Sex Toys and Cybersex: ‘Interactive’ Gets a New Meaning

Dec 25, 2013
Science
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Sex Toys and Cybersex Are Enhanced by New Technology

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Joaquin Phoenix, as Theodore in “Her,” a love story about a man and a computer-operating system.

It may be the most memorable sex scene of the season.

In “Her,” the near-future romance film written and directed by Spike Jonze, there is an awkwardly remarkable moment in which the lead character, Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix), has an intimate encounter with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) after returning home inebriated from a failed blind date with another woman. Filmed with a close-up lens, it shows Theodore gently edging Samantha into arousal by telling her what he wishes to do to her body. As things become increasingly explicit, the screen turns black, leaving the audience lingering in darkness as the characters reach their aural climax.

Samantha, it should be mentioned, is a computer-operating system. But that doesn’t seem to subtract from the carnal abandon.

This may sound like futuristic sci-fi dystopia to some, but such sexual-techno prospects are increasingly the here and now. Next-generation sex toys in the vein of “Her” have started to appear in the marketplace. Take the Limon, a sleek lemon-shaped vibrator that could be sold at the MoMA gift store. Released this month by Minna Life, a design firm based in (where else?) San Francisco, it is billed as a tactile “couples’ vibrator” that can record and customize intensity levels.

Or consider RealTouch, a USB-connected sex toy said to have been designed by a former NASA engineer that promises “interactive sex” with another person over the Internet. It comes in two parts: one modeled after a woman’s lower anatomy, and one modeled after a man’s. Designed to be paired with a webcam, one device captures sensations (using technology that is similar to that of a touch screen) and then transmits it digitally to the other, as if the two were in the same room.

For the pleasure seeker, stimulation is rendered in a series of 1’s and 0’s.

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