A couple hold each other close.

How Will Augmented Reality Change Intimacy?

Navigating the endless sexual possibilities offered by AR.

A couple hold each other close.

The promise of merging augmented reality (AR) and sex is incredible. One day, if you wanted, it’s likely you’ll be able to enhance the physical appearance of your partner with the technology. Yours, too, for that matter.

If you wanted to invite your favorite adult performer into your hotel room, you could do that as well. In fact, VR porn studios are already working to bring this idea to life.

Augmented reality works by overlaying digital images into your physical world. While the field is still in its infancy, it offers the potential to project whatever you want to see right before your eyes, seamlessly blended into your environment.

Integrated with haptic technology, you’d also be able to feel what you see.

Google Glass was an early rendition AR tech. Microsoft HoloLens is a much-anticipated piece of headgear designed to immerse high-definitions holograms into your surroundings.

With all the choice that AR will offer, what will this mean for our intimate relationships? With SnapChat-like filters you could put over your lover or sex doll, or countless computer-generated holographic lovers you could pick from, how could this change how humans relate to one another sexually?

Sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer talks about AR in the video below. In it, she examines the technology’s probable role in creating an infinite selection of fantasies and its impact on intimacy. The full transcript is posted underneath.

I was thinking that there are many ways to have sex. There’s partnered sex and there’s solo sex. I think they’re both really important. You’re incorporating the idea of polysex with many people or I often think of pansexuality.

You could create a god or you could have sex with a flower or a boot. The possibilities for human creativity are just endless. You’d actually have some holographic boot that you were making love to that spoke like an alien in your ex-girlfriend’s voice. I mean, who knows? You could just create all sorts of fantasy.

But I think one of the important things to realize is that there’s an element of sex that is about the fantasy and what turns you on, and then there’s the element of sex that’s about intimate relating with someone that you care for, to whatever degree.

I think we need to be careful, I suppose, particularly for people that might struggle a little bit with relating with an individual, because that is particularly messy. It is actually harder to relate to your partner than it is to some hologram or a boot. Some people might go, “Well, she’s too much hard work. I’m going to stick with my boot.”

So I think it’s important and I know that’s what a lot of people fear when they talk about the future of technology, is that—not that I want to be rude about guys—but it tends to be the guys that are blamed for finding women too complex. So they’re just going to disappear into this fantasy world of augmented reality or holograms with boots and flowers and women with tits out here. They don’t have emotions and that just makes it all so much easier. I think there’s a place for all of that but we’ve got to look at how it all works and how it actually augments intimacy connection as well as just getting your rocks off with boots.

Image source: Robin Green