High-Tech Sex

A NSFW video demonstrates virtual sex:

When Brian Merchant got a visit from Japanese sex toy company Tenga, he found their robot-assisted virtual sex program “more creepy than erotic”:

Ugh. In terms of function, it was pretty accurate; the robotic sex arm synched up with the virtual sex arm on screen.

“The physical dimensions of the Tenga were narrow, which matched the avatar I was virtua-bangin’,” [Merchant’s colleague Dan] Stuckey said. “I wonder if you’re stuck with the same controller though. What if you’re interested in someone else?”

Still, it’s not hard to imagine a future where someone puts all the pieces together and this kind of thing works seamlessly.

Meanwhile, Daniel Engber is disappointed with “the failed promise of 3-D porn”:

“The main problem is there aren’t a lot of 3-D TVs out there. That’s the biggest hold-back,” [adult-industry reporter and erotic 3-D photographer Mark] Kernes argues. But there are other problems, too.

For one thing, the studios had convinced themselves that 3-D DVDs could not be ripped and spread online. Having lost half its business to freebie websites since 2005, executives sought safe harbor in a new video format. But content pirates were not deterred. “The way it was sold to me is that you can’t torrent a 3-D movie,” says porn journalist Gram Ponante, “and of course that’s not true.” Shooting on This Ain’t Avatar took a full week, more than twice the time it takes to shoot most conventional sex films, but the movie sold just 6,000 units, Ponante says, barely enough to make back its production costs. (Ten years ago, the best-selling porn films would sell about 60,000.)

The same occurred in mainstream soft-core. In 2010 Piranha 3D made a $60 million profit on topless ultra-gore and a dismembered penis flying off the screen. The sequel,Piranha 3DD, was released in 2012 and grossed just $375,000 in the U.S. An erotic import from China, 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, got lots of credulous press in 2011 for being the “world’s first ever 3-D porn film” (it wasn’t), but failed to sell that many tickets. And last week saw the release in theaters and streaming video of the latest tent-pole 3-D smut: Nurse 3D, the story of a man-killing, girl-kissing, clothes-not-wearing serial killer whose exploits are somehow neither sexy nor fun.