A conference between representative leading American sexologists recently took place in San Francisco (USA). One of the topics proposed by scientists for the discussion was how the human psyche will change as a result of developments in the technology of virtual sex. Here is an attempt at a futuristic prognosis…
“The development of information technology will allow a person to create a virtual partner who has specific characteristics and uses specific words in the interactive process,” stated Julia Heyman, director of the Kinsey Institute for sexual, gender and reproductive problems, at the University of Indiana state.
Brad Abram, president of the multimedia company XStream3D, is confident that the online game “Virtual Jenna” allows the player to have sexual relations with virtual porn star Jenna Jameson with the help of equipment attached to his genitals. It is possible that this is the first step towards creating a sexual robot such as the one portrayed by actor Jude Law in the film “Artificial Intelligence”.
Finally, computer guru Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in artificial intelligence research, pointed out that such equipment can trigger a response from the brain on a physiological level and help a person to achieve a sensual experience, equivalent to sexual pleasure…
This is not the first attempt to comprehend the phenomenon of cyber-sexuality. For example, a special conference dedicated to this question took place in California in 2000. There, it was noted that only 15 % of internet users spend as much as 11 hours a week on porn sites and sex chat sites. We can also look at statistics from even earlier. In 1998, research showed that 40% of internet addicts and 12% of non-addicted internet users admitted that whilst online they practised onanism (directly rather than in the transferred sense). 50% of internet addicts and 20% of non-addicts flirt online. (This data was based on research on 18 thousand American internet users.) “In the first half of the 20th Century, there was a clearly understood and accepted culture: sexuality is self-sufficient, it is for receiving pleasure and no further justifications are needed,” emphasizes Igor Kon, a well-known Russian sexologist, doctor of philosophy and main research worker at the RAN Institute of ethnology and anthropology. “At the end of the 20th Century, material life was built on this basis of culture and mass consciousness and not that of “loose” individuals. In virtual sex, people primarily use their imagination. But even in traditional sex, a significant part is using the imagination: first we like an image, then a real person who consistently coincides with this image in some way. And in this sense, virtual sex is a way of endlessly broadening this possibility. Online sexual activity (OSA) is the broadening of spheres of freedom and independent decision-making.”
It’s true that quite often these broadening spheres lead to a cruel clinch. When supermodel Claudia Schiffer was asked what she feared most in the world, she replied: “To find myself in a virtual sex library.” For this, it is enough to film two and a half hours of video footage, encode it and drive to an online library, experts claim.
Furthermore, doctors have discovered that the force of the effect created by virtual sex on a person’s psyche supersedes that of LSD, for example. The fact is that in virtual space, which came into being with the computer, whole groups of people can immerse themselves together. Here we can be faced with all sorts of unexpected and very serious problems. A more superficial one of these is the free manipulation of one’s gender. “The cybernet revolution has revealed the ambivalence of the brain and the computer and presented the radical question: “What am I, a man or a machine?” writes Russian anthropologist Boris Markov. “A further continuation follows with a revolution in biology: What am I, a person or a clone? The sexual revolution concerning the virtualization of entertainment poses an equally radical question: Who am I, a woman or a man?”
This could be called the breakdown of civilization, if it were at all possible to break civilization with something or on something. Furthermore, civilization can be determined as a possibility for accommodating oneself. Accommodating oneself is something approaching the unimaginable, but it has nevertheless become reality.
It is possible that we are witnessing the creation of a new kind of human being, which will gradually force the Homo sapiens species out of the historical arena, just as the latter did 100 thousand years ago to the Neanderthal. A new species of Homo is coming into existence (or rather will come into existence) before our very eyes – the homogeneous person, free from the curse of gender.
In other words, we are almost returning literally to the original meaning of the concept of sexuality, which appeared between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th Century: the term then referred to the sex life of plants…
Translated by Leila Wilmers
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