How Sex Tech Will Change Sex And Intimacy: For Better Or Worse

A man interacting with his virtual girlfriend with VR and IR.

A few years ago, the most you got out of your average, run-of-the-mill sex toy was poor to middling vibrating. Or maybe, if you were lucky, mediocre oscillations as well.

Oh, how things have changed! Nowadays, sex tech industry researchers, designers, and manufacturers regularly push the limits of how technology can enhance human sexuality.

It’s a Brave New World of pleasure tech, from virtual reality to interactive toys, artificially intelligent dolls, to devices that were once a futuristic fantasy but are now only a year or two away.

But this seemingly constant innovation can be more than a little confusing or, if you know something about it, rather intimidating.

To clear things up and put a friendly face on these new technologies, let’s look at what they are, the companies leading the way, how their products might improve your sex life, and how you can try them out for yourself.

What Is Sex Tech?

Fundamentally, sex tech is precisely that: using science and engineering to build devices to potentially improve, augment, or, as everyone likes, something different now and again, offer new sexual opportunities.

It includes technology designed to interact with explicit videos and adult games, letting couples share sexual pleasure over long distances to virtual reality sex for thoroughly immersive erotic experiences.

These are merely some notable examples of sex tech, as it can also refer to formulating better condoms, lubes, or methods of birth control, men’s wellness products, all the way to building the end-all, be-all dating app.

But for our purposes, I’m going to limit our guide to the following enticing and quite arousing aspects of sex tech.


Types Of Sex Tech

VR Sex

You’ve probably heard about virtual reality, but what precisely is it? The good news is that it’s not an especially difficult concept to understand. Simply mount a pair of tiny screens for each eye in a wearable headset that monitors your head movements.

When done correctly, VR is incredibly immersive, especially with a set of controllers to interact with things or people. It can be challenging to tell a virtual simulation from reality.

A man watching VR content wearing a headset

No big surprise watching porn was what people initially thought to use virtual reality for. And, like how the adult entertainment industry played a huge role in popularizing VHS tapes, DVDs, and the Internet, so too have they taken VR porn from fringe technology to mainstream popularity and even as an ethical porn platform.

Lilly Sparks is taking the lead with Afterglow Original Films, creating female VR porn that, as she says, “that’s good for you.”

The good news is in addition to Afterglow, there are loads of other adult entertainment and virtual reality sites to enjoy.

Sites like:

To find out why everyone’s talking about VR, you must buy a suitable headset. Fortunately, if you’re tight on cash and have a smartphone, you can have a taste. All it’ll cost you is a few bucks to purchase a plastic one to insert your phone into.

To really experience virtual reality, you need to spend a lot of money on a top-tier headset and a computer suitably beefy enough to handle it.

VR headsets such as the HTC Vive Pro 2 or the Vive XR Elite, and if you want to go all the way technology-wise, the Valve Index is the best of the best.

Between very cheap and very pricey, there are headsets like Sony PlayStation’s VR rig. For one that doesn’t require a separate computer while delivering impressive visuals, there’s the Oculus Quest 2.

Whichever VR headset you get, the virtual reality branch of sex tech is amazing to visit, offering a boundless universe of adult videos and VR porn games to immerse yourself in.

AI Sex Dolls

Like how we used to have vibrate and nothing-but-vibrate devices, we were also stuck with laughably cruddy dolls. Intended more for crude jokes than actual pleasure, they tended to fail at both.

Then along came Matt McMullen, credited for making them laughable and jaw-droppingly impressive.

How so? Well, beginning in 1996, when he produced his first early prototypes, to today, as co-owner of RealDoll, he continues to steadily improve their designs, materials, construction methods, and even how to give their plastic playmates a mind of their own.

Man hugging a sex doll

And RealDoll is far from alone in building better AI sex dolls. It seems like nearly every year or so, another manufacturer appears who’s found a new technique for making extremely lifelike ones.

For example, here’s a sampling of who’s making this new generation of sexbots:

  • SexDolls. An amazing array of shapes, sizes, and erotic opportunities.
  • Sexy Real Sex Dolls. A doll for everyone and every erotic interest.
  • Joy Love Dolls. It’s a place for high-tech sex toys as well as sexbots.
  • Asexdoll. Affordable, high-quality dolls.

But RealDolls remains the pinnacle for merging superbly-engineered dolls with artificial intelligence. When equipped with a Harmony head running their X-Mode software, their sexbots can smile, wink, blink, and—are you sitting down?—even carry on a conversation.

The system remains a work in process and is expensive. Still, given enough time and RealDoll’s passionate dedication to pushing the technology forward, we’ll soon be hard-pressed to tell them apart from the real thing.


Want not just to see but feel a porn video? Searching for ways you and your far-away partner can remain intimate? Looking for a new sexual experience?

Your answer might lie in the burgeoning field of teledildonics (long-distance sex tech): the science of wirelessly connecting sophisticated and astoundingly versatile sexual devices to uniquely coded adult entertainment sites and erotic games and allowing users to enjoy long-distance interactive play.

