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Cory Silverberg

Of Mobile Hook Ups, Interactive Porn, and Teledildonics

By May 25, 2009

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Sex tech encompasses so many kinds of sexual activities and technologies that coming up with a long list of examples can be unwieldy and simplistic. If we only fetishize the technology or compartmentalize the sexual activity we miss an opportunity to see sexuality in a big picture way.

An alternative is to think about sex tech from the perspective of user intention, and categorize different examples of sex tech based on why we want to (or would want to) utilize sex tech.

Using Technology for Sexual Communications
This might include using text, IM, email, video or other technologies. These communications might be with a specific other or with the general public (for example, maintaining an anonymous or public sex blog where you present yourself and your sex life in a particular way).

Using Technology to Create Sexual Opportunities
An ever-increasing number of social networking services (for computers and mobile) are designed to make finding sexual partners and negotiating sexual interactions easier. By allowing people from around the world to connect based on sexual interests, many technologies facilitate sexual opportunities between people who previously would have been unlikely to find partners with matched interests. Technology also creates more solo sexual opportunities by allowing individuals to access sexual material in a safer, faster, easier way.

Using Technology for "In Real Life" Sexual Activities
Technology can do more than just help us make time for sex or find a sexual partner, tech has a role in both solo and partnered sex play. From the newest pharmaceutical drugs to programmable sex toys and special positioning devices, we use technology in our sex play to change enhance and support sexual pleasure.

Using Technology to Explore Sexual Identity and Orientation
The relative anonymity that technology affords us in communication has changed the way we can present ourselves to the world. It is relatively easy to develop alternate personas online and experience sexual interactions through a different orientation or identity than the one you have in your face-to-face interactions. Many people have long-term work and personal relationship with people they’ve never met in person and sometimes have never spoken with, reducing the power of impressions and stereotypes based on visual and audio cues. Virtual spaces that make use of avatars allow users to develop rich and meaningful identities that they can carry over into other parts of their lives, or not.

Technology for Sexual Education
Some people’s interest in sex tech is less personal and more professional and political. Sexuality educators have been relatively slow in adopting new technologies but this is changing. Sex:Tech is an annual conference that focuses on using technologies for sexual health education and the number of websites offering sex education for youth and adults continues to grow as does the adoption of social networking technologies for sex education purposes.

Technology for Sexual Entertainment
People may have finally come around to the realization that the Internet isn’t just for porn, but it’s still a popular way to find sexual entertainment. Viewing online pornography, playing sex video games visiting virtual strip clubs -- some people would also consider the virtual sex they have a form of entertainment (while for others virtual sex is tied to relationships and carries more meaning). The history of sex tech shows that whenever a new form of technology is introduced, people use it for sexual entertainment almost immediately.

Technology for Sexual/Reproductive Health
What we can do with new health/medical technologies has greatly expanded our reproductive options, and sex tech includes technology for fertility testing and treatment. In another area of sexual health, technology is being used to enhance treatments for sexual dysfunctions, though almost exclusively through pharmaceutical technologies. Unfortunately as sex researchers and therapists have also been slow in adopting new technologies, the use of sex tech to influence sexual dysfunctions and sexual pleasure through social, cognitive and behavior means has yet to be explored in any depth.

Keep reading…Examples of Sex Tech

Related – All About Sex Tech

Comments
June 2, 2009 at 12:40 am
(1) Mobile Porn says:

Interesting article. In never occured to me to categorize technology and the sex behind it. I am in the “Technology for Sexual Entertainment” category as I view porn on my mobile and iPod touch.

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