There will be sex with robots. There, I said it. If we’re going to talk about the future of sex, we may as well get that out of the way right up front.

But while robot sex is certainly a very sensational aspect of what the future of sex might look like, the thing that most people don’t realize is that there’s so much more to sex tech (yes, it’s a thing) than that. And, let’s face it, while sex robots are a bit a of a niche market (they currently cost as much as a new car), a lot of the other ground-breaking sex technologies emerging today are considerably more accessible.

So, robots aside, what will the future of sex look like? Here are a few things that are coming our way.

The Ability to Step Into Erotic Virtual Worlds

Only two or three years ago, sex toys that could be paired with virtual reality porn didn’t even exist. Now, it’s a growing sector in the sex toy market – and one with tons of interest. Sex toys and virtual reality are an obvious (and awesome) fit. People like porn. People masturbate to porn. Now, people can use sex toys that actually sync up with the porn they are watching to create a seamless pleasure experience. For example, combine a toy like the SenseMax SenseTube with a VR headset and an app, and you can set up and control the ultimate interactive fantasy.

Sensemax Sensetube

“Virtual reality porn has become much more immersive in the past few years – with advanced production techniques and green-screen technology being implemented, users are being transported to new environments and situations,” says René Pour, the found and CEO of Reality Lovers, a site that provides VR porn experiences.

“In the near future, we expect to see even more VR hardware and content advancements as well as widely adopted connected sex toys syncing with visuals to create a deeply immersive experience that you can see, and even feel and hear,” Pour said.

The Ability to Have Sex With Anyone Anywhere

Another emerging technology that’s getting better and better? Interactive sex toys. We’re talking about toys that you can use with a partner even when you’re miles apart. So, suppose that you and your partner are in a long-distance kind of situation. Sure, there’s phone sex or sexting. But now, there are also toys that you can touch and enjoy from where you are, and that will create corresponding sensations for your partner. It’s an interesting advancement when you think about it. After all, we often position technology as a force that drives us apart in our relationships. Products like this, however, can help to promote connection and intimacy. Plus, because this kind of remote play is so novel, it can be really sexy, intimate and fun!

The Ability to Track, Analyze & Optimize Our Sexual Habits

The ability to gather, store and analyze personal data is the future of, well, just about everything. You probably already track a number of things, such as the amount of sleep you get, how many steps you’ve taken or what you’ve eaten. Now, a number of technologies are emerging that are allowing us to track and enhance all sorts of different elements around our sex lives. There are toys that can track your pleasure experience as you use them and provide data that may help you improve your pleasure over time. There are apps that allow you to create vibrator settings that are all your own and even make playlists. There’s a “smart” condom, which helps track the quality and quantity of your sex life. There’s even an interactive wrist band for self-pleasure, which tracks the user’s stroking motion and syncs it to an interactive, VR world, one in which the wearer controls the characters, can change point of view, and can even help the characters reach a happy ending. Welcome to the future!

The Future of Sex: 4 Things We Are Likely to See (Along With Robots)

The Future of Sex: 4 Things We Are Likely to See (Along With Robots)
Above, the SenseMax SenseBand

Technology Will Help Us Learn More About Sex and Embrace Our Sex Lives

The media often portrays technology as a negative force in our sex lives. I’d argue that it’s quite the opposite. Sure, the internet exposes us to things we might not otherwise see, but it also helps many people find the thing they are looking for in their sex lives, whether it’s information, validation, products or erotic content. And, while high-tech sex toys and apps and virtual reality could be seen as adding another layer of technology between us and our partners (or even ourselves) we could also say that they’re adding a new avenue of sexual exploration, whether alone or with a partner.

“What matters is the experience technology provides to build intimacy with others and to help connect people with themselves,” says Liz Klinger, co-founder and CEO at Lioness Health.

“When you look back at what has resonated in the last 100 years, give or take, it's things like the rise of birth control (we can experience more pleasure and be more intimate without fear of pregnancy), video and online pornography (we can experience more pleasure through vivid fantasies), vibrators (we can experience more pleasure through consistent sensation), streaming video (we can interact and connect with models and get pleasure tailored to your own personal needs). Given what's stayed around in the past, in the future we'll see more innovations building the same sort of intimacy and self-awareness.”

In other words, what we want from sex – intimacy, pleasure, self-awareness – isn’t likely to ever change. What has changed are the avenues we use to get there – and how far we can go.