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The Future of Sex is Buried in the Sock Drawer

December 18, 2013, 12:00 AM
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The future of sex is here, or at least it could be, technically speaking. In an age when autonomous cars are trolling about Nevada Highways, bipedal robots are hobbling around research institutions, and octocopters take to the skies, it seems absurd that reliable teledildonics and other forms of robotic (or tech-enabled long distance) sex don’t exist. Sure, we’ve seen examples like Real Touch and surprisingly advanced tech for a very niche Japanese maid game, but the kind of objects that don’t live ashamedly in drawers and dungeons, but proudly in a prototypical home don’t quite exist. This is not a technological problem, but a social one. We’re not ready yet. America is not ready yet.

You would think that a country like ours, one so proudly monogamous, so invested in being faithful, one that fervently promotes family units, would also be invested in the idea of using technology to help maintain those values. But in spite of it all, sex toys can’t quite seem to shake their XXX truck stop image. For many, these toys remain blushed secrets, quarantined to the back of the nightstand. For others, the connection to pornography is so deep that owning any device would be unimaginable. 

That’s not to say things aren’t changing. Certainly in the 90s the Rabbit shook up norms, and more recently, ultra-designed toys from outfits like Jimmyjane have changed conceptions. In some circles, these have become luxury objects, but this is not a ubiquitous norm. 

Perhaps what has to change first is the conception regarding what is human and what is robotic. 

This will most likely evolve as wearable technology moves to ingestibles, along with new forms of prosthetics, and even future-forward methods of conception. Perhaps, when we’re unsure about whether or not we’re human or robotic, then we’ll be more comfortable with the idea of a sexual present that’s also technological. This may seem out there, but as medicine advances in step with tech, such philosophical questions will arise much faster we anticipate.

Ultimately though, what may be holding things back is the simple nature of the bedroom. That is, even in our age of sharing and selfies and a quick ascent towards lifelogging, the bedroom (and bathroom) remain surprisingly insulated from the rest of the world. We catch snippets of other’s experiences in passing conversation or maybe a fleeting Snapchat, but the majority of our understanding of sex is either mediated or remarkably private. Sex and bedroom norms are developed through one-on-one moments, a chain of them, and even the occasional ménage à trois. Sex is markedly individual, not communal. In other words, the way we share sexual cultural data looks a lot more linear than the way we might share food culture or fashion norms.

This means that where innovation and evolution in the sex world is concerned, there’s a notable lag when compared to mainstream tech. There will still be pornographic advancement and adoption of new ideas for pleasure and shock, but when it comes to the future living in the bedrooms of modest, middle-of-the-road Americans, we’ve still got a long way to go.

Nate Graham is a Cultural Strategist at sparks & honey, a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Follow us on Twitter at @sparksandhoney to stay up to date on the latest high energy trends.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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The Future of Sex is Buried...

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