Rated M for MatureKnocking Pixels: The Evolution of CybersexRated M for Mature - RSS 2.0
The fact is, it's not at all surprising to find cybersex running rampant in virtual worlds. Sex is among the first uses for any new technology; the first dirty pictures were being shot almost as soon as the camera was invented. Though politicians may have their knickers in a twist over games' sexual content, it's only to be expected that virtual knickers would come off almost as soon as they appeared.
But real knickers are coming off now, too. Kyle Machulis, who goes by the name of qDot Bunnyhug in Second Life and runs MMOrgy.com, a web site devoted to all things cybersexual, recently demonstrated his prototype "teledildonics" line of sex toys that can be controlled from within virtual worlds or other videogames. Often attached to console controllers (one such device has come to be known as the "seXbox"), the sex toys are controlled by a user at one end of a network connection and enjoyed by a user at the other. To Machulis, such devices are not mere diversions, but can be used to bring people closer together who, for whatever reason, aren't able to be in the same room together. Read more (if you dare) at Slashdong.org.
It may be that new technologies like teledildonics are moving cybersex out of the realm of the naughty and into the area of intimacy. Just as sex in the physical world can be an expression of love, not just lust, cybersex may be coming into its own as part of some relationships. In any case, it's come a long way, baby. It certainly makes Hot Coffee look like a very tepid drink.
Mark Wallace can be found on the web at Walkering.com. His book with Peter Ludlow, Only A Game: Online Worlds and the Virtual Journalist Who Knew Too Much, will be published by O'Reilly in 2006.