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Pornhub Officially Launches Virtual Reality Channel, Gives Away 10,000 Headsets

Pornhub is back at it with normalizing porn in our society, this time by embracing the disturbing new wave of porn in our society: virtual reality pornography.

The mega porn site is the 65th most visited site on the internet, and just announced that it has launched a free virtual reality section—a first in the porn industry. Pornhub announced its partnership with online adult entertainment business BaDoinkVR to offer free 360-degree porn clips. The world’s biggest porn site attracts over 60 million visitors per day, and has over four million members paying for content through their membership subscription program.

Pornhub is featuring their virtual reality videos optimized for both Android and iOS mobile devices, playable through most virtual reality headsets such as Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard with smartphones. To promote the launch, Pornhub is giving away 10,000 Google Cardboard prototypes.

According to an interview with Fortune Magazine, investment analyst Travis Jakel reports that adult virtual reality content is forecasted to be a $1 billion business by 2025, the third biggest sector behind video games and NFL-related content. Jakel speculates 3% of virtual reality users will pay $35 on average for adult content in 2016, accounting for $13 million of the total market.

Related: Futurologist Says Sex With Robots Will Become Reality By 2050

What exactly is virtual reality porn?

Not too long ago, gamer blog Kotaku posted an article from one of its writers titled, ‘I Tried V.R. Porn, And It Was Weird.’

It is an unfortunate truth that whenever technology advances, porn is not far behind. It seems like with the advent of every new device or app, it isn’t long before there are those who develop pornographic content to be viewed with it.

The goal of virtual reality in gaming is to create an experience so all consuming that the user feels like they are truly playing in another reality. Due to the recent advances in V.R. tech, it is now starting to become a possibility for people to have (seemingly) real sexual experiences in a virtual environment.

Needless to say, the prospect of virtual reality porn is definitely concerning to those who know the harms of pornography and that sex should be with a real person, not some alternate reality hologram type thing. It is even more concerning to those who understand the massive negative effects this could have on human sexuality and intimate, interpersonal relationships. When this powerful technology is coupled with porn, the brain (and body) is literally being tricked into thinking it is having a real sexual experience.

The author of the article, Nathan Grayson, gives about his experience with virtual reality porn:

She got close. Really close. If she were a real person, we’d have been nose-to-nose. It was weirdly uncomfortable. My brain—only partially aware that what it was experiencing wasn’t real—surged its synapses with mixed signals, ones usually reserved for awkward encounters with actual humans. “Who is this person? You just met her. Why is she right in your face? Please step back please step back please step back she’s not stepping back. Why can’t you step back?” I could count the moments of eye contact in eternities, it felt so awkward.

Isn’t that crazy?! And like, super unnatural? Even unhealthy? What would our world be like if people never had to leave their house to have a (seemingly) intimate “human” encounter? What would that do to the natural and nurtured barriers of what is okay when interacting with a real human being? What would it be like to interact sexually with something that couldn’t interact back, and then go back to being with a real human partner?

And that’s not even the end of it. Check out what the author described next:

The illusion that she was a real human broke when she got even closer. My body was so confused by the lack of heat—no warm breath on the nape of my neck, not even a single heartbeat—that I felt it as a phantom sensation. I realized that I didn’t feel like I was with another person so much as I was being “stroked” by the intangible ghost hand of some eerie automaton, a one-size-fits-all skeleton wearing intimacy’s skin, paying no heed as said skin sloughed away to reveal its true nature.

Wow. How sad (and weird) is that?

Besides it being a little eery to read, let’s talk about the facts and why this is all very harmful.

Porn promises a virtual world filled with sex, sex, and more sex; better sex, endless sex, and new sex. What porn doesn’t mention, however, is that the further a user goes into that fantasy world, the more likely their reality is to become just the opposite.[1] Meaning, porn often leads to less sex and less satisfying sex.[2] And for many users, porn eventually means no sex at all.[3]

How does this happen? Because when a person is watching porn, the sexual roadmaps in their brain are being redrawn.[4] When a person has a sexual experience that feels good, their brain creates a map to get them back there. And since our brains crave new experiences (that includes images), brain maps that lead to something new and exciting are rewarded with an extra dose of brain chemicals that make us feel good while strengthening those brain pathways.[5]

Here’s the catch: our brain maps either use it or lose it.[6] Just like a hiking trail will start to grow over if it’s not getting walked on, brain pathways that don’t get traffic start to get weaker. So when a person starts looking at porn, they first create and then strengthen brain pathways linking feeling aroused with images of porn.[7] Meanwhile, the pathways connecting arousal with things like actually seeing, touching, or cuddling with their partner aren’t getting used. Pretty soon, natural turn-ons aren’t enough, and many porn users find they can’t get aroused by anything but porn.[8]

We don’t think it’s cool to bottle up and prepackage something as meaningful as sex into a “virtual experience.” But regardless of opinion, science has already shown that this new world of virtual reality porn will have some serious real life effects in people’s relationships and interactions.

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What YOU Can Do

If you aren’t okay with porn and where it is headed, SHARE this article. Help people to make an informed decision regarding pornography by spreading the word on its harmful effects.


Sources:

[1] Paul, P. (2010). From Pornography to Porno to Porn: How Porn Became the Norm. In J. Stoner and D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (pp. 3–20). Princeton, N.J.: Witherspoon Institute.
[2] Bridges, A. J. (2010). Pornography’s Effect on Interpersonal Relationships. In J. Stoner and D. Hughes (Eds.) The Social Costs of Pornography: A Collection of Papers (pp. 89-110). Princeton, NJ: Witherspoon Institute; Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 153; Zillmann, D. (2004). Pornografie. In R. Mangold, P. Vorderer, and G. Bente (Eds.) Lehrbuch der Medienpsychologie (pp.565–85). Gottingen, Germany: Hogrefe Verlag;
[3] Robinson, M. and Wilson, G. (2011). Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction: A Growing Problem. Psychology Today, July 11.
[4] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 103.
[5] Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered in the Context of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 116.
[6] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 59.
[7] Hilton, D. L. (2013). Pornography Addiction—A Supranormal Stimulus Considered in the Context of Neuroplasticity. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 3:20767; Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself. New York: Penguin Books, 101.
[8] Robinson, M. and Wilson, G. (2011). Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction: A Growing Problem. Psychology Today, July 11; Paul, P. (2007). Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 153.

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