It’s seriously mind-boggling how far teledildonics has come.

For instance, rather than jumping through all sorts of technological hurdles, usually resulting in more headaches than sexual enjoyment, you can link any of them to their smartphone app in a few seconds.

Description how long distance vibrators are working

There are also fewer weird novelties and far more FDA-registered sex health products designed with female physiology in mind to promote good sexual values and a healthy attitude towards women and their pleasure.

It’s also seeing a new brand of companies with female founders competing in what used to be a male-dominated space. Using their knowledge of sexual medicine, female sexuality, and women’s health expertise, they’ve taken the sextech industry by storm.

Not that it hasn’t been easy, considering the long history of bias against pleasure-based technology and one sexual health-based manufacturing company in particular.

Being Lora Haddock DiCarlo, who challenged the Consumer Electronics Show back in 2018 after being told she’d received an innovation award in their Wellness Exhibitor Category for her Osé female pleasure device, developed in part by Oregon State University’s Robotics engineers, only to have it unceremoniously withdrawn.

The resulting backlash not only had her re-awarded but forced CES to reevaluate its systemic stigmatization of sexual health-related products.

Aside from Lora DiCarlo, many other women-owned sex tech companies, such as Anna Lee, co-founder of Lioness, who grew up, as she puts it, “in an immigrant Korean household,” and their biofeedback vibrator.

Or products by Dame’s co-founder and sexologist Alexandra Fine and Heather Morrison at Handi.

Not to mention MYHIXEL’s CEO and founder, Patricia López, whose first line of premature ejaculation therapeutic products was certified by (AEMPS), the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.

When it comes to teledildonic play, the two leading manufacturers are Kiiroo and Lovense.

The key difference between them is products made by Kiiroo use their Feel Connect 3 smartphone app to control what they do and how fast they do it and link their actions to porn videos, games, and other Feel Connect 3-supported toys.

Kiiroo Keon

Here’s a brief selection of their supported toys:

  • Keon. An automatic stroker with detachable sleeves.
  • Pearl3. A G-spot vibrator for women.
  • Titan. An interactive vibrator for men that mimics human lips.
  • Cliona. A clit-centric stimulator.

Lovense, the other pioneering brand, has its own app, Lovense Remote. Unlike the Feel Connect 3, it has a desktop version available for PCs or Macintosh computers.

Ferri, Moxie, Esca 2, and Lush 3

Some of Lovense’s sex toys include:

  • Max2. A premier device for male masturbation.
  • Lovense Dolce. A blended orgasm vibrator for women.
  • Gush. A handsfree glans massager.
  • Nora. It’s their version of the classic rabbit vibrator.

If I had to choose between the two, I’d say Lovense comes out ahead in terms of how easy its app is to set up and the number of teledildonic features it offers.

  • The Lovense Remote lets users make their own vibration patterns and then play them back whenever they wish. It’s also easy to engage in long-distance pleasure play with someone using their own Lovense sex toy.
  • If it’s interactive adult entertainment you’re interested in, the number Feel Connect 3 supports more sites than the Lovense Remote app does.

Screenshots from the app

Not to say there aren’t fantastic places where you can feel the heat, porn-wise with Lovense toys, just not as many as Kiiroo supports.

In either case, Lovense and Kiiroo are worth checking out. Their virtual reality sex toys are very well-made and excellently engineered, and they demonstrate how far this technology has come and what it might be like in the future.

Haptic Technology

Another place where sex tech is heading is providing virtual reality users with the ability to touch and be touched.

So far, it remains a predominantly one-way experience except for smart toys like those I recently discussed.

But haptic technology is aiming above your belt, where you’ll wear a pair of specially-equipped gloves or a full-body suit someday. You’ll actually feel it when interfacing with someone or something in VR.

Man in haptic suit with his virtual girlfriend

Science fiction? Not really; while haptic technology used to be reserved for the pages of Amazing Stories, it is quickly becoming a practical reality.

Like how Ultraleap has already developed virtual reality interactive gloves or Teslasuit is working on their own full-body system.

So before you know it, you’ll be stepping from this reality to a completely virtual one. Since you can smell, taste, and especially touch everything there, you’ll be able to experience every imaginable sexual fantasy.

As well as offering physically disabled people with body or hand limitations the opportunity to fulfill their sexual needs and pleasure desires without pain or discomfort.


What Sex Tech is Available Today

In addition to an assortment of easily purchasable virtual reality rigs, a diverse range of high-tech sex doll manufacturers, and copious teledildonic products waiting, there are plenty of other sex tech products to try.

Remember Lovense? If you’ve ever wanted to visit a mysterious planet populated by randy aliens and your fellow humans and, though their smart toys have feelable sexual encounters with them, travel to Wild Life: a sprawling role-playing game where you can have otherworldly erotic adventures aplenty.

Likewise, there’s Sexemulator, a site for building and enjoying your virtual sexbot: an ideal way to explore their allure and perhaps introduce you to steamy thoughts about having a plastic lover of your own.


