The Future Of Sex Toys

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Imagine a world where you can strap on your VR headset, crank up your smart bodysuit and have virtual sex with someone on the other side of the globe. It sounds like the setting for a sci-fi porn flick, but this remote sex haven is closer than you think.

We’ve already explored how vulture lungs and steam powered dildo’s got our ancestors off in the history of sex toys, so now it’s time to look forwards. What does the future of sex toys hold? We spoke to a panel of Sexperts to find out…

Ornamental Dildos: What Will Sex Toys Look Like In The Future?

Where do you currently keep your sex toys? In the sock drawer? Do you have a dedicated goodie cupboard? While 78% of women masturbate and a third of British women own a sex toy, many of us still feel too embarrassed to admit it.

Now picture an insta-worthy living room with a coffee table proudly displaying an arty magazine, a cactus, and a beautiful, artisanal, teal-coloured dildo…

According to our sexperts, advances in sex tech will be accompanied by a more open and accepting attitude towards sexuality.

Sex toy designs are moving away from products that need to be hidden away in a closet like a dirty secret. We are now embracing designs which are sleek and aesthetically pleasing,” says LaQuita Belle, owner and founder of the sex positive blog Pleasure Envy.

In the future, sex toys could be on display in (almost) every home in the country. A dildo that doubles up as an ornament? Why not?!

More options, more orgasms

Let’s be honest: would you rather a huge, bulging dildo which looks just like the real thing, or a compact, chic model which actually knows what a clitoris is?

According to Nina Haines, community manager of sex-positive collective Women of Sex Tech, female and non-binary creators are inventing sex toys which we actually want to use, not what men think we want to use.

“Female and non-binary founders are carving out a space for themselves in the industry and are creating products that womxn actually love and want to use,” she says.

As society becomes more open minded and accepting of trans and non-binary people, we should also start seeing more gender neutral toys in a range of sizes, colours and designs.

Tailor Made Sex Toys

The future isn’t just about high tech gadgets: it’s about about having greater control over our sex toys.

Imagine a vibrator with a range of personalised settings: whether you fancy something slow and sensual or a quickie during your lunch break, you can tailor your dildo to give you exactly what you need.

Voice recognition technology will play a big part in the future. “I foresee vibrators that are voice activated – responding when asked to change speeds, thrust force, etcetera,” says LaQuita. Makes Alexa look pretty boring by comparison, eh?

Could sex toys one day even become integrated into our bodies? Bryony Cole, founder of media and research company Future of Sex, thinks that in 30 years we might not even distinguish sex toys as separate entities.

“The rate of innovation in bio-hacking and body modification means some innovations, like Rich Lee’s LoveTron9000 – an implant embedded behind the pubic bone so that the penis vibrates – may be more common” Brony says.

If vibrating penises aren’t your thing, how about a smart bed which can hug you, whisper sweet nothings in your ear and stimulate your nether regions?

Long Distance Relationships And Virtual Reality

If you’re in a long distance relationship, futuristic sex toys could bring you closer together. Maxine Lynn, an attorney who runs sex tech blog Unzipped Media, explains how it could work.

“VR, sex robots, and teledildonics (sex toys controlled remotely over an internet connection) will be combined,” she says, “this will allow your sex doll to be controlled remotely by your partner while you’re wearing a VR headset with Fiji as the 3D backdrop.”

No partner? No problem! “It’s just a matter of time before celebrities will license use of their faces for sex dolls, or VR scenes, so you’ll be able to have a simulated experience with your favourite celebrity,” says Maxine.

Sick of people? Why not date a robot?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could program your boyfriend to do and say whatever you wanted?

Sex robots are not a sci-fi fantasy anymore: they’re already among us. Harmony 3.0, a lifesize doll which can be programmed via the Realbotix app, comes with 18 personality types, 42 nipple designs and 14 dishwasher-friendly labias to choose from.

She can be programmed to tell jokes, recite poetry and she always remembers your birthday.

If bionic penises are more your thing, sexbot company RealDoll has also designed a fully customisable male doll…


The End Of The World As We Know It?

If the sexbots are already here, what next? Will we all start marrying dolls and sever connections with other human beings? If we are used to programming our partner, how could we ever go back to human beings?

Laquita is worried that sexbots will warp our perception of consensual relationships: “It dehumanises sex and does not consider sex as a consensual experience. Sex robots and VR pornography may distort users’ reality.”

Not convinced? You’re not alone. Kate Devlin, senior lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London and author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots, thinks sex robots will never seem ‘real’ enough to appeal to a large audience.

“We are very bad at making human-like robots. Current technology is not suited to it, and our brains can easily spot when human-like things aren’t human,” says Kate.

“The current prototypes of sex robots are essentially immobile sex dolls with some animatronics and chat capability built in. I think it’s going to stay niche,” she continues.

While the use of sex dolls may appear to dehumanise women and promote misogynistic ideas, Kate thinks most bot-owners actually “cherish” their dolls and treat them with respect.

Some people find it hard to make and sustain romantic relationships so, for them, sex dolls could be an incredibly useful way to combat loneliness.

The future of sex toys: Dystopia Or Utopia?

Should we be excited about all this new technology, or terrified of what the future holds? Are sex robots a threat to human relationships, or a niche invention which can help the lonely without affecting anyone else?

“What is the future of sex?” says Bryony, “the answers have everything to do with being human, and nothing to do with technology.”

“We are all hoping for a future that is more open, with less judgement and shame, and more acceptance and equality.”

At least that’s something we can all get behind…

At ellaOne, we want to promote open and shame-free discussions about sex and, in particular, female sexuality. Sex and masturbation should not be shrouded in secrecy or shame: they are a natural, often wonderful, part of life.

This stigma over female sexuality feeds into the shame many people still feel about the morning after pill.

We want to stop this stigma and help everyone make informed, judgment-free decisions about what happens to their bodies. Help us end the stigma by joining the conversation and sharing your story.

Words: Sophia Moss

ellaOne® 30mg film-coated tablet contains ulipristal acetate and is indicated for emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Always read the label.