In 2045, one in five young people will have sex with a robot regularly, studies say. Scientists like Dr. Ian Pearson goes even further and guarantees that, at this point, sexual intercourse between human and android (or gynoid, when they look like a woman) will be more frequent than between people.
Tomorrow’s sex will be more and more technological, but not only because humanoid dolls equipped with Artificial Intelligence will become popular. And they have sophisticated operating systems. We will also be able to caress our partner even if we are hundreds of kilometers away.
The sextech, the union between technology and sex, will allow us in just a decade or two to explore intimate universes that are still hard to imagine. If the ’70s of the 20th century brought new sexuality and challenged ingrained taboos, we are at the dawn of a much bigger revolution: one that will permeate our sheets, and once again with technology at the helm.
It is expected that in 20 years’ time, this market will be three times bigger than it is today and could multiply by seven by 2050. “We are about to witness the growth of digisexuals: people who have sex almost exclusively with machines,” according to Neil McArthur, a Canadian university professor with books dedicated to the subject.
In this context, we are likely to feel opposite emotions when viewing the fiery erotic scene between Theodor (Joaquin Phoenix) and the robot Samantha from the film Ela: a work that shows us significant doses of emotion, the loving relationship between a person and a system operational. With very intimate and sensual language, Theodor and Samantha say things like: “I want to touch your face, your breasts, your fingertips,” “Are you going to kiss me?”, Or “Can I taste you?”. Sometimes, we find it difficult to forget that Samantha has no feelings: she is just a very advanced machine. It was not the only film that eloquently portrayed the most likely scenario for future relationships between people and technology. Ex Machina: Artificial Instinct (2015), Inflatable Doll (2009), or a chapter in the Black Mirror series are other examples.
Although it seems only science fiction, recreations that follow this path already exist in the market. We witnessed the birth of robots designed for sexual practices, such as Harmony, the first erotic machine with Artificial Intelligence, presented in 2018 by Real Doll. It is a life-size doll that costs about 14,000 dollars, capable of speaking, memorizing your partner’s preferences, and performing sexual practices such as threesomes or whipping with whipping if that’s what we like. The same company recently launched Henry, its android version. Other examples are Emma, from the Chinese company AI-AI, or the complete doll Samantha, born of a Spanish mind: the nanotechnology specialist Sergi Santos. He confessed to having created this invention because his wife did not satisfy his sexual desires. Samantha also has the peculiarity of interrupting her functions if the other party behaves in an abusive way. Although this type of invention has many detractors and not a few opposing voices, there is no clear legislation that would allow it to be banned or set limits on these products in many countries.
The Future of Sex report, produced by several experts in the field, states that having sex with an ex will be a reality that will not take long to reach our lives. It will also be possible to recreate people from our surroundings, such as our ex-husband or wife. And choose not only the physique of our sexbot (sex robot) but also customize aspects such as its degree of shyness, sympathy, or sexual appetite. Once customized, it will be possible to have conversations with him, undertake joint activities as any other couple would do, and, of course, perform different sexual practices.
They are usually made of silicone, but science explores different materials that are increasingly similar to the touch of human skin. The dolls designed by Santos are constructed with thermoplastic elastomer: a component that gives the feeling of touching a real woman. These products have thermal sensors capable of reacting to touch, while Artificial Intelligence takes care of remembering and adapting to the user’s sexual preferences.
In Japan, for example, the number of people with virtual partners is increasing, which reminds us of Akihiko Kondo, who became famous all over the world for having married a hologram. Is there a relationship between the advancement of this technology and the danger of losing the natural connection with other people? Coincidence or not, Japan is one of the countries at the forefront of sexual digitalization and usually crowds the capacity of its virtual porn events. Still, it is also one of the nations where the age of first sexual intercourse is later: almost two out of four Japanese 30-year-olds are still virgins.
Smart’ sex toys.’
Robots are not the only intelligent sex toys that will transform sex life shortly. By 2035, most rooms in developed countries will have sex toys, usually for use in virtual reality environments.
Scientist Ian Pearson, one of the leading futurologists in this field, distinguishes three essential technologies that will impact the segment: Artificial Intelligence, robotics, and active skin technology. The latter “will cause microscopic devices to be inserted into human skin, very close to blood vessels and nerves, which will allow an external Artificial Intelligence to receive information about the person’s sexual responses, being able to register and reproduce sensations,” says this expert.
In the case of robots or androids, “they can use this technology to stimulate the nervous system directly, adjust their activities to the techniques or fantasies that the person likes most, with information based on an exact reaction in real-time, which will be much more effective than the intuition that people now use to try to understand what pleases their partner during sexual intercourse,” he adds. The expert is convinced that “after a few sessions in which the machine has learned and created a library of sensations about the user, having sex with a robot equipped with Artificial Intelligence will be much more rewarding than with any human being”.
In contrast to this statement, sexologist and psychologist Laura Morán says why she considers that these inventions will not replace humans in the medium term: “It is unlikely that a robot will be able to meet the erotic and affective demands that are so typical of people.”
