NSFW

The Future of Porn Is Here and It’s So Real You Can Feel It

High tech teledildonic devices, where tactile sensations are transmitted between viewer and live web cam performer, are being championed by PornHub. They could change porn forever.

With an impish smirk, the raven-haired beauty gazes into the camera and out at her audience, live streaming from the comforts of her home studio. Leaning forward, her lips graze the rim of her coffee mug, then suddenly — without warning — she jumps as if shocked by an unseen force. Her brown eyes dance with mischief as she teasingly scolds her viewers. “Guys,” she purrs, stretching the word out, “you’re gonna make me spill my coffee.” She reaches down to her panties, shifting a little as she makes a few adjustments beneath her skirt to the hidden device nestled snugly between her legs.

As a virtual reality performer on a popular cam site, Layla Savage is well-versed in the art of connecting directly with her audience — letting them into her life one sexy show at a time. However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that those viewers could reach out and touch her, so to speak. With the flick of a button, a high tech sex toy and a VR headset (Layla says many of her fans use Google Cardboard) men and women everywhere can indulge their sexual fantasies, catering to three of the five senses for an unparalleled immersive experience.

Live streaming VR web cam shows with a 360-degree view had people feeling as if they were there with Layla visually but the ability to control how she feels while they’re in the virtual world together has changed the way she does business. It’s incentivized her audience to pay more for the high quality interaction. “People feel like they can do something to throw me off. They like to see my reaction to something they did personally. It’s instantaneous,” says Layla. “So I adapted that into my business model and now use the toy to build incentives for private shows.”

Using a Bluetooth connection and a QR code that must be scanned in prior to the interaction, Layla and her fans can experience matching mutual sensations in real time with these specialized teledildonic devices. “Imagine you have a toy at home and while I run my finger along the one on my end it vibrates, the same way. You get to experience what I’d do to you,” says Layla. Some of her fans love it so much they feel as if they’re really there with her. One fan told her the only thing better would be the ability to smell her scent. Perhaps that’ll be the next iteration.

From both a personal and business perspective, it’s the authenticity that makes this product worth the price. Knowing they can have a real impact on the performance is not only what draws consumers to these types of shows but also has them reaching for their wallets. In the era of free porn, that’s no easy feat. “My excitement level is more organic, they can see I’m having fun with them and it’s a different experience altogether,” says Layla.

For all the skeptics out there, Layla offers a test – a test of authenticity. Craving a genuine experience, fans are willing to pay more for authenticity but only if they can prove it’s real. With one simple move, she puts their minds at ease: she turns around, facing away from the camera, and closes her eyes. When a fan tips a token, the synchronized sex toy vibrates, and her body reacts with a slight but noticeable clenching, thus proving to the fans that it really does work.

Despite the hype, not everyone is ready to embrace this new frontier in sex toy tech. Some company owners worry about the product’s limited future in the market place. Brian Sloan, maker of the leading mechanized male sex toy AutoBlow 2, says he purposefully passed on the opportunity to turn his product into a synchronized sex toy. “I’ve had offers to integrate Bluetooth into my product but the problem, and it’s not sexy to talk about, is the cost,” says Brian. “Pleasure is a key metric and if you’re losing so much margin on a device while not delivering an exponentially better experience to people, it falls short.” While Brian believes there’s an interest in connected sex toys, he sees it as a small percentage of consumers and instead believes the focus should be expanding within a market price that the average consumer can afford.

Consumers will have to spend several hundred dollars to get in on the synchronized sex toy tech, which is currently marketed via Kiiroo for both men and women. For men, the Kiiroo Launch is an automated futuristic-looking canister designed to encase the Fleshlight (an artificial vagina), turning the top selling male masturbator into an interactive sex toy capable of haptic feedback in real time. Women have their own vibrator version that syncs with the Launch.

While the technology has many excited, it’s unclear how much of a mass market product it’ll become. While porn consumption is skyrocketing — according to PornHub’s 2016 Year in Review, just last year the site had 64 million visitors a day (44,000 every minute) — it is not indicative of how much consumers are willing to pay for their pleasure. Frequently used by those looking to score free porn, PornHub is now the same site offering XXX videos that will pair with synchronized sex toys, should you own one — essentially giving it their stamp of approval. As a primary porn provider, if PornHub is promoting it this tech might just see a faster adoption rate than its predecessors like VR.

Adult industry pioneer and noted Queen of VR, Ela Darling, is eager to see the market expand in this direction. Creating a deeper, more engaging VR experience with haptic feedback was the logical next step to virtual intimacy. New technology partnered with a sex toy many men already own means the tech is more likely to be adopted by consumers, according to Darling, who’s had ample experience in pushing new sex tech. Darling shrugs off the price point. “People who are interested in VR are people willing to try new technology, and I think most people when they try any kind of VR sex experience they want some sort of haptic feedback with it,” she says.

“It’d be like buying a really fancy computer and then using a monitor from the ‘90s, like one of those big boxy beige things. If you’re going all-in you want to get the most of it and these devices are a great way of doing that.”