Remember "The Jetsons?" The futuristic cartoon was set in 2062 - less than 50 years from now. The show featured flying cars, robots, and all of the trappings of a high-tech world. Yet what wild tech did George and Judy have in the bedroom? Are we going to get there? We just might be well on our way with the current rate at which sex tech is advancing. In this week's Sex Stories We Love, we look at stories popping up around sex and technology.
Sex Stories We Love: Pushing All My Buttons, On Porpoise...or Not? & No Way AI!
Pushing All My Buttons
Not feeling up for it tonight? Too tired, too busy, too distracted? Hell, just not horny at all? Researchers at Liberos, the biotech company founded by sexual behavior and arousal expert Dr. Nicole Prause are currently working on a brain stimulation headset that would provide sexual motivation. This is an intriguing idea in that Prause sees specific potential in this device for women whose sexual response is less-often associated with physiological or visual stimulation. This type of research is particularly intriguing moving forward because it centers arousal in the brain, as opposed to a physical reaction. Far too often, treatment and society focus on getting a better physical response to increase sexual interest. Gotta start at the top, folks.
On Porpoise...or Not?
Will future sexy generations continue to buy sex toys shaped like whimsical animals? I will readily admit that I did not understand why we were fucking rabbits and dolphins and what not. I just thought it was manufacturers being kinda ridiculous ... and then it caught on. I was not aware enough to understand that there is a greater history there. Some will point to vibrators being animal-shaped as a way to make them acceptable; rather than a big, honkin' dong, you can reach for a cute, cuddly creature. At the same time, the ubiquitous rabbit design was conceived in Japan to hide the fact it was a sex toy. The problem is, if you can’t shape it like something that a woman uses for sexual pleasure, are you effectively, denying women’s sexuality? Will sex, especially for women, be so hard in 2062?
Making a Difference
Maybe a little look to the past will give us a glimpse into the future. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to reading the recently released"Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed The Business of Pleasure" by the incomparable Lynn Comella. It could easily be argued that vibrators and toys are the original sex tech and the impact small, feminist shops had on advancing body-safe products for our pleasure has been tremendous. The use of phthalates was becoming widespread in a manufacturing realm where there was no regulation, so these people made big changes. Big props to the past and present that are giving us a sexy future.
NO WAY AI!
Every depiction of the future tells us that artificial intelligence is going to be an integral part of our lives. Talking cars, talking houses ... talking sex toys? I don’t know, but I wonder just how much we want AI to think. Take this study about sexual orientation. It found that an algorithm can determine whether a person is gay or straight just by analyzing a photograph. It is accurate 81% of the time for men and 74% for women. Even if these results are verifiable as true, does this not scare the crap out of anyone else? It was not that long ago that queer folks were rounded up and murdered. What would happen if a despot with distinct homophobic leanings came to power and this algorithm were applied to every driver’s license photo in the country? This is a frightening example of where I want tech out of my sex life.
Rebooting Sex Robots
I’ll make a bold prediction that 99% of sex robots and dolls already on market, being developed, and those that are just a twinkle in someone’s genitals are female-bodied. That guess might be low, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. A piece that appeared in Glamour this past week asks why sex robots tend to be female. Now, the idea of sex robots and dolls is not a bad one at all, if you take it at its most genuine base. They are just a device to have sex with. However, the vast majority of these products come out of the minds of men who, unfortunately, have had a distinctly dark sense of sexuality ingrained in them. Do men really want sex dolls and robots to be passive, to be the quiet takers of whatever the man wants? Sadly, for some, yes, that is likely the case. But what can be done? Can the sex robot toothpaste be put back in the tube? Can regulations be brought into place? If not, 2062 might be a frightening place.
Steve Jobs, What Have You Done?
Finally, I gotta say that I am moderately confused by this fella who seems to object to gay folks getting preferential marriage treatment by wanting to marry his Macbook. Doesn’t he remember that the Mac is a pretty hot guy? Sorry dude, that future ain’t here yet.
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.