The Infinite Potential of VR Porn

February 1, 2017
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I was talking to some friends the other night about porn. Given what I do, it’s a conversation that I find coming up more and more. Sometimes there’s a belligerent edge to the dialogue, where I am expected singlehandedly to justify the existence of pornography in its entirety and defend against the worst excesses of its past (as if anyone would actually want to defend the worst excesses of anything); sometimes people are simply curious; and other times it’s all done with a sense of fun.

This time around, I was enjoying the conversation with some pretty open-minded folk, and the subject up for discussion was… the trouble with porn; not trouble in the moral sense for once, but rather, refreshingly, in the aesthetic sense.

For some, it turns out, the trouble with porn – well, not all porn, but a lot of porn – is that it’s boring, boring in the sense that it is essentially formulaic. The scene begins and often the woman is already naked and primed, butt in the air, oiled and purring, ready to go. If a man doesn’t immediately come through the door, the woman might masturbate for a few minutes, but eventually, a throbbing cock will appear on the picture and then it’s: suck cock, lick pussy, fuck pussy, fuck asshole, maybe fuck some face for a bit here and there, and finally, after around 15 minutes or so of all that, it’s cum on ass, tits or face so that we know we’re all done and that it’s time to pick up our now empty bags and go home (or back to the living room).

Feminist pornographer Lucie Blush agrees that porn is formulaic. “Most porn we see today,” she says, “is mechanical and reduces the sex to a series of positions instead of showing all the potential of a hot fuck! It removes the humanity.”

Acclaimed sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals has a different perspective. “I think that what’s formulaic to some is stimulating to others,” she tells us. “As such, we continue to see “formulaic” content being produced – it’s clearly meeting a need for some consumers. For others though, not so much. This is what (partially) drives the creation of new content.”

That said, from my own point of view, it does seem from a quick look around that a lot of porn out there for mass consumption is basically straight down to the nitty-gritty. There’s no build-up, no visual foreplay if you like; it’s almost as cold and passionless as watching two penguins mate on Discovery.

Here’s a radical concept. Porn should not just be about the fucking.

I know; it sounds crazy, right? But it isn’t, not really; all I’m actually saying is that porn needs to embrace the fantasy side of things. For me, a good porn scene has to have a scenario in it that I can take to bed at any other time and play out in my own head. Visualizing a naked body is easy. What I want, though, is a story, to be able to imagine myself in a certain part, and allow that fantasy scenario to unfold. You can still have the whole basic French maid bit, or cheerleader or nurse, or whatever it is that floats your boat; there would just be a bit more to it than, ‘Hi, I’m a maid/cheerleader/nurse/whatever, this is my pussy, let’s fuck!’

To put it simply, some folk need more than a (sometimes) brutal example of human biology to get off. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for a no-frills fuck-fest; we all enjoy some KFC every now and then, but we’d still always prefer to sit down and consume something made with love.

The concept of fantasy and scenario will become more and more important as the adult industry makes the inevitable move to augmented, VR and, eventually, fully immersive porn. If the future of adult entertainment does indeed lie in such technology, then consumers are going to want more out of their experience that just the bare bones – or rather bare boners – otherwise, what’s the point? Put it this way, while a soccer fan might enjoy a small compilation of goals set to music, it’s not going to compete with the excitement and enjoyment of a proper match. Context is everything.

What those contexts might be will vary greatly, as do all niches of porn today, and will no doubt cover the range, including the ‘wham-bam-straight-down-to-business-ma’am’ quickies, from college dorms and doctor’s surgeries through to full-on cosplay parodies and everything in-between. But there will probably be some new additions to the current repertoire; serious, erotic masterpieces; everyday sexual reality plays; the boyfriend/girlfriend experience writ large; not just the stuff that won’t ever happen, but also the stuff that just might.

The Infinite Potential of VR Porn

“I think the audience wants to feel more,” says Lucie Blush. “The technical innovations will allow us to connect more with the settings, the characters… Which is why we should take full advantage of this and create new, more immersive experiences. I guess there will be a lot of different kinds of content, which is exactly what porn needs: diversity. We will always use porn for a quick jerk off, but we won’t be limited to it. There is a wide array of possibilities… I’m sure all the content makers will be happy to develop all kinds of quality experiences for their paying customers.”

Of course, the big selling point of the VR and fully immersive adult entertainment experience is what you see and how you see it. Someone who has decided to go for the immersive experience is probably looking for a level of reality that conventional media, no matter how hi-the-res, just cannot reproduce. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about reality in terms of plot plausibility – remember it is still fantasy we’re looking for, after all – but reality in terms of physical experience, and what we see when we’re engaged in a particular physical experience. This is all about heightening the concept of POV (point of view) to the nth degree.

