1. Health
Cory Silverberg

Real Touch: The Finger Review

By July 1, 2009

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Iím sitting on the edge of a bed in someone else's hotel room in Glendale, Arizona with my fingers knuckles deep inside Real Touch. Most of the time professional conferences donít start off for me in such a semi-clandestine way, but I came to Arizona to give a workshop on sex tech for the American Association for Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists annual conference and this was an invitation I couldnít refuse.

My tour guides for Real Touch are two of the team members from AEBN, the company behind what I think will probably be the first giant leap in consumer teledildonics (after years of many smaller and clumsier steps). At least thatís what my fingers are telling me.

What Real Touch offers is tactile stimulation to accompany visual erotic imagery. That imagery might be in the form of pre-produced pornography or, eventually, it could be a live web cam feed (courtesy of either a sexual partner or a sexual professional). You put the Real Touch over your penis (or your penis inside of Real Touch, depending on where you want to place sexual agency) and you watch something sexual. As you see something happening on screen you feel a surprisingly similar thing happening inside Real Touch.

Real Touch comes equipped with two soft rubber drive belts, four vibrating areas, a heating element and the ability to deliver lubricant on command. All of these elements are programmed by AEBN to work in concert with porn (if youíre interested in the details I recommend checking out the site, itís wonderfully easy to navigate and answers most of the questions youíll have directly).

My fingers took a test drive of Real Touch while watching a clip from an educational sex film. As you see people engaging in penetration you feel Real Touch moving up and down in time to the penetration. When the couple moves positions Real Touch also changes. As the action progresses my fingers feel warmer and wetter thanks to the heating and lubricating properties of Real Touch (one of my guides explained that the lube chamber can be programmed to release a little or a lot of lube, such that a scene with female ejaculation can be felt as a gush of warm lube in Real Touch). They have plans to develop a dildo like toy that a partner can use to control Real Touch. When one partner strokes the dildo up and down the movements, speed, and pressure will be felt inside Real Touch. Eventually they promise to make toys for other body parts too. But being a company that makes most of its money of male porn viewers they logically started with them.

After having Real Touch on my fingers for four or five minutes, my hosts opened it up and showed me the insides of the toy. While the construction was impressive I was amazed there wasnít more going on inside. It felt to my fingers as if there were 10 or 12 different things happening at once something that felt reminiscent of really great sex Iíve had. But the insides of Real Touch seemed orderly and logical (which is less reminiscent of really great sex Iíve had).

Not having fully tried Real Touch I still have questions and concerns. Right now Real Touch only works with video that the company has coded. So youíll have a choice of what to use it with, but the choice will be limited to the porn the manufacturers have chosen. What I really want to see is Real Touch that can be controlled by another user with another toy.

My major concern is actually from a programming perspective. I wonder about the people who are actually coding the videos and the folks who came up with what Real Touch can do. As long as everything is closed technology users will be relying on the sexual creativity and sophistication of those making the toys and coding the videos. I think this severely limits the experience. What Iíd hope for is for the company to come up with some way to let users code videos (their own or professionals) and ultimate for users to suggest other things for Real Touch to do.

Whatís exciting about technology is how putting it in the hands of millions of people can morph it in ways that the developers never would have imagined. Most sex tech is closed and takes a relatively antagonistic attitude toward users. Hereís hoping the makers of Real Touch have the vision not only to make a great teledilidonic toy, but also to change the sex toy industry model.

Learn More - Real Touch Website
(note: the first few pages of the site don't have any porn on them, it's easy to avoid, but not hard to find).

Related - All About Sex Tech

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Comments
July 1, 2009 at 6:40 am
(1) Industry Insider says:

This is not “new.” It is a less capable (Less functions,) More expensive, (You have to pay by the minute forever,) than the original invention, The Virtual Sex Machine. A Virtual Reality Sexual Simulation system that has been around for years.
Like any technology, there are always knock offs of an original product. The original product here, was The Virtual Sex Machine, which is still available, and recently upgraded to a new model.