Goodbye to physical barriers
One of the fields where further progress will be made is that of remote sex. People who have long-distance relationships today have a much easier time getting involved than couples from a decade or two ago. Now we can see and hear the other person in real-time, even having sex thanks to the products of teledildônica, as interactive intelligent vibrators or male masturbators that allow us to synchronize the exact movements of a video on the penis. There are also cushions capable of reproducing the partner’s heartbeat or devices such as Le Kissenger, capable of bringing the kiss of our beloved or loved one closer to our lips, even if he is on the other side of the world.
However, soon, molding ourselves to it will be almost old-fashioned: sexual devices so advanced that they will make us feel our partner’s caresses 100% remotely, and printers that will allow us to reproduce from our home are already developing. Your private parts in 3D to feel them with us all the time. And there will also be haptic outfits that will make us feel all kinds of erotic impulses in any erogenous area of the body. Sexting also makes a turn of 360 degrees: apps and social networks will not only serve to share content or meet people, but it will also be possible to maintain 100% of sexual intercourse within the software itself. This will be done because the devices will transmit images and sound as now and reproduce in the brain the illusion of sharing aromas and caresses, temperature variations, or different levels of strength, with the contribution of disciplines such as neuroscience.
Innovations in virtual reality will allow you to recreate interactive erotic scenarios, participate in online sex games with multiple participants or create sexual avatars. It will be possible to have sex ultimately à la carte: choose the place where we want the meeting to occur, the physical characteristics, the voice, the clothes, even the personality or sexual positions that we want our partners to adopt. Holograms are expected to improve dramatically in the coming years. In other words, the line between real and virtual sex is doomed to disappear.
“There are only a few years to go before you can pay a porn star or someone else to offer us a virtual oral sex session that, thanks to a device specially designed for that purpose, provides the same physical sensation that you would have if the act were being practiced,” says sex therapist Bryony Cole.
Artificial Intelligence for bespoke pleasure
The sex of the future, according to the same report, will go through technologies that accurately measure our degree of satisfaction, discovering patterns in our sexual desire. A combination of Artificial Intelligence and sexual technology could have the ability to improve the quality of our orgasms significantly. Mechanical stimulation could give us more control over pleasure than humans. It will be possible to easily preconfigure each climax: determine the time we want to dedicate to happiness, the intensity until we cross this data with those of our partner or partners to have a much more pleasant sexual encounter as a result.
“The future of the sextech sector is linked to Artificial Intelligence, but also Big Data,” explains Patricia López, a specialist in male sexual well-being and CEO of Myhixel. “Both technologies will be used to predict behaviors, tastes, and patterns, and not only to obtain more pleasure but to guarantee us healthier and better quality sexual practices, through devices such as accelerometers, which we are already developing”. In other words, technology in the future will help us control problems like premature ejaculation, learn more about our body, and achieve personalized climaxes.
Augmented reality and immersive entertainment will also contribute to changing sexual relationships. Virtual scenarios in which each party can choose the temperature, the aroma of the environment, the music that helps him connect, and a series of factors tailored to result in an à la carte and highly creative sexual experience.
Although there are already vaginas and penises created in laboratories and wearables capable of measuring the speed and number of repetitions during sexual intercourse, the strength of the impulse, and some metrics related to satisfaction, we will have, in no more than two decades, devices that measure much more reliable and that can challenge the current limits of pleasure.
“The sex of the future will be highly gamified, and that puts us at the risk of creating more and more standards around what intimate satisfaction should be like and asking ourselves to what extent technology can dehumanize sexuality,” says Laura Morán.
The Future of Sex report also predicts the evolution of a type of software that, with the help of neural hearing aids, will be able to match us to people with similar brain patterns. In this way, technology will be in charge of locating a kind of “ideal sexual partner” to guarantee personal quality relationships (there are already biotechnological projects that propose something similar, such as uBiome). There is even talk of a specialized layer of the Internet of Things: the Sexnet of Things, in which everything will be connected, including the way we make love.
What seems out of the question is that the sextech business will gain in volume and popularity, and more and more people are willing to get the technology into their room as one more. Ultimately, advocates argue, this type of encounter avoids unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, increases personal security, and allows for relationships without the need for physical contact (ideal in times of pandemic). It is also intended for therapeutic purposes and is an excellent solution for isolated people for different reasons or decide not to have a partner.
But this change in the way of relating also brings with it new ethical, moral and legal debates, which lead us to ask ourselves where are the limits of people’s intimacy and privacy, as well as containing dangers such as a possible increase in addiction to sex or decreased emotional connection with other people. Zoltan Istvan, a transhumanist who was a candidate for Donald Trump’s succession in the White House, has already warned: “If scientists can reproduce orgasms and caresses in erogenous spots in the brain, using only helmets or chips, we could be facing the principle of the end of sex as we know it today.”
Will tomorrow’s sex change so much? Should we be alarmed when we find that millennials, the digital generation, are also the ones who have more petite sex with other people than their predecessors? If there is one thing that all experts agree on, however, it is this: a post-Satisfyer civilization will not conceive of sex without having machines present, in one way or another.
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