An Obituary for Sex

Cyber

An Obituary for Sex

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

t’s unclear exactly when during the course of our evolution we started having sex, but whenever it was, we’ve unanimously loved it ever since. What started out as a simple means of reproduction has now come to influence our culture and society like no other anatomical function ever would (it’s not sneezing, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, is it?).

Over the years, sex has shaped civilisation – and the contents of my hard drive – in more ways than one can imagine. The thought of coming back home and absolutely going to town on someone has been behind some of the most far-reaching human endeavours, helping us through famine, through disease, through war and general chaos that is human history. All in all, it’s been a good run, and we should all take a moment to thank this lovable bodily function for everything it has done for us.

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Sadly, the future is as devoid of real sex as it’s full of artificial sexuality. In a world where isolation reigns and all the apps in the world are unable to actualise authentic human interaction, technology is persistently getting better at providing realistic alternatives to the real McCoy. This is as good a time as any to say goodbye to dirty offline analogue sex, because it’s soon about to go out of fashion.

Technology has always served as an aid to our sexual experience, whether it’s phone sex or VHS porn, though it isn’t just content with that anymore. Now, tech is moving to replace it – and fast. Virtual Reality has advanced enough for us to see a not-so-distant future where one can be anywhere one wants, and like all ground-breaking tech breakthroughs in our history, it was only a matter of time before someone asked, “Yeah but how can it be used for sex?” From independent researchers to established tech firms, VR is allowing us to rapidly advance our ongoing quest to make ourselves get off in newer ways. And where virtual reality takes care of the immersion part of it, Teledildonics (NSFW) fixes the… ahem… insertion part.

An umbrella term referring to all specialised gear designed to artificially replicate real sexual responses, Teledildonics, together with VR, will soon be able to satisfy all (well, most) of your sexual fantasies. I’m talking brothels you can plug in and out of whenever you want; virtual orgies with online strangers without any of the gross stuff spattered all over your house; the possibility of having virtual, almost-real sex with someone on a dating website before you meet them; and really immersive porn that can’t just be described as porn anymore. Combine them with sex robots all set to hit the markets way sooner than we expected, and there’s really no dearth of things we might be able to do.

Sex of the future will be meticulously designed to minimise its downsides, providing us with engineered, perfect alternatives to it.

In the face of this scale of artificial sexual awesomeness, it doesn’t take some kind of a sexual seer to see that the relatively primitive sex we’ve been having all this time doesn’t stand a chance.

That’s just the recreational part of it, though – what about reproduction? Actually, there’s a good chance making babies the old-school way will soon be frowned upon, as the tech that allows us to effectively design the babies we want, gets cheaper and more efficient. It’s not some really distant future, either; formative versions of the technologies that’ll eventually come together to make sexual reproduction obsolete already exist, even though they are expensive and not globally available.

Of course, that future is still some time away, but at this point, the possibility of it happening is as much as the possibility of the black character in a Hollywood horror movie dying a violent death. Even though we can sit through and enjoy the journey to that point all we want, we all know it’s going to happen sooner or later anyway.

Of course, we also stand to get rid of some of the non-fun things, like STDs and unwanted pregnancies. That also includes less serious but equally annoying parts of it, like bad sex, body fluids of other people, and the occasional crying in the middle of it. Sex of the future will be meticulously designed to minimise its downsides, providing us with engineered, perfect alternatives to it.

But the thing about technology is, that while it does away with things that we don’t like, it also inadvertently loses the stuff that we do. The bad positions, the body fluids, even the crying – all of it comes together to make sex the inherently human act that it is. The intimacy, uncertainty, disappointment, adventure, joy, and other countless human emotions (the chase, oh the delicious chase!) that accompany sex are what make it worth it.

All of these elevate it to the cultural phenomenon it is, rather than just another thing our bodies are capable of performing. Would we give it all up for realistic dildos and Westworld-esque sex robots?

Count me out.

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