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As far as porn goes in terms of this experience, Dr. Tibbals warns, “This is kind of a slippery slope – someone is looking to be embedded fully in a fantasy scenario, but that scenario has to be produced on some level. Though the possibilities here are incredible, one concern may be a sort of standardization of VR level fantasy. Unless of course the level of VR is both responsive and interactive (platform, technology, etc. notwithstanding). Then the only limit would be the consumer’s articulation of their own desire.”

Still, getting back to that idea of POV to the nth degree, just think, for example, of exactly what it is you see when you’re going down on someone, or rimming an asshole, or even kissing, anything that happens close-up basically. You all know, I’m sure, that what you see in those moments is not exactly what you see reproduced on screen. Now, perhaps it’s not up to VR porn to recreate that level of experiential verisimilitude – in fact, there’s probably no point anyway until it becomes possible also to recreate the taste and sensation on your tongue as well as certain trigger smells (either that or you keep your fingers crossed for the kind of ultra-understanding partner who won’t mind if you eat them out with your goggles on, imagining it’s someone else’s cherry pudding you’re lapping at) – but the point remains that what the consumer is going for when he or she goes for the immersive option is still going to be as close an approximation to ‘the real thing’ as is doable.

Thinking about these things made me start to wonder if we’d begin to find eroticism, sensuality, arousal and even climax in more than just the famed ‘money shot’ moment. Would the VR/immersive experience change what we looked for in pornography? In other words, would we just be using it to get off? Maybe you’d have a scenario that involved a whole date before the sex, an entire evening spent in the company of that person; leading to that ultimate release of bliss.

“I think this would also absolutely depend on the viewer/consumer,” says Dr. Tibbals. “For some, a BF/GF VR experience would be ideal. For others, simply getting off in the VR world would be the ticket. It’s about technology meeting variable needs.”

Again, it all comes down to story and context – the muscle, tissue and blood, if you like, around those bare bones we mentioned earlier – and what you expect from the immersive experience.

I can see feminist porn working really well in this sort of arena, as something to be marketed to both men and women. The focus that feminist porn places on the equality between the roles would be an important factor in allowing porn that hallowed cross-gender attraction, perhaps even pushing it into the mainstream, where it belongs. “Feminist porn is already marketed and watched by both men and women,” says Lucie Blush. “Of course feminist porn filmmakers will explore that new way as well, although I think it tends to focus more on the content and the message, than the form.”

Back when I first interviewed Lucie, I remember being fascinated by the fact that one of her scenes ended with the woman’s orgasm instead of the man’s. I still find this incredible, in fact. Unless you’re watching a lesbian scene, obviously, you just don’t see that happen. And it’s actually a very erotic thing to see happen. I’m not saying that men will suddenly want to stop seeing themselves ejaculate over all the usual places as an end point, but perhaps, from time to time, they might find themselves wanting to climax to something different… and perhaps the look on a woman’s face – or a man’s – as she orgasms will be that thing. That kind of focus already explains the success of sites like Beautiful Agony, a website that believes that “eroticism in human imagery rests not in naked flesh and sexual illustration, but engagement with the face,” and which we featured here in BaDoink a while back.

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The arrival of VR and immersive porn – which BaDoink is trying to bring to the masses with its freevrgoggles.com campaign and the launch of its new badoinkvr.com website – is a further extension of the ever-growing human sexual repertoire, another choice on a wonderful list of options, and with it brings new tastes or magnifies aspects otherwise ignored or underplayed by the adult industry.

For Dr Tibbals, this presages another possible return to the slippery slope. “I would hope,” she begins, “to say ‘the sky’s the limit!’ However there are still people out there dealing with shame about their sexual desires, an inability to articulate their desires, and moral and legal limitations on sexual expression – would this impact the realm of immersive VR fantasy? This is a very sticky space that time will need to work out.”

While that is certainly true, we should never underestimate the human capacity for learning and evolving. Perhaps it will be the use of immersive VR fantasy that ultimately makes that difficult space less sticky, a virtual classroom in which human beings as sexual creatures – and more – learn to grow and progress.

As we’ve stated before here on BaDoink.io, the human species is a cultural entity, a sexual entity and a technological entity. We try to use culture and technology to improve our nature and our abilities, and to show us the potential of what those abilities and what our nature might become, and where we might go as a whole. Sexuality is, undoubtedly, an important facet of the human experience, intimately tied up with the notions of culture and the innovations of technology… and all three of those things converge in immersive VR fantasy. Where that convergence leads, none of us can really tell yet, but as we are about to find out, the possibilities are endless.

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