July 1, 2009 at 8:51 am
(2) Roberto says:

The Real Touch has way more functions that the The Virtual Sex Machine, orifice changing sizes, the dual belt motion, the lub reservoir, the heating pad… i have tried both at the AVN show last January and i can tell you that the Real Touch does feel a million times better and more Real. Furthermore, it comes with a largest selection of movies.

July 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(3) qDot says:

Hey Cory! Nice to see you’re keeping ahead of me in the teledildonics news. :)

I’m happy to see that the RealTouch is staying in the press. After the silence following their AVN coverage, I thought they were dead in the water. However, they seem to be doing another marketing push lately, since I’ve seen 3 references to them in the last week alone.

What Iíd hope for is for the company to come up with some way to let users code videos (their own or professionals) and ultimate for users to suggest other things for Real Touch to do.

Hmmm. Who could possibly make that happen. If only there were some engineer out there…

Also: Eric, come on, just put your name on the “VSM r00ls u sux0rz” comments next time. It’s not like we don’t know it’s you. “Industry Insider” isn’t hiding anything. :)

July 1, 2009 at 12:57 pm
(4) Cory says:

@Eric: If you read my review more carefully you’ll note that I said that Real Touch was a significant step in consumer teledildonics. I don’t think they created the tech or the idea, but having met them, and knowing a bit about their business, I think they have the money, temperment, and capacity to create a sustained enough effort to make these products relatively affordable and supported. I completely agree with you that the element of having to pay for the porn while you watch the movie and use Real Touch is limiting (and expensive) and it was an oversight that I didn’t clarify that in my review, so thanks for pointing that one out. But I still maintain that what they’re doing, from a consumer perspective, is different and worth commenting on.

July 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm
(5) Cory says:

@qDot: you were the first person I told them about when I met them and hopefully when they get their first batch of product for sale and send me a review one they will follow my advice and send you one as well. Honestly I’d much rather if you were the benevolent dictator overseeing this, but since neither of us have that lucrative pay-per-minute porn technology funding our efforts we’ll have to wait and see.

But whenever I get a call from someone trying to develop this stuff I send them directly to Slashdong to see the attitude and approach they should be taking when developing teledildonics!

October 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm
(6) Kevin says:

Looks like the device is finally available for purchase.

October 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm
(7) Jack says:

This blog completely IGNORES CiTouch. They have had cybersex available for years. Their inexpensive device connects a Fleshlight or other stroker to one of many different sites or local games.

October 12, 2009 at 8:17 pm
(8) CORY says:

@Jack, thanks for mentioning this. I heard about CiTouch after reading this review on Slashdong. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the CiTouch or try it out, but having talked to folks who have used it, and seeing it on their site, I would still argue that Real Touch represents a categorical leap in terms of the underlying technology and the usability. But your comment reminds me that I should once again get back in touch with the folks at CiTouch.

October 28, 2009 at 12:59 am
(9) JimCrackCorn says:

Eric needs to quit discrediting the RealTouch at every chance he gets. It’s lame.

The Virtual Sex Machine is not great. The experiences suck (and not in a good way). It’s too expensive. Real Touch is leaps and bounds ahead of anything the Virtual Sex Machine is. Technologically, the RT is FAR superior.

The only thing that holds RT back is the pay per minute deal. Hopefully RT gets smart and starts putting out special DVD’s with multiple experiences that activate the Real Touch machine.

Eric… you need to update that awful-looking website that hasn’t been updated in like forever (the site looks like something made on Geocities… which just shut down today, lol). It needs a total makeover.

Also, You need to get some new experiences, new girls… you need a lot of new things…

And one more thing, and I’m surprised you haven’t done this… you need to convince some of these adult studios to let you do joint deals to code for their adult movies. It would be the same movie the studio made but the box would read It would be a “VR Sex Machine Enhanced” video and they could buy it from you directly and you’d split the cut with the studio. The studio wouldn’t even have to do an ounce of work, it would be all up to you and they’d be attacking a whole new market.

