The line between pornography and prostitution is getting blurry.
More and more paid webcam models use interactive sex toys to excite viewers. Powered with haptic technology, these devices vibrate, grip and even mimic thrusting and sucking actions to match those of the adult performer. But instead of simply stirring up a customer’s libido, they are also raising legal questions about the future of sex.
While webcam shows are mostly unregulated, prostitution laws vary across nations. In countries like Australia and Canada, where swapping sex for money is not a criminal offence in itself (although each have differing governing rules), there are arguably fewer legal areas to examine.
The United States is another story. Apart from rural counties in Nevada, home of the famed Bunny Ranch brothel, prostitution is against the law. This is an ironic fact bearing in mind the country’s stake in the development and sale of haptic sex products and services.
Rights to one of the most popular cyber sex devices belong to the American company Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network. Its product the Realtouch [NSFW] acts as a robotic vagina capable of sending and receiving sensations from a dildo used by a performer.
And there is no need to fret if you don’t have a partner to test it out with. The Realtouch Interactive social network advertises webcam models who are happy to step in for a price. This takes webcam shows a step further by allowing the cam girl to stimulate viewers, not simply pleasure herself in front of them.
Similar devices are popping up around the globe. For example, the Dutch toy Kiiroo [NSFW] has male and female parts designed to connect long-distance partners and strangers online.
Hoping to gain from this surge in haptic sex products is FriXion, a site funded by Sentidel Financial Group in Miami, Florida. Its open platform allows members to use its devices as well as those belonging to third parties for arousing lovers over the web.
What does this mean for the future? Having sex is becoming less and less dependent on being in the same room as a person and now money is entering into the mix. For the makers of Kiiroo, who are based in sexually liberal Amsterdam where sex work is legal and regulated, avoiding criminal charges is almost a non-issue. But on the other side of the planet in 2007, a cam boy studio in Miami [NSFW] was charged for being located in a residential zone. This occurred despite the business claiming finances were handled offsite at the head office.
Watching how the law responds to advances in digital sex will be important and very revealing to track. It will show how either the legal system isn’t able to keep up with changes or that it perhaps views online sex as different or not as real as sex happening in person.
Do you think paid webcam sex shows using haptic sex toys should be counted as a form of prostitution?
Image source: Jay Aremac
Note: A correction has been made to clarify that FriXion users do not need to pay for access.