Grinding: Biohacking and the Future of Sex
Thoughts on where sexual self-modding might lead.
Body modification, “the deliberate altering of the human anatomy” (to use Wikipedia), has been around for a very, very, very long time.
How long? Well, let me introduce you to Ötzi, the remarkably well-preserved gentleman who, fortunately for us and unfortunately for him, died back in 3,000 BCE. Ötzi has taught researchers a lot about what life was back then, including the fact that people were “deliberate altering” themselves. In Ötzi’s case, it was via tattoos.
With the arrival of technological innovations like surgical plastics, safer medical techniques, implantable electronics, and a whole slew of other possibilities, it’s kind of natural that we’ve seen the birth, and growing popularity, of people interested in altering themselves—up to and including their own sexual components.
Grinding, biohacking, and the Lovetron9000
Grinders, to use their term, “practice functional extreme body modification in an effort to improve the human condition” (from Biohack.me). Among their modifications are the use of magnets in hands and fingers, granting a new type of sense; implanted RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tags to transmit information and even unlocking doors; and then there’s sex.
Rich Lee recently announced that he is planning to undergo surgery to implant his creation, the Lovetron9000: a tiny motorized device that, if successful, would allow Lee to stimulate his penis without the need for external equipment—beyond an induction system to charge it.
Speaking to Hugo Gray here at Future of Sex, Lee said, “Having sex with a cyborg will be great. Imagine sex, but with deep, unnatural, and stimulating vibrations. It’s like a vibrator and a boyfriend! The question is: will you ever be able to go back to having sex with non-cyborgs? Nope, you will no longer be satisfied by humans. Game over humans!”
Where could this all go?
While non-augmented humanity more than likely has a few more years to enjoy its standard equipment, the expanding interest—and, most of all, increasing safety—in sexual grinding can’t be denied.
And with this popularity will no doubt come greater, even casual acceptance. As Ryan O'Shea of Grindhouse Wetware put it to NPR: “I think once people realize, ‘Oh, it's OK that my grandma has a pacemaker'… people are going to start to accept this… the era of transhumanism, I would say, is here. So let's accept that and then see where that logically takes us.”
In that spirit, let’s rub our magical lamp of speculation and play with some concepts for grinding our bodies—specifically in regards to sexuality and eroticism.
A magnetic attraction
As already mentioned, an already pretty well-established mod is the implantation of magnets. Most have used them to gain a new kind of sense: the tug of the magnet reacting to metals as well as other attractors.
It’s fascinating to ponder the use of the same technique to place mini-magnets in parts other than, or in addition to, fingers. Why not place encapsulated magnets in the corona or head of a penis? There’s already an established body piercing called a Dydoe [NSFW]—so why not use a magnetic piece of jewelry that would be attracted, obviously at a low level, to magnets in hands, labia, lips, or other penises? More than likely this has already happened, either by accident or design. so please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
But there’s another magnetic form of sexual attraction to consider. Using unusual, though safe, forms of tattoo ink is becoming rather common. There are already inks that react to ultraviolet light and even some that are purely luminescent, so why not a ferrofluid tattoo?
Again, extensive research and testing would have to be done but the possibility is intriguing: the tattoo recipient could very easily have the experience of their genitals, or other body parts, being gently tugged by simply being in the presence of an implanted partner’s magnet.
Information is sex
Another already referenced grinder implant is a RFID chip. What’s interesting about this is that the chip can be used to transmit information, as with implanted pet tags, but it can also be a trigger for all sorts of electronic devices, from door locks to the operation of Rich Lee’s Lovetron9000.
Imagine the possibilities of being able to utilize a high-tech form of sexual BDSM control over a partner with an implanted sexual device. For example. perhaps only with a specific RFID key—in hand or maybe even in genitalia—could the Lovetron9000 activate.
There’s also the idea that another form of information implant could read another of its kind. Approach a possible playmate and you’d receive anything from a buzz from a sexual implant or even a text message that this person meets your pre-programmed erotic preferences. There’s even the possibility that we’ll be able to have thin-as-skin implantable LED displays very soon, as reported by Engadget.
For those interested in the Quantified Self branch of grinding, the exploring of the self through the acquisition of all kinds of personal data, having a sensor linked to everything from pulse to sexual arousal, could mean they could sync up with someone else similarly equipped. No more clumsy “you’re in the mood but I’m not” moments.
New genders for a new world
Possibly too large to address in this space, but too interesting to ignore, is the use of body modification to expand on what gender is and could be. We already have extremely advanced medical techniques available, allowing many people to become their preferred gender, so, as with grinders, it should also come as no surprise that people may not just change their gender but create new ones.
The term most commonly used is Postgenderism, and. while many surgical procedures really can’t be performed at the same level of the grinders’, it’s more than likely just a matter of time before humanity begins to really experiment with all the available options.Or perhaps with none at all, as in the case of nullification, the excising of body parts, including sexual ones.
Who owns you?
This raises a question society has been wrestling with since the days of Ötzi: do you own, and, therefore, have the right to alter your own body? Beyond the obvious need to prohibit dangerously unsafe practices, does anyone have the right to tell you what you can do to yourself?
As with many issues we are all facing, we can only hope that in the end we will all be granted the freedom, and wisdom, to become the person we feel we should be, or to be able to enhance ourselves mentally, physically, and, most of all sexually.