Authored by Ross Pomeroy via RealClear Science (emphasis ours),
Emerging technologies continually reshape almost every aspect of our lives, including our sex lives. A new survey published in the Journal of Sex Research finds that some types of "sextech" are becoming mainstream.
"Sextech" includes internet-based applications, platforms, or devices used for sexual pleasure.
Online pornography may be the quintessential sextech. Hard to come by just three decades ago, today, two of the top ten most visited websites in the world are porn sites. One in six American women and nearly one in two American men view online pornography on a weekly basis. Could any other sextech reach similar levels of adoption?
To find out, researchers at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute conducted an anonymous online survey with just over 7,500 participants aged 18 to 65. As part of a broader questionnaire about their digital lives, participants were queried about their use of six emerging sextechs: visiting a "camming" website where performers stream sexual content for viewers, participating in a camming stream by messaging or tipping the performer, using a remotely-controlled, internet-connected "teledildonic" sex toy, viewing virtual reality pornography, playing a sexually explicit online video game, or messaging an artificially intelligent sex-focused chatbot.
Overall, 18% of those surveyed had visited a camming website, 13% had played sex-focused video games, 11% had participated in a camming stream, 10% had used VR pornography, 9% had used teledildonics, and 8% had exchanged sexts with an A.I. chatbot. Men were about three to four times more likely than women to engage in all those activities. Wealthier, younger, and LGBT individuals were also much more likely to use emerging sextech. Of note, about a third of those surveyed between ages 18 and 20 had played sex-based video games. Only about one in fifty people aged 60+ used these novel sextechs.
Also intriguing: religious individuals were slightly more likely than nonbelievers to use sextech, a finding which surprised the researchers.
"Perhaps prominent religious figures have not condemned these newer technologies as heavily as more traditional forms (e.g., pornography), thereby minimizing shame," the authors speculated.
With a highly-publicized presence at the Consumer Electronics Show, innovative sexual technologies are clearly here and not going anywhere. Technology now pervades our lives, both publicly and intimately.
"The current results suggest the sexual landscape has dramatically changed, with technology increasingly offering avenues for sexual fulfillment across a wide range of demographics," the researchers conclude.
Source: Amanda N. Gesselman, Ellen M. Kaufman, Alexandra S. Marcotte, Tania A. Reynolds & Justin R. Garcia (2022) Engagement with Emerging Forms of Sextech: Demographic Correlates from a National Sample of Adults in the United States, The Journal of Sex Research, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2021.2007521