The modern world doesn’t have much time for snake oil, old wives tales, or hearsay. Results matter and experience matters. With all the attention being paid to VR entertainment of late, it’s a wonder so little attention has been paid to the seemingly endless promising ways VR can help improve our health and wellness. Adults may encounter VR when utilizing telehealth services or psychotherapy but there are avenues of use promising far more fun than those. And, best of all, most can be discovered with minimal hardware, only a modest cost, and a very small learning curve.
Virtual reality technology has been touted as the next critical advance in treating a wide variety of medical and psychological issues for a diverse group of patients. Seldom given similar attention to more mainstream concerns, the ways in which VR can improve one’s personal sexual health appear now to be expansive. Whether individually driven or engaged with as a couple, VR offers myriad opportunities that can alter our attitudes toward sex in a positive way, while also allowing uniquely pleasurable experiences.
Virtual reality porn may be the most obviously sexual use of VR. As in non-VR entertainment, the porn industry has led the way, being among the first to routinely deliver VR content to subscribers and experimenting with a range of spatial audio and 3D video options to find the most appropriate fit. VR porn, like sex itself, is about full immersion with another and a slight detachment from reality that somehow makes the unreal more believable.
Taking care of your relationships during periods in which you cannot physically be in the same space can be trying even for the most well-adjusted among us. The COVID era has put immense pressure and strain on relationships of all kinds. While friends and family members can still share a game of Scrabble or Mario Kart from opposite sides of the globe, many adults remain unfamiliar with the more erotic options available to distanced lovers. Teledildonics is a rapidly expanding field bringing together motorized mechanisms, AI-driven software, and traditional sex toys and aids to put an incredible amount of potential arousal in the hands of those who find your average dual-speed dildo a bit lacking.
Connecting through Skype or its apparent replacement as the world’s most ubiquitous video conferencing app, Zoom, people can converse with real-time visuals that can now be augmented by what can be generously termed augmented reality elements. Adding a moustache or kitten ears to your appearance as a gag can be enjoyable but using similar tech to virtually place your absent partner in your own living space is another level of fun to be had while far apart. Add in more individualized experiences to be had in VR – stamina (or “edging”) training, conversation and flirting practice, confidence building, and interpersonal situational awareness, among other possibilities – and VR is looking increasingly likely to be an essential tool in developing new generations of socially and sexually responsible people.
Adult VR gaming also presents opportunities for solo and couples play, as well as for larger group activities usually left to utilize social media platforms to meet. Adult VR chat allows people to explore ideas about fetishes, roleplay, and fantasy in almost limitless ways. Adopting an avatar to represent your sexual character can be a liberating and empowering experience in much the same way drag performance and cross-dressing was an early means of attempting trans-liberation. Anyone of age can engage in adult chat as a self-determined individual character of their own creation; something many never manage to find an equivalent for in the material world.
Along with the entertainment- and eroticism-driven material that makes up most of what we regard as “adult VR content,” VR presents huge opportunities for educational use. Understanding how to interact with another romantically and sexually is not something mature adults just arrive at one day. Learned from parents, older siblings, social cues and coercion, as well as from the copious media depictions of love and lust, the formation of an individual sexual persona and character can be guided. Understanding one’s desires and coming to terms with the darker side of attraction is a welcome testing ground for VR aided therapy and communication training. From reading body language to verbally conversing and negotiating a physical interaction, VR allows for judgement-free experiential learning that could be especially useful in encouraging positive sexual behavior in younger adults. Reducing recidivism rates among sex offenders may currently seem like an almost distasteful use of VR but in the years to come such measures may not only become commonplace but effective.