Illustrations by Joel Benjamin
In the last year, I have received a blowjob from a machine, wore a spandex diaper to a strip club, slept with a dude I met on Instagram, and fucked at least 14 guys I met on Grindr. Yet somehow, according to sex experts my love life is about to get even better in 2015 and beyond, largely thanks to sexy robots and more apps devoted to getting people laid.
Citing the Future of Employment, a 2013 study stating that robots will replace half of all jobs in the next ten to 20 years, Robin Elenga, the founder and CEO of robotic sex toy company Revel Body, believes sex toys will eventually become robotic sex toy partners. He believes we are increasingly using robots for all sorts of things because they're "better at performing tasks than humans."
"Roomba has already sold over 10 million housecleaning robots—the age of robots is here," he said. "New materials, sensors, motors, and software will continue to evolve to make sex with machines more appealing to the masses."
A recent Newsweek feature explored how entrepreneurs have already laid the foundation for robotic fuck buddies. Female dolls with "fixed or removable" vaginas go for $5,000 to $8,000, and a chess champion and artificial intelligence fanatic named David Levy wants to embed sex dolls with "I-Friend," a software program that adds "emotions, personality, and moods" to the dolls. Many smaller technological advances have already begun to affect both ordinary masturbators as well as porn stars and sex workers whose job is to help Americans bust their nuts. Over just the last few years free porn has become readily available to anyone who wants it, and you can get a hummer from a robot for around $180. The days of DVDs and prostitutes are rapidly fading away. It's a brave new world.
"I think we can all agree that the internet seriously changed the game," porn star Carter Cruise told me in an email. "And by that I mean it could possibly be the most important thing to ever happen to mankind, besides, like, the invention of pizza."
"It's not exactly robots... But I mean, sexting with porn stars is probably the next big thing."– Sydney Leathers
To combat the lost income, adult actors and companies have started to make their own technological advances. Porn company Naughty America, for example, has released the Dream Lover website, which allows users to pay to sext porn stars. One of the participating stars, Sydney Leathers (Anthony Weiner's infamous sexting partner), describes the website, along with Skype sessions, as an easy way for her to make extra money. (Full disclosure: Sydney lived with me for a week for a previous article, and we have since become close friends.) She sets her own price, which men pay to text or talk on the phone with her.
"It's not exactly robots," Sydney said. "But I mean, sexting with porn stars is probably the next big thing."
Sending porn stars sexy texts and fucking robots may sound edgy today, but just ten years ago most Americans viewed online dating sites and setting up anonymous hook-ups through the web as an icky fringe movement. Today, even straight people find random sex through their iPhones.
"I don't really think [sexting is] different than flirting. It's just a different medium and not in person," Sydney said. "I don't think it's bad, and I think it makes more sense to be open about it now than, you know, really hush-hush and ashamed of things like in the past. I think it's probably a healthier way to deal with things."
But what if all this robot fuckery and smartphone nonsense leads to a sexy Terminator situation where our automated lovers rise up and commit mass genocide against the human race? Could our slutty ambitions for the future lead to armageddon? I asked Sydney.
"Only if you could get AIDS through a text," she said. "That would be terrible."
Thankfully, technological advances have begun to better sex education and STI prevention methods. New York entrepreneur Josh Rosenberg has founded a company called Porn Star Sex Life that makes videos of porn stars explaining sex. He hires entertainers with medical backgrounds and big personalities to teach online tutorials people pay to watch. In a recent video, Alexa Aimes, who has a nursing degree, teaches viewers the science behind squirting. Teens are already online watching porn, the thinking goes, so instead of learning about sex from unrealistic San Fernando Valley videos, hopefully they will stumble across the Porn Star Sex Life films and learn how intercourse actually works.
This advance coincides with the widening use of Truvada in gay communities. The medication, also known as PREP, prevents users from contracting HIV. According to the Center for Disease Control, the drug can prevent the risk of infection in high-risk patients by up 92 percent. Michael Lucas, a Russian gay porn star turned Zionist, has been outspoken in promoting Truvada in the gay community. He believes the medication will decrease the anxiety surrounding HIV and AIDS in the gay community.
"[Truvada's] given me piece of mind," Lucas said. "I used to be incredibly, very, very worried that I would become HIV positive. And that's definitely something to do with people of my generation [who came of age] through the disaster of the 80s and 90s. I was always living with fear, with this horror that I would be tested and I would test positive."
The medication has also affected Lucas's sex life. "I do not have to have sex with a condom with my boyfriend, who is HIV positive," he said. "That is very, very important because I believe that a condom is not the most pleasant thing. It derives you from pleasure, and it derives you from intimacy. I personally don't know anyone who would prefer to have sex with condoms."
Some gays disagree with Lucas's stance. Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, told USA Today, "If something comes along that's better than condoms, I'm all for it, but Truvada is not that... Let's be honest: It's a party drug."
In Weinstein and other older gay men's eyes, younger people are using Truvada instead of condoms as an excuse to have promiscuous unsafe sex. Lucas and other Truvada advocates have disagreed with this sentiment, because it's common for people to "slip" with their condom usage.
"[Weinstein's] an asshole in general, and there are way too many reasons for that. Why would the person who lived through HIV [criticize Truvada]?" Lucas asked me. "So many millions of people wouldn't have died if [Truvada existed in the 80s]."
Other sex work insiders I spoke to described the change in sexual health and porn as part of the society-wide disruption caused by the internet. In an email Carter Cruise described how the internet has caused upheaval in her industry, creating gateways for anyone to become a porn performer while killing jobs. This forces performers to find more creative ways to make money, but has also coincided with a rise in diversity in porn.
"Today people want anything BUT basic," Cruise wrote. "By throwing out the business models and personas of the past, we can also begin to throw out the stigmas, restrictions, and outdated perceptions of being a sexual woman. We are proving that a woman can be sexual as well as smart, talented, and poised: the true definition of the modern woman."
Whether we're making love to robots, and whether we're using condoms when we do so, in ten years, our motives will probably remain the same. We'll continue to try to fill whatever voids we have in our lives by getting it on. We may do that by putting our junk in machines or living with multiple partners, but at our core we'll still be searching for orgasms and love. In the future, we'll just be able to do it in more user-friendly ways without worrying about the moral judgements of a less plugged-in generation.
Follow Mitchell Sunderland on Twitter.
Topics: NSFW, The Future According to VICE, Sydney leathers, pornhub, Michael Lucas, Anthony Weiner, Naughty America, dicks, vaginas, fucking robots, robotic vaginas, GRINDR, sex apps, sexting, sexters, porn, porn stars, LGBT, gay, sex, sex writing, Mitchell Sunderland, Roomba, Dream Lover