VR sex? No… AR, AI and animation are porn’s real future

You will get your fantasy scripted, rendered and realised.

VR is the future of porn say… people who don’t understand either VR or porn. As someone who has written about both for going on 10 years, I don’t buy the VR theory. In fact, I think augmented reality (AR) — which projects virtual objects into your real-world — combined with more powerful graphical processing units (GPUs) and animation that is beginning to leap the uncanny valley (that disgust we feel about characters that look human yet inhuman) are what the future of porn will look like.

It could be real performers interacting with AR creations but equally, it could be cam girls and boys who don’t exist performing anything you ask them to, deepfake versions of your lost love turned into a sex maniac AI construct, or entirely new porn animations designed to fit every one of your peccadillos. That’s the future because it makes porn cheaper for producers to make and brings in the economics of pay-per-view and in-app purchases to the porn industry. It’s already happening. Check out the popularity of animated porn on PornHub and other leading tube sites, combined with the increasing value of camming sites and pay-for-access destinations such as OnlyFans. People want custom porn and their own reality.

I got the idea to finally write this piece after Brian S. Gross, a PR for many porn companies and performers sent me a release about popular production company Adult Time partnering with Animeshin Club to create a 3D animated show called Mindy the MILF which premieres tomorrow. It follows an animated pilot of The Mindy Show broadcast in June. Sunday’s show, like the porn I am predicting, will be interactive and streamed live.

In Brian’s press release, Mindy herself — haha — provides a quote: “Cartoons are fun. Sexy cartoons are better. Sexy interactive cartoons are the best. Come join me LIVE on Adult Time this Sunday night at 6 pm!” Like ‘fake’ virtual influencers on Instagram and virtual pop stars in Japan, the idea is to make Mindy into a ‘real’ star.

AdultTime is a ‘platform’ too. That’s a second trend that’s coming to porn, transitioning away from simply tube sites to a Netflix-style model, where producers are paid by platforms to bring exclusive content to their subscribers. The virtual age of porn will be as big a boom- time for the industry as video cassettes once were.

It’s a cliche to say that porn is ahead of the game when it comes to technology but it is. Porn made the bet on VCR over Betamax and helped bring the former to market dominance. Porn has been experimenting with VR well ahead of Hollywood getting a grip on it and producers like Erika Lust can be more tech-savvy than directors in the ‘mainstream’.

And when it comes to photo-realistic representations of the world, you need only look to the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator which allows players to fly virtually anywhere in a virtually created world that looks almost exactly like our own. The jump to realistic virtual avatars rendered into our world by things like Facebook’s Project Aria and Oculus Quest 2 headset is not a huge one. It just takes a will to build these things and when it comes to getting money from horny humans there is always a will.

In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s prophetic and brilliant novel, the Metaverse — a version of the internet where avatars (representations of the real person rendered with their chosen customisations if the user is rich or generic, off-the-shelf and crudely rendered options if they’re not) are the vehicle for navigating rich virtual spaces is a key element of the plot. I think the Metaverse will end up layered over our reality and that the collectivism of things like Twitch will be harnessed by future porn performers.

During an age of pandemics, ecological distress, and rising human conflict, sexual scenarios where partners and groups can interact — through haptics, remote stimulation and other means — in virtual environments and projected into real spaces will be compelling. Charging for these experiences and taking the current sex work model of camming and OnlyFans into more interactive and yet more distanced models aesthetically will become common.

The usual suspects will warn of these new technologies having an addictive quality and to some people they will. The issue that Japan already faces with young men who refuse to leave their houses will be witnessed across the world as certain individuals — not always male-identifying people — will become over enamored with their avatar selves and virtual partners, whether piloted by real people or driven by AI.

Augmented and Virtual Reality technology will inevitably leap the uncanny valley in the next few years. You’re kidding yourself if you think people will not use it to have sex and to get paid for having sex. The history of humans and how they use their genitals shows it’s 100% going to happen.

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Writer, editor and internet arguer.

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