The Close and Evolving Relationship between Sex and Technology
How does tech affect human sexuality? Or is it the other way around?
We're commonly reminded about how sex drives changes in technology, and vice versa. One popular, yet debated theory is that VHS beat out Betamax in the videotape wars because it supported erotic movies, while Betamax refused to license adult filmmakers.
The mass advent of automobiles in the 1920s is also credited for a rise in teenage sex, thanks to the privacy of the backseat.
At our Future of Sex Meetup in Sydney last year, Catharine Lumby, a media scholar from Macquarie University, added to the discussion about sex and technology’s tight connection.
Watch the video below as she speaks about another way transportation influenced how people have sex, and the sexual seeds that helped launch the Internet. The transcript is posted below.
“One of my favorite books is a book by Flaubert called the Dictionary of Received Ideas, which was written in the nineteenth century. But if you read it now, it's still funny. Basically, it's a dictionary of things that middle-class people say, which are received ideas, bourgeois notions. One of them is about the train, which I reckon is a technology related to sex. The entry under it is, “Monsieur, only yesterday I was in Lyon and then I am now in Paris”—this sort of boasting about being ahead of the curve on technology. But of course, we know that one of the first things people did with trains was have dirty weekends.
“If you look at any technology that's been invented, pretty much sex is in there really early. We know that porn's partly funded the Internet… It's really interesting that human sexuality, like all humanity, does evolve in relation to technology, but we're not technologically determined.”
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