Predicting the Day Remote Sex Is As ‘Normal As Owning a Smartwatch’
What will it take to make teledildonics mainstream?
Demand for sex toys sky-rocketed during the pandemic and subsequently enforced lockdowns. It also drove up awareness about remote sex toys, often referred to as teledildonics, which can be controlled over long distances with a smartphone app.
Connecting with others via Bluetooth sex toys is easier than ever, thanks to better technology, more user-friendly app interfaces, and the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. Many remote sex toys also support virtual reality, virtual sex games, and interactive adult content.
Yet three years after the much-maligned teledildonics patent expired, long-distance sex toys are still not yet in the mainstream. Future of Sex spoke to three experts to get their take on what needs to happen for the technology to become more widely embraced by the public.
RenderMan, Founder of the Internet of Dongs Project
As it sits, most of the pieces needed are there already. The hardware
exists and is available widely and at a consumer-friendly price and is
getting better. The software is getting there in terms of usability and
security. The pandemic did a lot to make it more acceptable as partners
separated by lockdowns and closed borders wanted to find better ways to
stay intimate. Other than society suddenly giving up on its social
stigma's around sexual topics, What would push it into mainstream
acceptability is one of two things happening; Truly immersive tactile
feedback, or a positive mass media portrayal.
The first is about making it a compelling experience. Sex, and in
particular intimacy, is more than just about genitals. A warm breath on
a neck, a hand brushing down an arm, other sensory experiences
contribute to the experience. Until we have the ability to re-create
those experiences, the vast majority of society will view teledildonics
as mostly just more complicated masturbation. After the pandemic, I
expect there to be a lot more work in this direction.
The second is about people seeing a positive portrayal of teledildonics
as a way to stay intimate with your partner(s). Despite it's terribly
dangerous portrayal of BDSM, “Fifty Shades of Grey” did a lot to get
people to feel they could explore their kinks and fetishes who wouldn't
have ordinarily done so and a lot of people found it very freeing and
new enjoyment in it. A book, TV show or movie that depicted
teledildonics in a positive way (and not as a comedic device) that
enhanced the quality of a relationship would do a lot for bringing the
technology into the mainstream and making it acceptable to otherwise
Dema Tio, CEO and Co-founder of Vibease
We constantly improve Vibease to mimic the real sex as closely as possible. When remote control vibrators become more pleasurable, easy to use, and elegant, there will be more people willing to use them.
The biggest push to the mainstream market actually came from the unexpected pandemic. Because of the social distancing, many people initially thought the remote sex was weird. Now, they too look into remote sex as a way to have intimacy. People have no longer seen remote sex as adventurous or kinky, but it is a necessary product to build intimacy in this time. This is proven by a big increase in our sales compared to the previous years.
Dan Liu, CEO and Co-founder of Lovense
One of the main constraints is still the stigma surrounding the sex toy market. Many global promotion channels, such as full-fledged ads in search engines and social networks, are not available to us. In certain regions of the world, the sale of our products is prohibited. Of course, the increased demand for sex toys in recent years, and as a result, more attention to this category of products from the international media, are helping to destigmatize our industry. But, there is still a long way to go.
It is also very important to have proper education so that people understand that using sex toys is normal. This spring, we partnered with UCLA Sex education to provide our toys and services to university students. We are also currently in talks with a group of students from San Francisco State University to provide Lovense toys for an elective course on BDSM.
We see a positive change in the situation and are confident that soon, having a sex toy will be as normal as owning a smartwatch.
Image sources: Dainis Graveris