With virtual environments becoming more prevalent every day, it’s no surprise that dating, sex, and relationships are evolving so we can connect using the latest technology.
Let’s take a closer look at the way people will be using the future internet to date and have virtual sex, and how virtual reality in the dating sphere raises moral and legal questions about acceptable online behavior.
Dating in Virtual Reality
What if you could go on a first date in virtual reality? How about mini-golfing on the moon, or taking a virtual trip to the Louvre in Paris?
Using virtual reality platforms to date is a great way for people to share immersive experiences, even if they’re on opposite sides of the world.
On the dating app Planet Theta, which will be launching in early 2023, people can meet others and date in beautiful virtual spaces like an open-world enchanted forest, or go out to dance clubs or bars with friends. Other VR dating services include Flirtual and Nevermet.
In the virtual reality dating scene, your avatar can be anything that reflects your personality and interests — including animals, pop culture icons, or robots. The possibilities are limitless, and VR dating is a safe and fun way for people to experiment with their sexuality or gender identity.
A report from Imperial College Business School and eHarmony predicted that we’ll be able to go on full-sensory virtual dates by the year 2040.
Navigating Virtual Sex in the Future Internet
The metaverse — a new, experiential, immersive internet where we’ll use avatars to work, learn, and play across persistent environments — also offers people a way to explore sexuality safely.
Sex in the metaverse could mean things like:
● Augmenting “real world” sex
● Having sex in the metaverse with a virtual partner
● Watching immersive porn in virtual reality
● Using haptic suits and real-world sex toys that work with VR
It’s possible that interacting with a romantic partner in the metaverse could feel even more intimate than real-world interactions.
Bryony Cole, founder of Future of Sex, says, “Virtual worlds lean heavily on emotional and intellectual intimacy in place of physically being present with one another in the same space.”
Additionally, the metaverse can make relationships more accessible to everyone.
“Some people simply don’t have access to romantic relationships, whether it’s social anxiety, introversion, mobility issues, etc.,” says Ela Darling, VR porn entrepreneur and marketing director at VIRO Playspace. “They will be able to meet and interact with people in the metaverse from the safety and comfort of their home.”
Legal and Ethical Considerations of Dating and Sex in the Future Internet
Theoretically, VR and metaverse technologies let people live out all their sexual fantasies, but there are legal issues to iron out so we can make virtual environments safe for everyone.
For instance, I believe that if something isn’t allowed in the real world — like touching someone without their consent — it shouldn’t be legal in the metaverse, either. There have already been reports of sexual harassment and inappropriate virtual touching in Meta’s VR platform, Horizon Worlds.
Regulations and laws — whether that oversight comes from the government or tech companies themselves — need to catch up quickly as virtual dating and connection become more common.