It’s a great idea that would help you revive a product that obviously is dead right now. But I get the impression that you really don’t have strong relationships with too many studios, and judging from how you’ve been acting in response to RealTouch, I can see some reasons why that may be the case.

November 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm
(10) Heather says:

A technological advance it may be but let’s face it who wants to pay that much for a toy that you have to keep paying for everytime you want to use it. So what you basically have here is the worlds first robot hooker.

November 24, 2009 at 8:19 pm
(11) Cory says:

@Heather: I agree that the idea of having to pay every time you use the toy would be a major drawback for me personally. But we pay for all sorts of entertainment and physical experiences, from paying by the minute for parking when we go to the movies to paying for time at a bowling alley or skating rink, so why not pay for getting off when you want if that’s how you want. As for the “robot hooker” idea, however you meant it, it sounds a bit derogatory to sex workers. It’s like calling a roomba a robot janitor. Machines may do things humans do, but they never replace humans doing it!

November 26, 2009 at 11:31 am
(12) Heather says:

@Cory…Let’s not confuse ourselves. Yes we pay for personal experiences all the time. But no matter how pretty you try to paint it having to pay every time you want to use an item is a rip off. It would be different if you paid for a movie you could keep and use with your toy whenever you felt the need but this is a huge drawback. Imagine having to pay every time you wanted to use your computer or your roomba if you will. I’m sorry if you have personal stock in this product but it truly is not a worthwhile purchase.
Furthermore if you want to talk derogatory let’s talk about their sales pitch of this toy being better than a woman because you don’t have to put up with the hassle and inconvenience of dating. I would never intentionally offend sex workers, especially since I am a sex worker.
Nevertheless I couldn’t sum up my point better than with a quote from one of my favorite writers, “Machines may do things humans do, but they never replace humans doing it!” ;)

November 26, 2009 at 12:44 pm
(13) Cory says:

Okay, now I got your points. I fully agree with you on this one. First let me say I don’t have any stock in this or any other sex toy maker. The only company I’m involved with is a worker co-operative sex shop which is more socialist than capitalist. So my comments are completely my own. And I am very excited about the technology. But you’re assessment of the rip off factor is right on. Although it’s not without precedent. In fact it doesn’t seem that different that the little I understand about DRM, where they basically want you to pay for a song or a tv show but you only get to watch it one way. But I guess even with that, you can watch or listen to it as many times as you want, just on one device. So yup, this is still worse!

As for the offense, I hope you didn’t mind me bringing it up. I tried to do it in a way that didn’t assume you were trying to be offensive, since one never knows. So I’m glad you clarified, and thanks for being patient with the klunkiness of blog-comment communication.

Lastly, yes, yes, yes, their marketing is ridiculous. One of the things I hate the most about almost all sex toy marketing is it’s incessant “just like the real thing” message. Sex toys aren’t anything like sex with people. Sometimes they’re better! Sometimes their worse. But always different. I think when companies do stuff like this it just reinforces the message that sex toys are a replacement for “real sex” which is heterosexual-intercourse. It strikes me as self-defeating for people who are making products that can be radical tools of sexual empowerment to reduce them to such a narrow idea.

All that said, I’m still excited about this technology, and after meeting with two of the people from the company I do feel like they care about their customers and customer experience. They just happen to want to make as much money as possible from it to.

Thanks again for your comments!

January 10, 2010 at 7:32 am
(14) Alex B says:

Well written article – but would it be too much to ask that you actually USE the product before reviewing it? Sticking a finger inside it doesn’t constitute a review any more than me putting a condom over my hand can talk about how it feels.

