The Kids are Alright: The Future of Sex

Don't let sexual politics bring you down. The future of sex looks bright.

I have a girlfriend who has two teen daughters. I used to think this was a special kind of hell to get not one but two girls to raise. Not that I don’t like girls; I love them, especially these two. I just figured if I’d been sent a girl who was anything like I was growing up, I’d need to be medicated. Fortunately, the universe sent me a son and I’m doing the best I can not to screw him up.

But my friend with girls told me something that made my jaw drop. Even though neither of these girls is sexually active they, and all their friends, consider themselves bisexual.

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“Because they say it’s the person you fall in love with, not what sex they are.”

Such wise children already.

Now, this attitude may not fly in Kentucky, but the fact that a new generation in the land of my youth is proclaiming love and sex to be inclusive of any type of genitals, made me swell with optimism for our sexual future. One of their close friends, who was born a girl, has already unabashedly transitioned into the boy he always felt he was. Thank goodness his parents were completely supportive. I saw him the other day for the first time in over ten years and I wouldn’t have had a clue he was once called Emily. Best thing about it is his circle of friends don’t give a rats ass what lay between his legs. They adore who he is and he is surrounded by this big, accepting circle of teens.

Then I recently ran across the YouTube videos produced by the sassy, no bullshit vlogger Jessi Milestone. Her delivery is brash and so rapid-fire that I sometimes have to rewind in order to tell what she’s saying. But if her message of getting our shit together when it comes to giving and receiving good sex resonates with her own generation, then I expect there will eventually be a less fraught power dynamic ruling our sexual interactions. (BTW, she actually vlogs more about Star Wars than sex, but hey…)

I also see transformations in porn. Because of what female porn producers are doing with the genre, I’m going to give a little on my stance that porn might harm your sex life and ask you instead to consider paying for this higher quality stuff rather than bumble through the low-quality free fare of Xhamster or Porn Hub. Just as I give money to the websites that provide high quality content, so too should I consider the ethics behind porn and pay for goodness. A lot of the things I see on the free sites I would be horrified for my son to watch. They can be degrading and shameful, mostly to women. And who knows if that woman being penetrated in all three orifices is doing so of her own free will. Frolic Me, Lust Cinema and Make Love, Not Porn are good examples of women-produced porn sites that have smoking hot sex using actors who are well paid (or unpaid contributors) and enthusiastic consenting adults. Also, check out the Cosmopolitan magazine article that ranked our very own ER Magazine as a top site for female lovers of porn.

Of course, combine ‘sex’ and ‘future’ and many of us think ‘Virtual Reality.’ This isn’t so much the future as it is the now, with the estimated allure and revenue of VR sex predicted to be eclipsed only by video games and the American NFL. I’m both eager and wary to see where this sexual rabbit hole goes. I’m all for curiosity and trying out different ways to experience erotic pleasure; Tantra, BDSM, erotic massage, and group sex, are just a few ways to explore sexuality. But they all depend upon the real-life interaction between people. Touch, smell, and taste are absent in the virtual world (for now, anyway). So if we become practitioners of VR sex, will the appeal of sex with a real, body-imperfect human wane?

However, the experience interests me. Like anything marginally bad for us, like alcohol and tanning, I suppose it’s all a matter of dose. Besides, doesn’t this sound fun:

“Virtual reality has been nicknamed the empathy machine because it allows people to feel like they are truly connected to the action. It’s neurological.” said Holly Richmond, a somatic psychologist based in Los Angeles as quoted in The New York Times. “You aren’t just watching and thinking about it. You are feeling it, and it’s not just your genitals. There is literally a mind-body connection.”

Sadly, loneliness as a public health issue is increasing in urgency. The ‘Incel’ “right to sex” is just fucking bizarre and the result of misdirected rage from a group of men who feel alienated and angry within a culture marinated in sex and sexual imagery. Might VR sex be just what these guys need? I’ve said it before; we might all be a lot happier if we got laid more often. But what if you’ve got no readily available partner? Certainly, don’t get behind the wheel of your van and mow down a bunch of pedestrians like the frustrated dude in Toronto.

Another place to check out trends in sex is through podcasts. There’s an explosion of them on iTunes alone and I am an addict of their charms. How else can you cook dinner, do the washing and learn how to use the latest sex toy gadget? One of the best bets for dialing into our sexual horizons is The Future of Sex podcast by Bryony Cole, a woman on the cutting edge of sex and tech. For more great podcasts, check out these suggestions in Esquire magazine.

What all these things indicate to me is that we’re ushering in a new attitude towards all things sexual and gendered. Even though we see horrible headlines that confirm misogyny to be alive and well, I think the trend is positive. I believe that, despite my earlier ponderings over whether the #MeToo movement is shutting us down sexually, I bet it will ultimately empower all of us, women and men alike, to call out bad behavior, take responsibility for our own erotic power and sexual identity.  We will evolve to become more accepting and giving partners because our awareness of respect and consent has been brought into better focus. Let’s usher in this optimistic future.

Love, Karin

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