The EDGE Blog

Virtual Reality Doesn’t Replace Sex – It Enhances It

Picture the scene: you’re on a business trip and you’ve just checked into your hotel room. You don’t want to go out for dinner because you can’t be bothered messing around with a guide book and besides, you can put your room service on expenses. Instead you choose to have a night in with a virtual reality headset and a date with your favourite porn star.

Sounds far-fetched? It’s happening. Virtual Reality company VR Bangers is looking into a partnership with hotel chains that will offer exactly this. Whether you’re on a business trip, sharing a steamy weekend with a lover, or just treating yourself, you could spend some of your hotel time having virtual reality sex.

It’s pretty exciting, but naturally there are some detractors. One brothel in Las Vegas has already spoken out against the use of VR, claiming that people need more of the personal touch. In other places, it’s not uncommon to see virtual reality, and other kinds of sex tech, discussed as if they’re a replacement for sex itself. Last month The Cut reported on a new virtual reality sex suit with the headline:

“Men Continue to Invent New Ways to Not Have Sex With Human Women”

Virtual reality makes sex more accessible

Far be it from us to criticise, but it seems like that’s a pretty narrow-minded view. Sure, virtual reality can be an option for people who are unable to have partnered sex (or if they simply don’t want to), but as with all sex tech it’s the potential for sex enhancement that’s really fascinating.

Go back to your hotel room again. You’ve got a VR headset on, and you could choose to interact with one of the videos there. But perhaps you could also choose to have long-distance sex with your lover, who’s wearing a similar headset and camera. Maybe you could meet other people in the city in a ‘virtual’ environment – chat, interact, and decide if you want to hook up in person. If you’re limited in terms of mobility (or even just shyness), then having ‘virtual’ sex with real-world people might be the ideal stepping stone.

Using virtual reality headsets in combination with your favourite sex toys can give you a truly unique experience. Particularly if that toy is the PULSE II SOLO, which allows you to have hands-free orgasms. You can experience pleasure in a way that is unlike any masturbation you’ve done before – a good way to mix things up and give yourself brand new sensations.

You don’t even have to pay for a pricey hotel room to test out virtual reality – our guide on the future of male sex toys explains how to experience virtual reality porn on the cheap. You can do it with your partner as an enhancement to your sex life as well as on your own. And there are other possibilities too…

Virtual reality, mental health and sexual issues

One of the strange things about sex is that it’s so often pushed off into its own little corner of the world – marked ‘XXX’ and avoided in polite conversation. But sex touches on every other aspect of our lives, including our physical and mental health. One of the reasons people struggle with important issues such as prostate cancer, or sex and disability, is because of the stigma attached to talking about these issues.

But technological innovations like virtual reality can give people amazing opportunities – both in the bedroom and outside it. Being able to pretend you’re inhabiting someone else’s body, as you can in virtual reality videos, can help increase your empathy and understanding. As well as give you a unique perspective on sex.

Virtual reality is already being used in experiments that explore mental health too. Tech website Gadgette reported today that researchers have tested the impact of virtual reality in helping to treat paranoia. Test subjects were given a VR headset which took them into a situation that would normally cause them to behave in a paranoid way, such as a crowded room or a train car:

“The researchers found that participants who fully immersed themselves in the virtual situation situation by dropping their defences showed a substantial reduction in their paranoia. After the virtual reality therapy session, over 50% of these patients no longer had severe paranoia at the end of the testing day.”

Pretty nifty, no? It’s not hard to see that applications of this – allowing people to explore difficult or nervewracking situations – could potentially be used to help those who have sexual conditions that are partly rooted in psychological factors, such as erectile dysfunction. In fact, as early as 2004 researchers speculated that virtual reality could be used in certain types of ‘training’ – for those with premature ejaculation problems, who’d like to ‘train’ themselves to last longer, the more realistic the situation can be, the better they can practice delaying orgasm.

There are plenty of other reasons why we think virtual reality is a great new addition to the sex world. It, like most sex tech, will allow people to think creatively and explore their sexualities in new and interesting ways. Sex tech, and virtual reality, is never a replacement for sex – it’s a way to enhance and explore ideas, experiences, and pleasure.


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