Less than five years ago, the concept of being able to pleasure a partner by operating their sex toy from the other side of the planet was the stuff of wild imagination.
Less than 10 years ago, the idea of having sex with a stranger you met on the Internet was considered as desperate as it was dangerous.
Less than 20 years ago, the thought that you could access pornography, for free, from a device that lives in your pocket, was beyond comprehension.
Sex technology has, in the blink of an eye, revolutionised how we have sex, where we have sex and who we have sex with – so much so that elements of our sexuality would be entirely unrecognisable to our ancestors.
So, what’s next?
With the rise of sex robots, VR, and apps that counsel us through heartbreak, how is sex going to look for the generations that succeed us?
Bryony Cole, the world’s leading authority on sex tech and host of podcast Future of Sex, who will be speaking at Sydney event Vivid Ideas on Saturday May 25, has a pretty good idea.
In her research, which involves interviewing technologists, entertainers and sex therapists, she ultimately asks the question: What can we expect?
We won’t be overrun by sex robots
While sex robots are in development, and are in a lot of ways an exciting advancement, Cole can’t see them becoming mainstream anytime soon.
Cole believes they’ll be instrumental in helping people through sexual trauma, and perhaps as a tool to “make us better lovers”.
But, she tells Mamamia, “I certainly don’t think every family is going to have one of these as a replacement lover.”
“What makes humans great is creativity and our imagination and our mystery… all things that technology can’t do that well.
“Technology is great at algorithms and rationalism. Those things aren’t necessarily great in the bedroom.”
Virtual reality is going to be big
“I think it’s sort of obvious when Apple starts putting AR [augmented reality] sensors into their phones,” the Australian-born, US-based researcher says.
According to a new report from Ming-Chi Kuo, the company has been working on an augmented reality headset. The launch of the device is believed to be coming as soon as the end of this year, and will be available to consumers by early 2020.
“Mixed media is coming whether we like it or not. Those are the sorts of technologies that will become more mainstream,” Cole explains.
“That’s far easier than if you need to go out and buy the proper virtual reality kit and get the proper experience. VR will be transformational.”