January 11, 2010 at 9:18 am
(15) cokez says:

If they were smart they would give access to the site/videos for free once purchase of the product. No way in hell I’m gonna pay per minute to pop my load. That was a dumb move on their behalf. Also not going open source is bad too. It would have been 100x better and probably in the end more profitable if they did this.

1. add full access to their site with purchase
2. open source allowing users to customize their own scenes with a easy to use gui.
3. add a section on their site specifically for this, think porntube or youtube style. If done correctly the traffic could get insane. Sure the instant profit is less but longtime traffic would makeup for that.

This “could” have been innovative. Instead it’s another cool tech with strings and gimmicks. No one like subscription or pay per minute type situations. This is just paying per minute to pop which is total fail sorry.

January 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm
(16) Davey says:

I just got one yesterday, and it works great. But it’s expensive – the cheapest package of 200 minutes costs $100. And considering I just went through 25 minutes in a single session, I would say this is probably not worth the money, and advise everyone else to wait until prices come down.

January 14, 2010 at 11:15 pm
(17) Cory says:

Thanks for the feedback Davey. I’m with you (and all the other posters) that the cost is way too high, but I’m glad to hear the experience is good. This is just the beginning, so like any other tech product (even porn) we’ll wait and eventually the price will come down.

February 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm
(18) jeff says:

Really thought this was going to be a no-brainer when I first heard about it. So I signed up to be an affiliate. I’m busting my ass promoting this all over my sites and nothing. Nobody wants it. What a dud. Waste of my time. No one wants to pay $200 for it. Nobody wants to pay .49 cents a minute to use it. Pretty pathetic when a company with this much clout in the industry pisses away what could have been a goldmine. I give RealTouch another 3 months, tops, before it goes belly-up. Only thing that could save it now would be dropping the price. I could see $75. But, beyond that, no dice. Maybe fleshlight woulda had a better shot at it.

February 11, 2010 at 6:34 pm
(19) Cory says:

@jeff this is interesting to hear. If this model doesn’t work hopefully they’ll move to a different one that is less expensive and less closed.

February 12, 2010 at 7:56 am
(20) jeff says:

Cory: Its likely that a company in their position would already have plans to lower the price and to open things up. But the bigger problem is for the people that buy this thing. Let’s say I buy a Real Touch. The only way I can use it is with their videos and they are expensive. Lots of people know that’s a problem. But there’s a bigger issue beyond that. Let’s say the company fails or goes out of business before they open it to outside development. I would now have a $200 product that I can’t ever use again for anything. All my money would be down the drain because there’s nowhere else on the net I can use and I can’t use it by itself. Imagine if the iPod was introduced and Apple told people the only way they could listen to music was to have their iPod connected to the computer continously and stream it live from their website. No downloads. No way to keep what you pay for. No way to disconnect your iPod and use it anywhere else. No way to use it if the company folded. Nobody would have bought it and its totally understandable why not. That’s the true crux of the problem with this product. That’s why I can send a boatload of traffic to the site but no one will buy it. And if no one will buy it now, they won’t be around long enough to lower the prices and open it up. Which is why anyone who buys it now is taking a big risk.

March 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm
(21) Anthony says:

I had already pulled out my credit card to order the Real Touch and decided to google it first. I was suckered into buying the Priceless II and Spingasm which were a TOTAL waste of money.

This product really fleeces (yes, fleeces) the consumer with the pay-as-you-use requirement. I would possibly consider it if I could use it with ANY streaming pay site, or if I could purchase DVDs (at less than $25) to use with it. Or better yet, put a 15-30 minute programmed chip in it to have as an option.

The best point raised on this page is that if this company tanks, you have a $200 dust collector!!!

Also, I would think that any sexaholic, like myself, willing to pay $200 is one who is addicted to porn and in about one week will be tired of the same old videos. Besides, aren’t most people into amateur porn these days which accounts for the raging success of sites like XTube and the dwindling interest in lame, fake, commercial porn?

