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Teledildonics ““ sounds like a great future

By Lara Loewenstein

Feb. 22, 2006 9:00 p.m.

Teledildonics. It’s my new favorite word. Try saying it a
few times fast. Awesome, right?

It’s almost as awesome as what it means ““ the
combination of telepresence (the experience of being present in a
real-world situation remote from your actual physical location) and
sex. In other words, virtually realistic sex.

They haven’t gotten the technology down quite yet. Quick
trivia fact: the term teledildonics was coined by Ted Nelson, the
same guy who coined the word hypertext. I just added him to my list
of heroes on MySpace.

Currently teledildonics are more like sex toys that can be
controlled remotely or over the Internet. You’d give people a
nickname that they could enter at a Web site, and then they’d
play with your sex toy however they please (usually this means
controlling the vibrations on a dildo or plastic vagina).

Personally, I’m not so excited by the prospect. It reminds
me of those people who set up lamps in their rooms, or their
outdoor Christmas lights, so that they can be turned on and off via
anyone on the Internet.

But these toys are getting better. The one probably most
interaction-friendly for multiple users is the Interactive
Fleshlight. The Fleshlight is basically an artificial vagina
compatible with a brand of vibrator called the Sinulator. The man
masturbates via the vagina and causes the women’s dildo to
vibrate accordingly. In other words, interactive cybersex play.

But reality aside, how teledildonics has been described, and how
I imagine it would ideally work, is as a video game for mature
audiences. Kinda like “Grand Theft Auto” with only the
hidden sex scenes. Except, while a video game gives you visuals and
sounds (and maybe a shuddering of the controls when you get shot)
teledildonics would immerse you in sensory feeling. Maybe someday
you’ll be able to don a body suit and goggles and be hooked
up to the Internet in order to play with people on different parts
of the planet, ideally without being able to tell it apart from

Just think about the possibilities. You could:

1) Have sex with your fantasy. Not only could you have sex with
the computer and program the computer to play Pamela Anderson, but
you can also program your physical appearance too. Those abs you
always wanted? Done. If you’re playing with your partner you
could also give her Pamela Anderson’s body, but that might
bring up some jealousy and/or body image issues.

2) Change viewpoints ““ just like you can on video games.
So you could be enjoying the stimulation of having sex with someone
while also watching from the viewpoint of a third person. So, if
you’re the porn watching type, you’re in heaven. And it
saves you the trouble of videotaping yourself.

3) Have orgies. I know, you could do this anyway, but not
without awkwardness and a risk of getting a sexually transmitted
infection. If they can make the game for two players, I don’t
see why they wouldn’t be able to make it for six. So you and
your friends could spend an afternoon playing video games ““
taking on any body type you want and then, well, playing.

4) Change genders. This one is actually really interesting,
though I’m not sure exactly how it would be possible. Some
claim this will allow people to experience being the opposite
gender without actually having to undergo a sex change operation.
While I suppose this is true, I feel that being transgendered is
more complicated than that. But, I wouldn’t mind feeling what
sex is like for a guy. And this has the possibility for being an
awesome learning tool. A friend of mine was telling me the other
day that a guy asked her how sex could possibly be bad for

Come on. Do you want me to list the first one hundred ways?
Imagine how much better men would be in bed if they honestly knew
how you felt.

5) Be ridiculous. When I first read about this as a possibility
for the future my immediate thought was: “I’m going to
give myself a five foot penis and seven gallon jugs. Then I’m
going to slap the computer around.”

6) You could have sex with yourself. It’s a personal
fantasy of mine. Hence, why I’m in an open relationship with
myself on Facebook.

7) Have ridiculous amounts of sex. It sounds lame and trite, but
most people that I talked to had the immediate reaction of telling
me that no matter how perfect the technology gets, this would never
replace real sex because they would know they were in a virtually
simulated reality. While I agree ““ I would still want to have
real sex ““ I feel that more options is always a good thing.
It’s like a change in positions, except that with
teledildonics, you could potentially change so much more.

Some people also claim this technology would give opportunities
to people with physical disabilities.

There are a few concerns and drawbacks. As someone pointed out,
it could get kind of complicated ““ you’d have to buy
the equipment and the software, put it together and install it, and
read the user manual. After all that something would probably go
wrong and you’d have to call technical support.

I can only imagine the frequently asked questions list on the
product Web site. “Is it OK if I get my body suit wet, or
will that cause me to be electrically shocked?”

It’s really too bad they haven’t developed this
technology yet, but I’ll give them props for trying.
According to a 1996 Psychology Today article, current attempts at
this were having issues mainly because people were being
electrically shocked as opposed to feeling caressed. It has been
ten years since then, and it’ll probably be at least ten more
until my fantasy teledildonic machine becomes reality.

A few other concerns include the negative habits people could
learn from such a technology. For example, opponents of violent
video games suggest that people could use them to kill an endless
number of virtual people. Or in this case, virtually participate in
activities such as rape and bestiality with a computer-generated

But while this is a legitimate concern, I don’t think this
is going to be a huge issue. As realistic as virtual reality gets,
you’re still going to know that it’s virtual, even if
you can’t sense it.

Besides, as one guy put it ““ teledildonics is worth trying
“for the word alone.”

If you would use teledildonics to give yourself three
nipples, e-mail Lara at [email protected] Send general
comments to [email protected]

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Lara Loewenstein
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