The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted different aspects of our lives. During lockdown, one of the main discussions was about the sex life of single people and the fact that lockdown will mean no sex for them, but as we humans will always find creative solutions for our problems, we saw the emergence of ‘digisexual’. In this article of Niorise, we are going to see what digisexual is and how the lockdown and quarantine has made a lot of us sex tech dependent.
Generally speaking, someone who uses tech for a ‘sexual purpose’—from sexting to romantic video calls—is a digisexual. Millennials and Gen Zers are the two generations most accused of going online searching for porn and other sexual alternatives since we essentially has used internet to discover most of what we learned of sex while growing up.
AIM, MSN, Hot or Not, Chatroulette and Tinder are all nostalgic aspects of our adolescence. It’s no wonder therefore, considering our existing internet dependency that in the last few months, as our world has been restricted to our houses and local stores, there’s been a huge uptick in Pornhub visits and active users, as well as strong sales of sex toys, tablets and dolls.
Part of this interactive enlightenment is the increasing emergence of video calling applications like Zoom and Houseparty. While several of us are zooming in on our WFH case, there’s a number of opportunists out there who use these tools for activities like Club Quarantine, the queer digital dance party.
The virtual night clubs became famous at the end of March, since lockdown was just as fresh as our urge to bake bananas and sourdough bread. To be performed every night at 9 p.m. EST before midnight, 6 p.m. On Saturdays, to be more accessible for the European club-goers, Club Q (as people call it) attracts up to 1,000 young queers each night, either individually or as a couple.
The online party hosts the normal gay club activities; drink, dance, flirt, but rather than grinding and bumping on the DJ booth you’re doing it on your laptop. In just a few weeks, the project had it all: celebrities such as Robyn, a DJ set by Charli XCX, and a promise for an after-party, much of which formed of a multitude of dog collars, straps and a self-serving orgy.
And there’s no limit to sex from far away. Although many businesses may profit from the pandemic, interest in teledildonics, that is an expressive way of saying ‘Bluetooth-controlled sex toys,’ is also on the rise. Especially common among couples pushed into long-distance relationships, such silicone gadgets can be turned on by anyone you gave access through your phone and could be paired for simultaneous enjoyment. The number of application-controlled sex toys and butt plugs sold in Spain, France and Italy has recently risen by 300 per cent, 94 per cent and 124 per cent , respectively, from the initial estimates in March alone.
Our CVs read ‘digital native’ in 2020 and our tinder profiles say digisexual. And as enjoyable as online flirting can be, could our tech-dependence bring intimacy to us? As I’ve figured out, teledildonics, online orgies, and porn are just a game for beginners in the Digisex World.
Although yes, the broad concept of digisexuality includes those who use technology as an aid to sexual gratification, there is still another strain to the term: those who describe themselves as sexually drawn to and stimulated by technology. This is often shown in sexualized robots as depicted in fictionalized tales like Westworld, Her and Blade Runner. What if these examples were not just characters in science-fiction, but real-life robots instead?
I do try to hold my mind open. “Some people enjoy having sex with dolls, what then?” I was thinking. But advances in research have also made dramatic change in the sex technology industry. We have left sex dolls behind and simply replaced them with lubricating vaginas.
The Harmony 3.0 sexbot by Realbotix, as well as many other more inexpensive dolls on the market, comes with Bluetooth speakers that most users attach to the Replika AI application. Through doing so, dolls can respond rapidly and thoughtfully through transferring them into full functioning robots that can trigger semi-sentient interactions.
So how is it troublesome? Where other Artificial intelligence apps like Alexa, Siri and Google notify you about the weather forecast or set a meeting, Replika can’t do either of this. Rather, it aims to be a partner; to swap favorite memes and to explore past loves, mistakes and wishes. Replica wishes to be a friend of yours and serves as a moral support.
But certainly when a person’s quite real feelings are included, when it comes to revealing further than memes including private details of your mental health, shouldn’t our sound board be a living individual with personal experience or, better still, professional expertise?
Reflecting on the assumption that this is just the start of AI’s technological advancements, I ‘m afraid of where we’ll be with our tech dependencies in the coming years. Questions about the position of the government as AI is basically as strong as qualified psychiatrists, not to mention the prospects for a dwindling population, seem more important than before.
Look over what a pandemic quarantine did to us — sex statistics just don’t lie. In the realms of digisexuality alone, the detrimental consequences of portraying anything so similar to reality have already been witnessed by those getting addicted to porn augmented reality. For others, virtual sex with fake attractive lovers has been almost too nice to think about going out and meeting a true person. When digisex will be more than just a Bluetooth vibrator or an online orgy, can intimacy be reconsidered as well?