Theres a scene in the 1993 B-movie Demolition Man when Sylvester Stallone, a man of the 90s transplanted to the future, gets a taste of sex in the 21st century. His partner is seated on the other side of the room, and the sweet lovin is delivered via a pair of headsets with no physical contact at all.
Is this just a science-fiction fantasy or a plausible scenario? Perhaps were edging closer to the latter, considering the latest hi-tech gizmo to enter the adult world: Internet-controlled sex toys.
Yep, phone sex is officially passé, and cybersex has reached a whole new level. Launched last March, High Joy Products (highjoy.com) has devised a way for lovers or random strangers to get their mutual jollies with the click of a mouse.
It works this way: You and your partner must buy one of the High Joy products, which aint cheap, including the iVibe Rabbit for women ($129.95) and the iVibe egg and sleeve for men ($89.95).
For those of you whove yet to encounter a rabbit vibrator, its a truly frightening looking apparatus a giant dong filled with rotating pearls and a little bunny that does naughty things with its ears. On many models, the rabbit has a disturbing little smiley face etched onto its mug. Apparently its the most popular vibrator on the market, and even made a cameo on Sex and the City. A few of my friends who own one have professed their undying devotion to the little bugger, but I just cant see how anyone could get past that creepy smile.
Anyhow once youve acquired your tools of pleasure, you sign up for a membership level based on your current commitments; theres a special membership just for couples, and one for singles looking to find someone in chat rooms. You can also buy a webcam and microphone, adding real-time audio and video to the mix.
From the companys press release:
HighJoy.com community members can independently control the speed and rotation of anothers Internet-enabled device. Members with webcams can even watch the effect they are having on their partner for increased interaction. Both devices can also function disconnected from the computer as stand-alone sex toys.
For those who are understandably a little gun-shy about rigging up their hoo-ha to however many amps of electricity flowing through the average home computer, a little reassurance from the FAQ:
High Joy Enabled® products are not connected to your computer as a power source. The cable connected to your computer is only transferring data. High Joy Enabled® toys are powered by batteries; just like the leading stand-alone products on the market today.
A nugget of wisdom from a friend who first told me about the phenomenon: You know its NASA that comes up with most of this technology [video Beta handheld video cameras interactive DVD] but its really the porn industry that finds a way to apply it to our lives and improve humankind.
So there you have it: an opportunity for long distance couples to stay in touch literally. And given the broad spectrum of online dating, theres no shortage of couples whove met over the Internet, or affairs that take place online but never materialize in the flesh.
But is this a great new invention for lovers on opposite ends of the country, or yet another step toward the marginalization of personal contact?
Plenty of computer-chair intellectuals have waxed poetic over the idea that the Internet and technology in general is making society more reclusive and impersonal, and decreasing the value of real human contact. Today, we have lovers quarrels via text messages, maintain online friendships through AIM, and now we can even pop off a few mutual Os without ever even laying a finger on our partner.
Is it weird and icky or groundbreaking? An intrepid reporter, I decided to delve deep into the world of online chatting to find out what Net users think of this new technology.
My first attempt landed me in a German chat room, but I dont know how to say creepy grinning rabbit in German. Second try, I find the screen name MTwriter has already been used. After making a mental note to taunt my co-workers later, I settle with MTwritergirl. Heres a partial transcript of what transpired in a room on spinchat.com:
MTwritergirl: so, what do you guys think about these new Internet-controlled sex toys
bootylicious2_3: is there anybody around the age of 13-16
TheMozman: mt is nasty
MTwritergirl: thanks to new technology you can control your partners sex toy via the web. what do you guys think?
*hotbabe*: thats cool
DarkDogbert: wow coool!!!
FrankY_RaY: well at least you two will be syncronized jkn jkn jkn
(Private message) Hot_Male: why do u wanna try it out
Azfer: any girl wan sex?
DMC3: MT r u hot?
(Private message) Boy4u26: are you hooked up to it right now?
ARWEN: green day is alright no nirvana though
TheMozman: i farted
Well, that was educational. Lets try again elsewhere.
MTwritergirl: what do you guys think of the new internet-controlled sex toys?
PLAYBOYangel: is ther any 1 who wnts to tlk 2 a playboy angel in privite
MTwritergirl: they allow two partners to control each others sex toys via the web, even if thousands of miles apart
apuva: thats amazing :D
ZOLA: thats sick
adam-antboy: what happend to the good olfashioned wank?
MTwritergirl: do you think its a good development for couples?
PLAYBOYangel: hi is ther any boys who wnt 2 hav fun
MTwritergirl: or does it further contribute to the marginalization of human contact?
ZOLA: mar wha?
(Private message) Peter_Holland: are you using one right now?
(Private message) mouse_boy: what do u look like?
So, apparently these folks arent interested in stimulating conversation.
Color me shocked.Sarah Klein is the culture editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org