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Are Haptic Sex Toys Sparking a New Form of Prostitution?

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.

Pretty model blows kiss to camera

 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.

 

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  • Frixion.me

    Thanks for the mention! A heads up though, FriXion is a “freemium” site, not a “pay” or members only type experience. As long as a user owns any of the FriXion supported haptic devices they will be able to use them!

    • Jenna Owsianik

      Thank you for the clarification. I’ve updated the article to reflect that FriXion users do not need to pay to access the site.

      I also spoke with FriXion co-founder Seth (who may be you) to learn more about the platform and plans for the future. So I will write a more thorough article about FriXion soon that will better explore what you encompass as an adult social network.

    • Jenna Owsianik

      Thank you for the clarification. I’ve updated the article to
      reflect that FriXion users do not need to pay to access the site.

      I also spoke with FriXion co-founder Seth (who may be you)
      to learn more about the platform and plans for the future. So I will write a
      more thorough article about FriXion soon that will better explore what you
      encompass as an adult social network.

      • walk dont talk

        It is none of my business but neither Frixion, Kiroo, or Realtouch have the rights to the technology patent. All three of them are just wishing and hoping at this point or soon to be non existant.

        • Jenna Owsianik

          Well according to Seth, a FriXion co-founder, FriXion does have enough patents and licenses to operate the adult social platform. He told me FriXion is licensed for the patent belonging to Hassex, Inc., called “Method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks.”

          Since someone from FriXion is already on this thread, perhaps he or she would like to speak on this further.

          It’s true that AEBN discontinued sales of the RealTouch because of rising licensing and manufacturing costs. But, it still operates RealTouch Interactive, which connects people who already own the device with webcam models. At least that’s what the company told the media last November. http://www.xbiz.com/news/171409

          Kiiroo is facing challenges stemming from patent rights. I spoke to Kiiroo co-founder Toon Timmermans and he said the company is unable to sell their products in the United States as the company does not have rights to the Hassex, Inc., patent I mentioned above. He did seem optimistic that he would be able to work something out to get licensed. We’ll have to wait and see.

          Patent ownerships are definitely causing issues, though I’m not convinced they’ve completely halted companies working in haptic sex technology.

        • Frixion.me

          Much of the work put into FriXion centers around Intellectual Property. We are in a very strong position with patents and licensing allowing us to not only move forward ourselves, but to extend that umbrella of support to those third parties that develop their hardware and software experiences for the FriXion platform. It’s a huge incentive and everyone here, including the IP owners themselves, are very excited to finally see some big innovation in this space through the tools we’re making available.

          We’re not surprised to see this sentiment though, it perfectly illustrates the “old guard” mentality that has permeated this space for so long that has ultimately benefited no one.

          Seth does go into some more detail about this in other interviews and podcasts, you can check them out at:

          http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/370118,interview-frixion-and-the-future-of-connected-sex.aspx

          http://indienewsnow.com/inn/future-haptic-tech-talk-frixion/

          http://futureofsex.net/remote-sex/frixion-beta-invites-users-to-have-sex-with-robots/

          http://sexwithtimaree.com/2014/02/05/frixion-the-worlds-most-intimate-social-network/

  • David Arnold

    It never fails to amaze me how obsessed the media are with the regulation of sexual activity. Perhaps if a grown up attitude was shown (as has finally happened regarding the gay community) we wouldn’t have endless ridiculous laws over non-issues such as this one.