Virtual reality is one of the biggest technology trends of our time. For our sexuality and the porn industry, completely new possibilities are opening up. But there are also risks.
The young woman seems close enough to touch. It is as if she were kneeling in the flesh in front of you. If you turn your head to the right, your gaze goes through the room. You see a sofa on which other naked women are lolling. What seems so real is an excursion into virtual reality (VR) – currently the absolute trend in the tech industry. Using data glasses, viewers immerse themselves in another world. With 360-degree videos they can look freely in all directions and get the impression of being right in the middle of the action. For the porn industry, the new technology seems to be a goldmine.
“Everything is much more intense,” says Ela Darling, who calls herself “the world’s first VR cam girl” and entertains her customers via webcam from Los Angeles. “The men really feel like they’re in my room.” This year will be incredible, predicts the 29-year-old at a VR conference in Austin, Texas. Technology is making a breakthrough, and completely new opportunities are opening up for industry and consumers.
And indeed: After developers of VR glasses have been working on the technology for a long time, now numerous new models appear, for example from Sony, Samsung or HTC. Samsung manager Martin Börner recently announced: The market for virtual reality will grow more than fourfold this year to a volume of three billion dollars (2.6 billion Euros).
“For the actors, it’s quite an adjustment.”
The porn industry is making a lot of money: According to forecasts by US analysts, VR porn is expected to generate annual sales of one billion dollars (around 900 million euros) by 2025. However, production also has its price: “The costs are high, especially for 360-degree films,” says Dinorah Hernandez of the Spanish production company BaDoinkVR. They are about twice as expensive as conventional porn as you can see on http://www.psvrporn.com/.
Many VR films are filmed from the first-person perspective, as she explains. Most viewers find themselves in the position of a man who has sex with one or more women. “For the actors it’s quite a change, because the woman takes over the more dominant part and the man ideally appears as little as possible in the picture.
A pioneer among the production companies is VirtualRealPorn, which was launched in 2014. “In an ordinary porn, you have to watch what the director decides,” one of the co-founders told the tech portal techcrunch.com. With VR, the actress is right in front of you, and you can choose whether you want to look into her eyes or at other parts of her body.
Not everyone can just go out and find a partner.
The company goes one step further and cooperates with a manufacturer of sex toys. In concrete terms, the aim is to synchronise the action in the film with the device via software. The more effectively the hardware and software are coordinated, the more intense the experience. Compatible movies for the GearVR can be found on http://www.gearvrporn.net/.
Darling, who has been in business for seven years, also believes: A lot will happen in the industry in the coming years. But what do VR pornos do with consumers? “There are so many lonely people. Not everyone can go out and simply find a partner,” says the “cam girl”.
Call the couple therapist Ann-Marlene Henning, who became famous with the TV documentary series “Make Love”. “As always, when something new comes, VR porn will also trigger a big hype,” she says. And: “It can become problematic.
It is probably individually different whether the consumer can separate this from real life and do it from time to time or whether he loses himself in such worlds, says Henning. There are “weak souls” who find it difficult to get involved with real people even when they overconsume conventional pornography – because they feel under pressure, for example.
In couple relationships, they believe there will be problems when a partner disappears. And some singles didn’t have to bother anymore to go out. People who have inhibitions to get in contact with others don’t even have to do that anymore. “In extreme cases, real sexuality is replaced because many find sex in the virtual world easier.