The sex tech industry is worth $US30 billion – and growing fast.
There’s money to be made and plenty keen on nabbing their piece of the sex pie.
Artificial intelligence and technology are already changing the way humans have sex.
Virtual sex with avatars, immersive, customised 3D porn and orgasms activated by sexbots sounds like the stuff of fantasies but all are possible now.
There are moral issues to wrestle with and improvements to be made but by the end of this coming decade, it will be commonplace for us to interact sexually with whoever we want.
And anyone who’s ever had a photograph taken is vulnerable to being exploited.
Yup. That scary.
Hang onto your headboards, it’s going to be a rough ride!
Sex expert Tracey Cox has predicted how artificial intelligence and technology will change how humans have sex (stock image)
Virtual sex with a celebrity or your ex
Obsessed with an unattainable celebrity or public figure and want to have sex with them?
Now you can…without ever meeting them.
A group of 3D graphics hobbyists are making and selling avatars of real people, famous and not famous, so people can fulfil their sexual fantasies.
The results might not be can’t-tell-the-difference-realistic yet – but they soon will be.
Using photographs to algorithmically generate a person’s face, graphic artists then add bodies, genitals, tongues and whatever else you fancy to create a likeness of the person or public figure you desire.
Import this into another program and hey presto – you can have sex with them in virtual reality.
If that sounds decidedly dodgy, it is.
All an obsessive ex needs to have sex with your avatar -without your consent – is a photograph.
Sex expert Tracey Cox (pictured) claims AI is already changing the way humans have sex
The 3D image can then be manipulated and animated to do whatever the creator wants: using a virtual reality headset and a connected sex toy, users are able to experience various interactive sex acts.
I saw a connected toy demonstrated at a Sexpo in LA years ago.
I put my finger inside a device and felt it being sucked, stroked and pumped, in sync with what the porn star in the accompanying porn video was doing to her partner onscreen.
I don’t have a penis but if I did, I’d have joined the legions of men willing to hock their car (and grandmother) to get their hands on one of these (then expensive) devices.
Fast forward to today – where the person onscreen can be a celebrity you’ve lusted after for decades or a longed-for ex – and it’s easy to see why people are visiting some pretty unsavoury websites to make it happen.
Technology is advancing so rapidly, it won’t be long before any computer savvy person will be able to DIY using various tools and programs.
Unsurprisingly, given men are still the main users of porn, it’s mainly men using sex avatars (according to research done by vice.com) and many request avatars of their ex.
3D customised porn
Programs that generate 3D faces aren’t new: they’re used in game technology and in movies.
Porn that’s 3D is now already widely used as well – and relatively easy to get customised.
On one program, users can modify the model’s body parts, create realistic looking vaginas and even undress her by pulling the clothes off with their ‘gaming’ hands.
It’s estimated that by 2025, porn will be the third largest virtual reality sector behind video games and the NFL.
Who wants the bog standard variety when you can have a 180 or 240 degree view and feel immersed in the scene playing out in front of you?
Orgasms with a sexbot
After the potential sleaze of sex avatars, sex robots – which used to scare the hell out of us – seem relatively harmless.
Not to mention likely as our future sex companions.
All a bit too out there for you? Trey an app instead
How about something a little more mainstream like…
Sex apps that boost your libido
Smart phones might be responsible for couples having less sex – we’re far more interested in what our friends are getting up to than getting up something with the real, live person next to us – but in 2020 and beyond, our phones will be used to boost our libido and banish our sexual inhibitions.
Ferly, launched earlier this year, encourages ‘mindful sex’ through a series of guided meditations, erotic stories and daily practices.
Audio porn is ‘a thing’ and apps like Dipsea particularly popular.
Need advice rather than titillation? Get it from a (real, live) sex therapist on Juicebox or try Clementine, a hypnotherapy wellness app that helps women manage body image anxiety.
Makes that new app you’ve just downloaded to connect with your sex toy seem positively old school, right?
With the world-wide sex recession continuing, something is needed to jolt us out of sexual apathy.
Just as this decade’s invention – social media – has proved both harmful and advantageous, advances in AI and technology in the next decade will be both hair-raising and problem solving for sex and relationships.
Nearly half of all Americans believe having sex with robots will be common practise within 50 years.
In fact, it’s speculated that by 2050, human-robot sex will be more common than human-human sex.
Good news for lonely people who find it hard to form sexual relationships – and good news for bored couples who want variety but don’t want the fallout that happens when you invite other humans into your bed.
Just the thing when one of you wants sex and the other doesn’t and to experience the excitement of a threesome, without fear of one of you running off with the person you’ve chosen!
Sexbots can’t get you pregnant or pass on a sexually transmitted disease – they could provide the only really safe sex there is.
Still need convincing that future ‘sexbots’ will be programmed to talk, show expression and respond to touch and pleasure the same way humans do?
Google ‘sexbots 2020’ and watch a video of the top seven sexbots of the year.
RealDoll’s Harmony might still look a little, well, like a lifelike doll, but put some beer googles on and you might not know the difference.
The current real dolls and sexbots are stereotypical, mostly offensive and clichéd – but this doesn’t mean all will be.
The market for sexbots is currently 95 per cent male dominated, meaning all the research is directed to developing female sexbots for straight men.
This is short-sighted.
I’ve always maintained women could be far more open to sexbots than manufacturers think.
We could, in fact, be the best customers.
Sexbots have limitless anatomical potential – and this could solve an age-old problem between heterosexual couples.
Intercourse, the way most couples have sex, works well for bringing men to orgasm but is shockingly ineffective for making women climax.
Sexbots could have built-in vibrators to stimulate the clitoris and a penis that is shaped like a G-spot vibe, with a bulbous curved end to stimulate the front vaginal wall (another area known to trigger penetrative orgasms).
And you thought your Rabbit was clever!
Course, there are umpteen moral issues we need to solve (sexbots have been made to look like children or programmed to allow men to ‘rape’ them, for starters) but they just might solve some of the issues people in monogamous relationships have always struggled with, like mismatched libidos or the need for variety.
Visit traceycox.com for more info about sex and relationships or to see her product ranges.
Listen to The Tracey Cox Show wherever you listen to your podcasts.