VR is becoming the new frontier in technology, and it’s already made its biggest mark in porn. Picture: HammerandTusk/Pixabay
VR is becoming the new frontier in technology, and it’s already made its biggest mark in porn. Picture: HammerandTusk/Pixabay

Welcome to the world of VR porn, your avatar will see you now

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published Oct 24, 2021

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Choices. We have so many of them when consuming information. No longer confined to traditional means of consumption, it’s gone beyond that and teases our senses to new heights.

From the metaverse to virtual reality, information is condensed into a sensory smorgasbord for our ultimate enjoyment.

Once the theme of science fiction movies, VR is becoming the new frontier in technology, and it’s already made its biggest mark in porn.

Global revenue for the sector, although niche, is expected to reach $19-billion by 2026, according to Juniper Research.

Big brands like Pornhub are already cashing in, averaging half a million views per day of the 3 000 free VR videos it has on offer.

So what exactly is virtual reality porn?

A Hong Kong film billed as the world's first 3D soft porn movie outsold the blockbuster Avatar on its opening day in the city. Photo: AFP

Well, first of all, it promises to “transform users from passive observers of sexual fantasies on screens into active participants in immersive erotic experiences”, writes Mashable’s Mark Hay.

“Over the last year especially, as the pandemic has kept most of us home-bound, the prospect of strapping on a headset and sliding into an orgiastic escape from our isolation and frustration has drawn even more potential users towards the technology,” Hay observed.

For many years, the gear for a completely immersive experience was costly and unattainable. Now that VR has become more mainstream, content has become more accessible.

“VR porn is becoming wildly popular in the US and Japan,” says Joanna Watkins, owner of online adult toy store Lizzy Bliss.

On whether it’s a viable option in South Africa, Watkins says yes and no.

“We don’t lack the electronics or platforms. You have both paid and free VR streaming options, and you can go nuts with free videos on sites like Pornhub and Xhamster,” she adds.

But like Hay’s observation, she also says it all comes down to the gear.

“The most popular inexpensive VR headset used in the US is the Oculus 2 at $299, which is affordable in the US, but in SA, you’re looking at a 10K price tag if you’re lucky.

“But, if a bit of pixelation doesn’t bother you, you can get a VR headset that fits your phone,” Watkins suggests.

Watkins also brings up the question of adaptability and ’what will the neighbours think?’.

Big brands like Pornhub are already cashing in, averaging half a million views per day of the 3 000 free VR videos it has on offer. Picture: Flickr.com

“It’s your private life, you shouldn’t care what other people think, to begin with. However, you need to consider what it will do to your relationship and if VR porn positively or negatively influences a relationship,” Watkins says.

British author and relationship expert Tracey Cox draws a comparison: “Paying a cam girl to do things specifically for you – without your partner's permission – definitely tips it into dangerous territory for most people,” she writes for the Daily Mail.

“VR porn takes things to an even more threatening level,” Cox says.

“Psychologically, VR isn’t much different to regular porn and the associated fantasy or pleasure that goes with it. It’s a question of whether you’re open about watching porn in your relationship and if you include your partner in that decision,” reiterates Watkins.

There are times that the lines can become blurred. If you have cash to burn, you can customise an avatar to look exactly the way you want like an ex you never got over or someone you desire but they’re off limits.

“Some men ask for avatars of their girlfriend or wife because they can then make them do something they won't do in real life,” warned Cox, who alluded to another form of revenge porn.

There is an upside, actually many benefits of 3D porn.

“VR porn can be a great couples activity and can really spice up role-playing. What’s better than combining fantasy and reality? You can blend a VR sexual experience with real sexual pleasure.

“VR porn, in my opinion, is a great way to escape and explore sexuality on your own or with a partner. If you’re open about it and communicate, it can be both innocent and exciting,” says Watkins.

Sex therapists and educators are also hoping the new technology will aid couples who are having problems in the bedroom. It could be a much-needed boost for partners in long distance relationships.

The possibilities are endless, just remember to play responsibly.

This article first appeared in Sunday Insider, Oct 24, 2021

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