People could soon be watching more and more "intimate" pornography through virtual reality headsets, according to experts.
New VR technology could allow for personal experiences of a kind even more real and perfect than the real world, and the consequences are expected to change every form of experience we have with technology today. Inevitably, those advances are also being used in the pornographic industry, to create new kinds of virtual reality videos.
One of the early adopters of virtual reality for pornography claims that the new technology is leading to new trends in the kind of pornography that people are searching for and watching, she told a meeting at Web Summit, according to news.com.au .
"“People are asking for more romance, closeness, more talking. This is something you’ll find in a real relationship but not everyone in the world will have access to that kind of relationship,” said Dinorah Hernandez, who runs a studio devoted to such videos. “To be able to have an experience with another woman could give them something that maybe the real world can’t.”
But that kind of perfection, above and beyond the real world, might bring with it problems, according to researchers.
The Rise of Oculus Rift. You’ve probably already heard the story, but in the 2010s, Oculus VR, a start-up company decided to release a Kickstarter project for their Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. Little known to them, the device kickstarted the industry of virtual reality again.
"As a society we are always looking for new and novel experiences but the porn industry brings with it an added risk because of its sexist stance and exploitation of women," said Dr Madeline Balaam, a Newcastle University researcher who has
"We are already obsessed with body image and the digital industry is no different, creating the perfect virtual woman from Lara Croft to sex-robots. VR porn has the potential to escalate this.
"Our research highlighted not only a drive for perfection, but also a crossover between reality and fantasy. Some of our findings highlighted the potential for creating 3D models of real life people, raising questions over what consent means in VR experiences. If a user created a VR version of their real life girlfriend, for example, would they do things to her that they knew she would refuse in the real world?"
Research has suggested that VR porn could bring with it a whole host of ethical questions and challenges to relationships. The extra "reality" added by the technology could mean that people believe watching such content to be cheating on their partners, for instance, or it might allow people to act out fantasies that are considered violent or extreme.
"Pornography has played a key role in the development of new and emerging technologies - from the stereoscope in the 1800s through home video and now virtual reality," said Matthew Wood, who was also involved in the Newcastle research. "But what VR offers for the first time is the opportunity to move from being simply an observer to being a participant and this changes the experience massively.
Healthcare Is Big on Virtual Reality. From diagnostics to treatment to practicing difficult surgical procedures, healthcare institutions are incorporating virtual reality into many facets of the industry. By combining diagnostic images from CAT scans and ultrasounds, healthcare professionals are able to use software to create 3D virtual models to help surgeons decide the best locations for surgical incisions and prepare for surgery.
"One of our findings suggested VR pornography could be something more like cheating on a partner because of the increasing 'reality' of the VR experience.
"We found that for most people the potential of a VR porn experience opened the doors to an apparently 'perfect' sexual experience - a scenario which in the real world no-one could live up to. For others it meant pushing the boundaries, often with highly explicit and violent imagery, and we know from current research into pornography that exposure to this content has the potential to become addictive and more extreme over time."