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Practical Techie: ‘Virtual Eros,’ high tech proposes to enhance love lives

The web does have its marvels, including sites, apps, and content to ease one of humanity’s oldest afflictions: loneliness. Including the social, cultural, and love types.

Already there are robotic assistants for the disabled. They keep the bedridden awake for medicine time, keep a record of their medications, assist in monitoring their vitals, and shortly, will transport the patient to their medical appointments in autonomous vehicles.

For cultural assistance, it is estimated that the web offers 1.5 billion pages with content for those that feel desolate for lack of enough interesting subject matter to pique their intellect. In the order of communal interaction, there are thousands of social media platforms to exchange friendship, renew family ties or explore virtual affairs.

In that sense, everyday technology transforms even our love lives. What began as candid meetings and playful messages flirting across desktop screens during the early 1990s quickly escalated into dating pages or real-time virtual hardcore interactions of our day.  

TECHNO-SEX — New electronic products hit the marketplace every year, bringing digital intimacy ever closer to reality, or pushing the courting to even meaningful connections. It’s a happy turn of events — or bizarre ones — depending on the individual point of view. 

From here, it only gets sexier or scarier, depending again on each perspective. Experts predict that future generations will get friskier and daring with the help of virtual reality goggles, holograms, sensuous stimulation wear, and yes, erotic robots.

EMOTIVE — Many already think it’s time to draw a clear line separating human and machine connections. Others differ and call for more. In other words, bringing technology into our private sex lives can be a game-changer for many or too over the top for others. The debate is just starting but in the meantime, computer apps and devices for erotic gaming are fast becoming mainstream.

Many web innovators say cybersex apps and tech toys are not just adult entertainment, but a new lifestyle, just as checking your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account hitting the sack is now routine. Online stores already sell an array of attachments to make virtual sex play more tangible and shareable. One person uses the toy on their body and a partner can control it from the same room or thousands of miles away.

Electronic sex toys are not new but are now increasingly being designed to require more human interaction. That is, to replace distance with greater emotional involvement between users. Thus, we spot a trend: evermore high-tech intervention in all aspects of human activity, including its sexual dimensions. For adults, only, of course.

MORALITY — Everyone has their theory about this new phenomenon of the digital life in our 21st century.

Erotic gaming technologies are not for all netizens. There will be those who see decay or moral deterioration. There are particular cases, however, for which it has its usefulness, its practical reason. A soldier abroad who wants to connect in some intimate way with his partner or his wife sees good use for cyber eroticism. They consider it a way to keep their intimacy alive, despite separation, physical distance, lack of real contact.

Others even argue that the use of electronic objects for the replay of physical love –including the use of sex robots — is a type of safe sex and although unnatural, at least perhaps less “sinful” than visits to a brothel. 

Some social scientists see other advantages. Scholars studying the future of human sexuality such as Laura Berman, author, and expert on human relations, believe that there will be fewer sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies in the coming decades.

“Virtual sex is the safest sex!” says Dr. Berman in her writings.

She predicts humans will be using stimulation costumes and erotic artifacts that could dramatically enhance the sex lives of people with disabilities. For people with particular fetishes, there will be sex robots, programable for any type of love affair. Of course, moral and religious groups will always consider that having sex with robots is depraved and unnatural.

However, new trends in cyber love are in full swing. What used to be phone sex is now virtual sex, literally, and not just simulated virtual sex, but active, interactive virtual sex.

But the news is not all good. Berman also warned against what she calls “the dark side” of high-tech sex.

“There will be people who almost prefer technology to the complexity of real emotions, the clutter of a human relationship, and those people could become more isolated,” she said. 

Still, there are many things that even then experts cannot predict. True “digital natives” could redefine the role of technology in sexuality in even more creative ways than then developers, as they have done with the social media platforms.

Obviously with more audacity than previous generations, like boomers with their stolen little kisses in the dark movie houses, or playful intimacies at the night of the senior prom. 

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.
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