Virtual reality offers new and controversial avenues for exploring sexuality.
The adult entertainment company VR Bangers [NSFW] recently launched a marketing campaign promoting the use of a virtual reality headset to supposedly “cheat” on your spouse while you are having sex with them.
The YouTube video description pretty much spells it out: “Ever wonder what it feels like to be in bed with a Hot porn star or cheat on your wife/girlfriend without cheating? Well, wonder no more! We have the answer for you!”
The video features a man tired of having sex with his wife, who is depicted as heavyset and with a bag over her head. His solution? For him to wear a VR headset so, to him, he’ll be seeing an adult performer of his choosing instead of his wife.
A joke or serious innovation?
While supposedly humorous, the video’s obvious misogyny generates more winces than laughter. Yet it does bring up some interesting ideas about the use of virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) when combined with a partner.
In fact, our Future of Sex Report had already mentioned this as a coming development. Under the section on human augmentation, we predict that AR will, “Make your partner look like your celebrity crush or enhance their appearance while you are having sex with digital overlay technology.”
Seeing what it’s all about
While VR Bangers is supporting this same idea with a less-than-clever marketing gimmick, the concept remains intriguing. Emerging technology will soon allow someone to wear either a totally immersive virtual reality rig or an augmented reality one to add to a couple’s sexual experience.
The headsets could superimpose a digital image over existing reality, which could include your partner’s physical body, while you get busy between the sheets. This could offer a realistic illusion of being with a totally different person‚or even something not at all human.
Putting aside the whole idea of “cheating”—since it seems near-impossible to be unfaithful while carrying out an activity both participants consent to— let’s play with some of these erotic possibilities.
A world of visual possibilities
One of the first that comes to mind goes back to the “even something not at all human” I mentioned earlier
Using VR or AR rigs, it would be possible for your partner to wear the features, or even the body, of anything from a chromed, robot-like form (for technosexuals) to an anthropomorphic animal (for furry fans). In fact, if both partners are wearing rigs it would be possible for them to see, and be seen, as anything they desire.
There could even be a form of romantic application: the ability to recreate how each partner looked in the past, as well as how they might look in the future as a way of easing into the visual realities of aging.
The erotic possibilities are pretty obvious, but there’s also the idea of using visually enhanced sex therapeutically. By altering the image each person sees, it could be possible to experiment with new orientations, body types, or even genders. It could also be a useful tool to help those with anxiety during sex by increasing or decreasing the amount of visual information received, especially coupled with a skilled partner.
Then there are the social aspects of enhanced vision during sex. What happens to prejudice when everything about your partner’s appearance can be altered? The same is true in reverse: with the ability to look down during sex and see an entirely different person, how might that open your eyes?
The future within sight
While it’s a little disappointing that the VR Bangers’ video has been many people’s introduction to the concept of visually enhanced sex, it is still encouraging to see it at least being discussed.
Not to sound too flippant about a technology that could very well be a huge blessing and add a lot of fun to human sexuality, but we’ll all just have to wait for its real impact: we’ll have to see, with or without enhancement, where all this might lead.
Image source: VR Bangers, Maurizio Pesce, re:publica