Neurostimulation: Future Sex Toys Could Be Brain Implants

New sex devices may excite neural pleasure pathways directly.

We may experience sexual pleasure by directly stimulating the brain in the future.

The brain is at the center of all of our experiences, not the least of which is sexual pleasure.

Standard devices such as vibrators stimulate reward centers in the brain by exciting nerve endings in soft tissue. However, progress in neurostimulation, a medical technology that directly acts on brain cells, offers a way to bypass this system and create a new generation of sex devices.

Neurostimulation is already a valuable tool

Neurostimulation is already used in a variety of medical settings. For people who suffer from brain disorders, it can greatly improve their quality of life. The first step is to implant electrodes into the brain. These electrodes provide a local electrical current to stimulate certain brain cells, causing them to become active.

In people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the uncontrolled movements they suffer can become so severe they are disabling. This is due to uncontrolled activity in certain parts of the brain that govern movement. To regulate the firing of these brain cells, scientists apply neurostimulation devices. It has been extremely effective in restoring motor function and improvements can be seen instantly.

Could future sex toys be chips implanted in our brains?

In recent years, there has been talk about neurostimulation being used to heighten sexual pleasure. Dr. Tipu Aziz, a neurosurgeon and researcher at Oxford University, has spoken about this possibility.

Aziz speculates that an improved understanding of pleasure centers in the brain could pave the way for new sexual devices. For example, once we understand how we can generate a sexually pleasurable experience by exciting brain cells, a specially designed implant could create such enhanced feelings of arousal and pleasure.

Similar technology has already been trialled by Dr. Thomas Meloy in 2006, who is affiliated with the Forsyth Medical Center in North Carolina, US. He used what he calls Neurally Augmented Sexual Function (NASF) in female patients who suffered from a lack of sexual pleasure.

NASF is a type of neurostimulation device that excites cells in the spinal cord to achieve arousal and orgasm. Meloy used electrodes implanted in the spinal cords of 11 women. He found that 91% of these patients reported increased feelings of satisfaction and a higher rate of sexual activity.

However, researchers such as Dr. Kringelbach, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, argue that sexual pleasure is more complex than NASF makes it out to be. According to Kringelbach, sexual pleasure isn’t just about exciting parts of the brain. Rather the full experience of sexual pleasure could involve the complex interplay of several factors such as desire, learning, and motivation. A basic implant might not be enough to trigger climax in everyone, he suggests.

The development of an implantable device in the brain for arousal will depend on two factors. First, more research into the function of the brain’s pleasure pathways is needed to identify specific targets for stimulation. Also, a safe and reliable neurostimulation device still needs to be developed. While such a device is only theoretical at present, it is not unlikely that it could become a reality in the near future.

Although a neurostimulation implant that can offer instant pleasure may be desirable, there are potential risks. Replacing its battery is necessary and would require surgery, creating a risk of infection. There is also the possibility of electrodes being inserted incorrectly or dislodging, which could interfere with healthy brain function.

Cutting-edge technology and sex: together at last?

The use of neurostimulation for pleasure would open new vistas in sexual engineering. By directly stimulating the pleasure pathways in the brain, we could see an unimaginable level of hedonic enhancement. This could lead to exciting developments in sexual technology.

The coupling of such a device with sex toys or a sexual partner could create stronger and longer orgasms for both men and women. Even more exciting is how neurostimulation could be paired with developments in virtual reality.

Imagine an experience in which your senses are immersed in a virtual world. This experience could be synchronized with a neural device that excites your pleasure pathways at critical moments. This could result in a more immersive experience for the user. It’s a very exciting prospect.

Neurostimulation could also enhance remote sex. Remote-controlled technology delivers a new kind of internal stimulation, and one that could be remotely controlled the exact same way as smartphone-operated sex devices. Together, these gadgets could push the limits of pleasure.

Our understanding of the brain is developing along with our engineering abilities. It’s becoming possible to design and apply new devices for direct stimulation of the brain. They may not only help people suffering from brain disorders, but also augment how humans experience pleasure.

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  • advancedatheist

    This transhumanist nonsense about technological substitutes for sex has to stop – now.

    Young men need to get into sexual relationships with young women through dating – and they need these experiences for their healthy personal development. The skills a man acquires from sexual relationships don’t exist in isolation, but they play an integral role in his ability to deal with women competently in the rest of life.

    These skills even matter in your relationship with your mother, believe it or not. Many involuntarily celibate, adult virginal men (called “incels” on the internet) will tell you that their relationship with their parents deteriorated in their 20’s when the parents saw that their sons couldn’t attract women.

    And women these days seem inclined to evict more and more young men from having sexual relationships because women prefer to have their early experiences with the minority of bad boys, cads, jerks and thugs who appeal to female emotional immaturities. Women turn to the nerds for boyfriends and husband prospects later, reluctantly and without enthusiasm, because the math doesn’t work out for the kinds of men women prefer. Hence all the sexless marriages, female infidelity, cuckoldry and wife-instigated divorces we see in developed countries.

    Which assumes that women even bother with the nerds at all, when the modern welfare state and ridiculous make-work for women in government agencies and corporate HR departments remove the need for husbands as providers. The trend towards sexual eviction has progressed so far in Japan that reportedly a quarter of unmarried Japanese men in their 30’s have remained virgins, despite Japan’s proximity to other Asian countries with sex tourism industries. Japan has a funny way of living “20 minutes into the future,” so we should study what happens there to see sexual tends in other developed and developing countries.

    So why would anyone consider sex robots and similar technologies a good idea? It would just exacerbate the trend of creating an even bigger population of psychologically stunted adult virgin men who can’t function outside of their parents’ basements.

    No, responsible people need to call out this abomination and explain how badly it would damage men. The whole idea shows a real lack of respect for men by saying that they don’t deserve relationships with women and that they can’t do any better than to jerk off with machines.

    • Jenna Owsianik

      You make some great and valid points about healthy personal and relationship development. The article doesn’t mention it, but what about people with disabilities who have trouble finding sex partners and also pleasing themselves or their partners? These new technologies offer a lot of promise for people who are not able bodied, either in a relationship or not, and don’t have full use of their hands.