Is virtual reality the new frontier? We live a simulated existence: it is the product of our times. And it is the product we now consume and crave on a 24/7 basis — but never before has simulated content (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, Pokemon Go) been so accessible and cheap.
Facebook? A model, made of binary code, controlled by you, showing the world the “person” you are. But is the person posting to his or her Wall with their smartphone the real you? Or is he or she some imagined version of you?
In the words of the greatest rapper of all time, Eminem, “Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?”
I’m willing to bet the person you submit to Facebook is at least a semi- fabrication. The smiling face, the engagement photos, the Christmas portrait in front of the tree, a baby (or dog) cradled between you — listen … you bred, congrats, but it’s the most basic function of the human species — that said, if the dog is the emolument of your bumping of uglies — call me ASAP, I want the rights to your story.
Movies don’t always write themselves, and studio agents drool over “based on true events” narratives (the weirder, the better). But until your offspring plants an American flag on Mars or cures cancer, keep the baby posts to minimum. Cuteness, like beauty, is in the eye of beholder, and trust me, you folks aren’t all pushing out the Gerber Baby.
So here we are in the year 2016, living the life of a pseudo-avatar, technology rendering us more and more obsolete by the second — it begs the question: What does the future generation have to look forward to? Wearing an Oculus Rift headset (a virtual reality headset), as the porn star of their choice demands (I’d suggest Mia Malkova or Peta Jensen), “I want you to come in my mouth.”
Porn, a billion-dollar industry, often labeled as taboo or obscene by the religious right, has always recognized and utilized the latest in home electronic technology. Let’s not forget, before bluRay became the standard to watch movies in 1080p, and this is circa 2008, bluRay was in direct competition with HD-DVD for home media dominance.
I found HD-DVD to have better picture quality, and easier to navigate menus, but when the porn industry announced they would be using bluRay to release their high definition content, well … HD-DVD was deader than a college girl on a date with Ted Bundy and joined Betamax on the Island of Misfit Toys.
But virtual reality technology has already changed the landscape of porn. For decades the argument has been made that porn is demeaning to women, that the female performer is viewed only as an object of desire (do you really think that the porn star isn’t aware this?), and if consumed too much, porn can have negative consequences on real life relationships — but what does that even mean in a world where thirty-something year old men and women are “picking up” Pokemon balls that aren’t even there?
Yes, the hyperreal has surpassed the postmodern nightmare.
But it’s not all black clouds and falling rain like in a Zach Snyder film; the way virtual reality porn is shot is quite complex, requiring numerous cameras to envelope the consumer in a 360 degree world.
For the first time ever, the female performer is in full control, as the man remains a faceless surrogate. Directors, through instant user feedback, learned that when the male performer touched the female performer with his hands or made any sound of pleasure, the viewer was turned off. This breaking of the fifth (?) wall was a big no-no.
And female performers claim to enjoy the virtual reality medium because it gives their fans a more intimate experience with them — it’s also a bigger paycheck.
In an Digital Trends interview with August Ames, one of the biggest names in the industry, shared this golden nugget of enlightenment while filming an “educational” VR video to help men perform better in bed:
“They don’t know me, but they know August — she’s their fantasy.”
Further from Ames: “That connection makes them feel so close to me; they feel like they know me. I like that I can help them out sexually. Some guys don’t have the self esteem to go out and get a girlfriend.”
But a word in Ames’ statement needs a 3 a.m. LAPD helicopter spotlight shined on it: FANTASY.
Teenage boys and techno savvy basement trolls will access this material with ease. How do I know this? Because the first thing I typed into an online search engine (I think it was Yahoo) after my desktop computer finished sounding like an EDM song processed through an ice-cube machine was this: Pamela Anderson Sex Tape. That was my fantasy, my reality, and it was my first visual introduction to sex.
Then the snowball started speeding down the hill — chin — if you’re tracking on Urban Dictionary. Through the power of the Matrix, I discovered Jenna Jameson #GOAT, Chasey Lain, Briana Banks, etc… And in the mind of an immature and boner-raging impressionable teenage brain … Jenna Jameson was how every female should look and act during the most intimate of moments — Holy shit, was I wrong (still am).
With the virtual reality experience promising to be so submersing, men and women face a hyperreal crisis: What if the virtual experience supersedes the real experience?
The human race moves towards total automation (or simulacra) and the consumer option for the desired dissimulation is chosen over the act of making true love — leading to a world of limp dicks and barren sand dune vaginas. Jean Baudrillard (Google him) made claim that the light-speed of technology — post Cold War — would evaporate and eradicate history in real time, leaving us with the illusion we are alive.
Does VR Porn hold the power to destroy real sex/love making? It’s too early to make such a claim.
But it’s parents that will see this new technology in the most horrific way imaginable: Mom turning the unlocked knob of the bedroom door, John-boy’s clean and folded clothes in her arms, she strides into John-boy’s room, when … her eyes go wide with sheer terror …
… Cause there’s John-boy, standing in the middle of the room, a bulky headset strapped to his face, head darting up and down, as he thrusts his member into a teledildonic. The folded clothes drop to the floor, mom screams, but John-boy’s synapses tell him it’s all part of the experience, so he turns, aims, fires, then … SPLAT.
John-boy takes the headset off, smile on his face. He spots mom, the smile fades. Kudos John-boy, you just made masturbation history, and mom slinks off to take the most awkward shower of her life.
Guns N’ Roses told us to use our illusion. In the case of Virtual Reality Porn, use it, but like sex, be cautious and always know your surroundings.
All hail the new flesh: It’s plastic and smells like vulcanized rubber.
About Bryan Kish
Bryan Kish writes reviews and articles for NID Magazine.