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Glossary

For a crash course in sex technology terms, browse the Future of Sex glossary below.

Androids are robots designed to look human. They are not to be confused with the mobile phone operating system.

Augmented reality is a live view of the physical world that is enhanced with computer input. This includes added sounds, information, video, and images.

BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism, and masochism.

Cybersex occurs when people exchange erotic messages over computer networks. Common cybersex hotspots are chat rooms and instant messaging systems. It can involve audio, video, text, and digital worlds.

Cyborgs are beings who are part organic and part machine. The term is short for cybernetic organism. Darth Vader is an infamous pop culture example.

Gynoids are robots that resemble real-life women.

Haptic sex toys are devices that use the sense of touch to send and receive motions that simulate in-person sex acts.

Human augmentation is using technology to improve what the human body is capable of doing. Implants and wearable computers are meant to push biological limits. Today, cochlear implants that help hearing are a common example.

Humanoids are objects and even robots that resemble human beings.

Immersive entertainment is technology that blends the physical world with virtual or simulated worlds created by computers. The point is to make users feel they are truly part of the action in a created environment.

A robosexual is someone who is primarily attracted to robots rather than biological humans.

Remote sex is sex between two or more people who are not in the same place, yet are connected through the Internet. People often use electronic sex toys to boost the experience and share pleasure.

The Singularity refers to a point in time when human life will be irreversibly changed by progress in artificial intelligence. When this happens the line between humans and robots will cease being clear. 

A technophile is someone who has a strong passion for new technologies.

A technosexual is someone who is sexually attracted to machines, especially robots. The term is a combination of the words technophile and sexual.

Teledildonics are electronic sex toys operated with computers or devices that use data. They transmit sensations through touch sensors to help long-distance partners arouse each other in real time. Ted Nelson coined the term “dildonics” in 1974, and Howard Rheingold added the prefix “tele” in the early 90s.

The uncanny valley is a term coined by robot scientist Masahiro Mori in 1970. The name refers to a point in development where robots appear very lifelike, but still do not look perfectly human. This creates a feeling of disgust or uncanniness in the viewer.

Virtual reality refers to 3D environments created by computers. People can use items equipped with sensors, such as helmets or special clothing, to interact with them in lifelike ways.

Virtual sex happens when people connect through communication devices and share sexual content. This includes typed messages as well as video and voice chats both online and over the phone. 3D worlds developed by computers are another popular place to engage in virtual sex by using avatars.