Love, Virtually: the impact of virtual sex on future generations
The last 60 years has seen some pretty extreme changes in the experience and perceptions of sex, especially among the LGBTQI+ community. But Virtual porn is bringing a whole new meaning to the term deep fake, as it becomes increasingly hard to tell whether a scene is the real deal or computer generated. If it has the same impact on the viewer(s) does it matter? And what does it mean for future generations and their approach to sex?
Expectations versus reality
Different sites offer different levels of quality with some VR porn offering a POV perspective that is so buttery smooth that it stimulates sexual emotion as well as sexual sensations to provide unrivalled interactions.
We all know that few things are as good as they look on the television, from recipes to holiday destinations. The same can most probably be said for sex, too. Are younger generations growing up with the expectation that their sexual partners will be waxed, oiled, buffed and polished to perfection as they acquiesce to their every desire? Porn has always tended to hide the grittier side of sex, but until now porn has been seen as separate to the viewer. When the two collide in seamless VR, it is very possible that younger porn lovers, who are as yet uninitiated into the world of having actual sex with humans, may have some unachievable expectations.
Those expectations go both ways; having seen what happens in porn, less experienced people could be forgiven for thinking that they are expected to behave in the same way as the porn stars with whom they have become so virtually intimate. In a time of AI and VR, how exactly do you keep it real, and how can the inexperienced distinguish between what is acceptable in the bedroom and beyond, and what is probably best left to the professionals?
On the flip side, VR allows people to explore their sexual preferences and desires in a safe way. VR provides the perfect forum for people to experiment and see what they are into as well as what they are not.
Making space to meet people
Being LGBTQ+ is no longer the social taboo that it once was, but LGBTQ+ men and women are still more likely to feel disconnected from their own community. Less experienced people may have discovered their sexual niche thanks to VR porn, but the leap to turning those desires into interaction with humans can be a big one. In a time when people can interact via social media, and fulfil their sexual desires via VR porn, the incentive to leave the house and interact with actual people is minimal. However, Gen Z also struggles with mental health in a world that is not in general equipped to provide them with the support that they need, so getting out there, meeting people with whom they can share their desires and challenges, is vital to their present and future mental health.
The future of VR porn
In many ways, speculating about the future of VR porn and its long-term impact on younger generations is not very different to our speculations about VR in general. In ten years, will we all live in the metaverse, in worlds of our own creation, forming bonds with people that we have never met, and who we would not recognise if we passed them in the street? Thanks to the rapid advances in technology, we are all navigating an unknown path. Whether you have embraced the VR life, loath it, or you are currently sitting on the fence, nobody really knows what the future will hold. One thing, however, is certain. There is a risk that, by delving too deeply into the world of VR, people can miss relationships, experiences and sensations IRL. Hopefully the older generations can guide the younger ones to embrace real life and seek human-human interactions as well as indulging in some VR fantasy.