The Future of Sex Manifesto
Sex is being transformed by technology. Like all other changes, there are massive opportunities as well as potential downsides.
The two major publications globally in the space, FutureofSex.net and FutureofSex.org (see below for details), have joined forces to establish the Campaign for a Positive Future of Sex. The mission of the campaign is to support a positive approach to the evolving future of sex, promoting attitudes and approaches that result in technology enhancing our sexual expression, rather than eroding its quality.
For example, sex robots with artificial intelligence could act as teachers and therapists, helping us better understand and explore our sexual identities in ways that may ultimately bring us closer to ourselves and in turn make us better lovers and companions to human partners. Or, as some fear, they could further isolate lonely individuals and damage human relationships by reinforcing unrealistic/harmful sex and gender stereotypes.
The trajectory of our sexual future is not yet set. We are situated at a unique time in history when we can still have the necessary discussions to steer humanity in a direction in which technology facilitates human fulfillment and expression. Before rapid technological change exceeds our grasp, let us work to set ourselves on a path to realizing our full potential so that we can create a better, more human world.
We believe that…
Sexual technologies should complement and enhance human sexuality, not supplant it
Sexuality is at the center of our humanity, as the most powerful expression of our relationships with other people. Sexual technologies need to be designed to enhance the humanity of our sexuality in part by placing a higher emphasis on innovations that enable a greater sense of connection and understanding of others and ourselves. In the same vein, it’s crucial to acknowledge and respect that human sexuality is diverse and includes individuals and groups who prefer solitary or non-mainstream forms of sexual expression.
We need inclusive forums to consider and discuss the ethics of sexual technologies
The power of technologies to transform our sexuality is immense. As a society, we must strive to hold productive discussions on the often difficult and polarizing topics concerning the ethical use and development of sexual technologies. To allow for the most positive possible outcomes, we need to acknowledge that new ethical dilemmas will likely emerge and be prepared to engage with new ideas. If such discussions are to be productive, they must occur in both physical and virtual locations accessible to people of various backgrounds, abilities, and sexual orientations.
Everyone should have full ability for sexual expression and fulfillment
Technological advances tend to benefit the people who create them, who are often individuals in positions of power and privilege. Innovation must acknowledge the experiences of diverse groups and works to close the gap between the most advantaged and marginalized communities. This includes empowering different groups by allowing them access to the technological tools and knowledge necessary for them to create their own solutions and means of expression.
The language we use should promote a positive frame on sex
The language we use shapes how we think. In talking about sex and sexuality, we need to use language that respects any sexual choices or orientation that does not harm others. Every person has a right to sexual expression, and it has been proven that those who are able to express their sexuality are not only healthier but also kinder to others, leading to a better society.
Sexual technologies should take into account emotional needs
While sex is a physical act, it often involves the expression of strong feelings and facilitates emotional bonds between human beings. Technology focusing solely on the physical aspects of sex wouldn’t simply ignore the full potential of human sexual expression. It would also likely lead to unfulfilling and stifling sexual experiences, particularly in the long term.
Connected sexual devices must be designed security-first
Increasingly, sexual devices of all kinds are connected, pair with partners’ devices, access software, or capture and save private activity. The personal nature of this information and the physical engagement with devices means that technology designers must start with security as the foremost consideration. High safety standards, including the use of body-safe materials, are essential. Safety must come first.
About the Campaign for a Positive Future of Sex
The Campaign for a Positive Future of Sex was established by the two leading publications globally on the future of sex, FutureofSex.net and FutureofSex.org, with support from many other participants in the space.
Established in 2011, FutureofSex.net explores how emerging technologies are expanding human sexuality, today and tomorrow. It provides deep, insightful coverage of the edge of sex technologies and possibilities, including sex robots, remote sex, immersive adult entertainment, human augmentation, and virtual sex. The publication is run by Ross Dawson, the site publisher and a leading futurist, and Editor Jenna Owsianik, who are both actively engaged with the global future of sex community.
Future of Sex is a top-rated podcast, hackathon organizer, and co-founder of the world’s first sextech accelerator, created by Bryony Cole, who speaks across the world, defining the direction of sextech for governments, technology, and entertainment companies. Her work has been featured in Wired, TechCrunch, The New York Times, Playboy, and many other global media.