed emphasis on both funding sex-related companies and promoted increased invention and innovation at those companies.

The pandemic has also spurred increased interest in sex robots. Their innovation is advancing rapidly. At the same time, their ethics are also being discussed, and legalities around sexual digital advances.

With virtual reality and sex robots comes issues around deep fake and representations of children in sexual situations. Damage to sex dolls from violence has been recorded and leads to troubling concerns about their use.

As a single singularity becomes more probable, the complexities of Shuster’s relationship merger will become more murky.


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