For many people, gone are the days of old-school dating. Sexnology is here to stay, and it's changing the way we see and have sex.
Is technology making our sex life better or worse? At this point, I don't really know how to answer that question anymore. There's a part of me that leans toward nostalgia and romanticizes doing things the "old-school" way: meeting people through mutual friends or the classic coffee shop meet-cute we see on romantic comedies. But there's another part of me that acknowledges that technology makes dating and sex easier, faster, and much more effective. Dating apps, for instance, gives us the ability to simplify and clarify our relationship status with acronyms like LTR (for long-term relationships), FWB (for friends with benefits), and DTF (for casual hookups). Swipe right if you're interested, and swipe left if they're not your type. This has changed everything from how much sex we have, to who we do it with, and what we like to do in bed. In many ways, technology provides us experiences and opportunities we wouldn't get without it, but it's also ushering a new and unpredictable sexual era.
Image by: @fabianabarredaart
When it comes to sexnology (or sextech) we picture colorful and oddly-shaped dildos, but it's actually much more than that. Apps were just the beginning of the sextech revolution. According to Future of Sex, a community, podcast, and platform about sex, “in the next five years, sextech will become a trillion dollar industry.” We are talking about virtual encounters, 3D-printed customized vibrators, and robotic sexual partners. Only a few years ago, technology had been a way for single people and and long-distance couples to find pleasure, but the new sextech is going way beyond what we'd imagined. For example, at the Second International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, a prototype named Kissenger was introduced. Originally, it only allowed for virtual licking and kissing, but it's most recent version allows long-distance couples to send each other an exact replica of a kiss with the help of skin-like materials and sensors.
How far are we going to get? Will there come a point where we start preferring robots over human beings? As I was saying before, dating apps completely revolutionized traditional dating with the simplification of sexual encounters. Before, there was a process with steps towards sharing intimacy with others. Nowadays, you just specify what you want on the dating app and someone with similar interests will get back to you for a casual hookup. Robots play a similar role. They save us the effort because they are just there to please us without the awkward talk or communication issues. And even though this might sound as something too far beyond our reality, it’s not. In 2018, at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), a sex doll with adaptable personality profiles called “Harmony” was presented by Realrobotix. The doll is customized to fit its users' needs with replaceable faces and body parts. The company specified the following about its system:
Harmony’s body can be equipped with sensors in different areas to allow her to feel your touch, as well as internal heating and self-lubrication that responds to the AI software.
Image by: @abyssrealdolls
People's attitudes on sexology and the rise of dating apps range from total refusal to full embrace. There are stories of couples who found love online, and the benefits of finding pleasure with sex toys that can even be shared with a partner. Yet, looking at the future of sextech and how it has changed our desires and even partners, raises many concerns. I don't think we should allow the sextech industry to consume us to the point that we replace a human face with a rubber one. With a real person, we can make an emotional connection, whereas robots are lifeless tools that might fulfill our deepest fantasies, but will never be able to feel human passion.
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