I’m going to sit here with my credit card waiting for them to come up with a DVD(s) or other non-self-bankrupting idea that can be purchased with this thing, where you can click on one of several sensations to play or play at random. I’m sure the inventors of this thing thought that this was a win-win situation (device AND streaming), but the paid streaming turns the Real Touch into the Titanic.

One final comment: if I were marketing this product, it wouldn’t take me up to 48 hours to get it out and I wouldn’t send it by ground. That means a delay of up to a week or more before it starts making the real money for the company. They don’t even offer the option of charging the customer who is willing to pay for expedited shipping. Another lost piece of revenue (markup). What are these people thinking?

March 30, 2010 at 10:18 am
(22) John says:

I’ve looked over a number of products like this over the years. I own a couple of Fleshlights and I like them but I wanted something more ‘proactive’.

This thing seems like the deal…except, I can’t see paying for a product over and over again. This whole pay per minute thing just doesn’t work for me. I don’t mind paying the $200 plus bucks for a well made item but I won’t pay to use it every time as well.

I understand your point about paying for things over and over, like the internet but that is not the same. With telephone service or internet service you’re paying for a service, not a device. If this product begins to allow ownership and not rental, I’ll buy one. Until then, no way.

May 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm
(23) alex west says:

I can’t believe any one would consider this… u might as well get a prostitute and isn’t there a place where u can spend a grand an bone a porn star?… I mean after a few usages ur lookin at a close clutch to 1k. Its less $$ to just take a girl to a thirty dollar dinner and bring her home… or better yet find a friend and hit a swingers club… its sad people really resort to robots… however if they made away for couples to have sex from a distance using somewhat of the same tech military men and woment would pay big… watch their lover over video cams and use a device that simulates there unit.. to get wet when she does and modled just like his member to pulse and oose when he blows his load…

June 4, 2010 at 11:53 am
(24) yougottabekidding says:

RealTouch may be the SCARIEST sex tool ever made. There have been a lot of development since it came out and most are not good.

June 25, 2010 at 1:08 am
(25) TheDude? says:

I definitely am interested in this, but I’m not gonna pay every time I use it.

If they release D.V.D.s or downloadable videos that you only have to pay for once, when you BUY THEM, that’s the day I buy the Real Touch.

I hope they do that soon.

July 5, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(26) Bryan says:

They now have where you can buy scenes for life. though they’re only 15 minutes and 20 bucks. At least you can use it over and over again.

April 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm
(27) Toys for sex guy John Lawless says:

The having to pay for it over and over again when you want to use is a real turn off. It’s listed at $249.00 on their website, That’s an expensive toy. Considering I spent $50 plus on a Fleshlight that didn’t do anything for me I think I’m gonna pass until they come out with something like Pris from Blade Runner.

May 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm
(28) cams says:

So this is the Real Touch that my cousin wanted to buy. Looks okay but I hope the price is just okay.

June 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm
(29) SuicidalTendency says:

Obviuosly, the producers are listening to everyone’s complaints, and have decided to include free videos on the site along eith ten videos that come with the product. I am strongly against the word “cyberdildonic” and suggest that another word takes its place. Sounds like a woman came up with the name for a male toy…

August 31, 2011 at 12:11 pm
(30) Quinn says:

Why not just use a program like “snag it”to keep the streaming video?

February 15, 2013 at 6:26 pm
(31) firerob says:

I just want to say…I recieved the real touch two months ago, no problems so far…And woww….this thing..can really mimic some motions, or blow jobs, and intercourse fairly well, it is mind blowing, and the orgasm you get is incredible…What you see on screen definitely cums close to what you feel on your member in the machine…I am hooked…. can”t get enought…….. this thing helps really make you cumm…And cum back for more…i am getting excited writing this…and will go use it right after I write this….This device is soo worth the 200 bucks you pay..Its addicting…One day I used it four times…It drained me pretty good..Get it it”s well worht the price….

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