Adult film maker Erika Lust
Courtesy of Lust Films

Feminist adult film maker Erika Lust says VR could help make porn more woman-friendly.

By Erika Lust
July 29, 2015

You know who the real “early adopters” are, right? The porn industry. Adult content companies have led the tech charge since the 1990s: Porn companies were, among other things, some of the first to deliver content via Internet and to process online payments.

So, with virtual reality quickly becoming one of the hottest areas in technology, it’s not surprising that porn is already using the new medium to its full advantage. After all, immersing the viewer into the closest possible thing to an actual sex act sounds appealing. But for me, the real issue is whose hands this technology lands in.

As with all aspects of the mainstream porn industry, when virtual reality technology is used by the usual people, it creates the same repetitive, boring adult content we’ve seen for years. It’s still just mechanical sex made by men, for men: gynecological shots, fake orgasms, tacky costumes and settings and zero narrative. There’s no heat, no passion, no context. It suffocates any chance to create a story. And from what I’ve seen so far in VR clips or scenes, we are still far from a transformative and enjoyable experience.

 

I have no doubt that consumers will jump into this new trend. I’ve tried the experience myself and it’s very immersive, very realistic. This is a new gadget that’s here to stay. Lust Films will soon start shooting our own VR experiments, but I will make sure we make something that inspires pleasure and desire. Hopefully we can use the new technology to truly engage users’ brains, reaching them through more than just the usual sight and sound.

I just hope the mainstream will push further than what’s currently on offer. Here’s what frustrates me about what we see now: There’s no sense of interaction. You can’t touch, grab, feel—it’s almost like a complete third-person experience. Alien.

It would be great to see VR porn that’s closer to what’s available in the gaming world. That industry has been far more creative and successful in their use of VR, allowing players to get fully involved in their fantasy of being an army cadet or Lara Croft. But the VR porn I’ve seen thus far sets off alarm bell that new technology will turn us into porn-consuming zombie junkies, sitting next to our lovers in the same bed, but not ever speaking to or touching one another. Of course, I’m sure increased interaction will be the next step for VR porn, but will people use it spice up—not replace—their human relationships? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Erotic content should have the complete opposite effect to creating a zombie nation of VR porn slaves. (We are already walking in the streets in our own plugged-in worlds, so what’s to stop the same from happening in the bedroom?) The best pornography has the ability to teach, to inspire us to reach out to another human being and explore their body, desires and pleasures. That’s the best part about sex—the intimacy you can enjoy with another person. And I hope that this most natural of carnal instincts will ultimately overcome the urge to strap on a pair of VR goggles.

 

Swedish-born adult film maker Erika Lust is the founder of Lust Films, which produces feminist porn such as Five Hot Stories for Her. She recently she gave a TED Talk on why the porn industry needs to change and launched XConfessions, where she adapts fans’ fantasies for the screen.

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