How To Use Sex Tech

In conjunction with groundbreaking developments in virtual reality, artificially intelligent sexbots, smart vibrators and massagers, and haptic technology, setting up and using these and other cool devices have also undergone a renaissance.

When sex tech was making its first tenuous steps from fantasy to reality, you had to be extremely well-versed in programming, engineering, and a host of other advanced skills to use it.

Thankfully, it’s no longer the case. While a few of the technologies I’ve listed here require more than a few trials and copious amounts of errors to get them to work, the lion’s share is wonderfully effortless.

Just look at the current new breed of teledildonic toys. Whether they’re from Kiiroo, Lovense, or any other companies producing them, connecting a smartphone app to a smart toy requires only installing smartphone software, signing up with the manufacturer, switching on your toy, and you’re ready to play!

Man Hugging His Virtual Girlfriend

Even VR has become a no-brainer. The Oculus Quest 2 is basically a glorified Android phone, so if you’re well-versed in how that particular smartphone operates, it will probably be a piece of virtual cake for you to handle using an Oculus Quest.

Likewise, for RealDoll’s Harmony sexdoll head, you can fine-tune your doll’s personality until you feel you’ve made your ideal artificial lover, compliments of their RealDoll X smartphone app.

So, if you’re nervous about delving into sex tech, rest assured there’ll likely be times when you’ll have to consult a manual or two. The process might be far easier than you might think.

Besides, most companies have FAQs, guides, and, in some cases, a real-life person you can talk to. If that doesn’t help, there are sites like Reddit chocked full of experts willing to lend a hand.

Regarding what to do with these and other sexuality-enhancing products, many support user-generated content to create your sexual experiences. Some offer guided masturbation and pleasure wellness exercises to control your sexual response cycle.

Unfortunately, some consider sex tech to be a controversial subject. But instead of listening to these self-proclaimed experts, check out Cindy Gallop and her healthy sex podcast for which pleasure devices are on the rise or just want a cool conversation starter.


The Companies In This Space

Aside from virtual reality porn sites like VR bangers, sexdoll manufacturer RealDoll, and teledildonic companies like Lovense and Kiiroo, the sex tech industry includes other, absolutely should be mentioned, developers as well.

Built with Kiiroo’s smart sex tech electronics, We-Vibe’s range of massagers, vibrators, and stimulators is great for long-distance, interactive fun.

We-Vibe Bond

Toys like these:

  • We-Vibe Chorus. A pair of integrated toys for couple play.
  • We-Vibe Moxie. A panty-attachable vibrator.
  • We-Vibe Bond. A smart cock ring.
  • We-Vibe Vector. An intelligent prostate massager.

Sexbots, too, aren’t limited to the companies I’ve mentioned. One example is Silicon Wives, which is considered a leading contender for a top ten manufacturer, and YourDoll.

What I’m getting at is if you’re interested in all this, don’t automatically assume it’s limited to the manufacturers I’ve talked about.

Arguably more than any other industry, sex tech is continually expanding in the number of companies working in it and the huge array of technologies they’re developing.

In other words, things are moving fast, with new products, processes, and designs appearing practically every day.

This makes enthusiasts like myself wonder where it will go from here.


What Does The Future Looks Like?

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! As a science fiction fan and writer, I’ve naturally pondered what sex tech could bring us next.

Beyond innovations in haptic technology granting us smellable, tasteable, and feelable virtual reality porn and truly intelligent, ambulatory sexbots, I think we’ll see at least two uniquely different breakthroughs in the coming years.

The first is augmented reality. While the VR variety is all about total immersiveness, completely replacing our everyday world with an artificial one, AR combines the real with the virtual.

So, instead of a pair of screens mounted in a headset, AR projects images onto regular, transparent lenses or directly onto your eyes. Hence, when you look at a person, place, or thing, you’ll see a computerized overlay.

What this overlay shows is up to you but might include a lifelike image of a digitized lover standing next to you or the sexual interests and potential availability of someone you see on the street. Unless they choose not to make this sort of information public, as with your AR glasses, what they see or share is up to them.

Think about how this would utterly change adult entertainment and dating. By mixing the real and the unreal right before your eyes, virtual porn would be amazingly immersive. Dating would be a breeze: one glance and, bingo, you’ve met your pleasurable match.

The second game-changer is less of a single development and more about what happens when these and other sexual technologies combine.

Specialized sexbots designed for virtual reality? Teledildonic hardware coupled with haptic tech? Artificially intelligent vibrators or massagers? Neurochemically enhanced birth control devices?

Farther out, why not use VR and AR, with advanced artificial intelligence lending a hand, as part of a cognitive behavioral therapy program to aid you in overcoming male sexual concerns like erectile dysfunction, coping with certain physical disabilities, and encouraging good sexual behavior and promoting consent?

And what happens to gender and orientation when you can virtually transform into anyone or anything you desire and perhaps, discover who you truly are? Will these innovative products be the end of gender bias or sexual intolerance?

Who knows? But what is sure is sex tech has improved the sexual health lives of a good percentage of the global population—and, in the future, could even help us become better people.


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