You’re lying back, immobile. You can move your head, but the rest of your body is unresponsive. A man you’ve never seen before walks into the room, pulls off his top and starts to unzip his trousers. You have no ability to respond, or any response you make is completely unrecognised by the man in front of you. He is completely oblivious to any actions taken on your part.

As he inserts himself into you, you don’t feel a thing. He clearly does, and nothing you do is going to stop him getting wants from this situation. Eventually he finishes, leaving you immobile on the bed.

You’ve not made a sound, moved an inch or had any control during this.

If it sounds like I’m talking about the experience of being a rape victim, that’s incorrect, but understandable. I am actually talking abou the world of hetrosexual, female perspective, VR porn.

I find female perspective VR porn really unsettling to experience, and I think that’s largely down to the porn industry designing VR porn from a very male centric perspective.

So, let’s get this out the way off the bat. I have no problem with people employed in sex related industries, nor do I have any issue with pornography. Porn is one of those things women are seemingly not meant to acknowledge enjoying, but every now and then porn can be a positive part of life.

Usually, pornography is the experience of watching someone other than yourself having sex. Maybe they’re doing something you’re afraid to try, maybe it’s just new bodies, but it is certainly not going to convince you that you are having sex. Even traditional pespective shot porn has the borders of a screen to ground you in this being sex for someone else, not you.

VR porn tends to be a little different. By moving the perspective with your own head movements and removing the screen boundaries, it is explicitly trying to convince you that this is sex you are taking part in. This is where my issues start.

Where VR video games can estimate your position in the world, track your movements with motion controllers and adjust your body in game on the fly, VR porn is multiple angles of a single feed of footage. You can look at different parts of the footage, but you cannot interact with the world in any way.

Want the experience to speed up or slow down? Not a choice. Want the experience to spend longer warming up? Not an option? Starting to feel uncomfortable and want to stop? Not an option within the simulation.

For me, this embodies many of the scariest potential aspects of bad casual sex for women. It’s built to emulate traditional POV porn, without realising that the added immersion makes it much easier to project onto yourself as a viewer.

Watching someone else’s POV as they have sex? Explain it away as them being happy even if they’re not showing it. Make that my POV, it very quickly got creepy, unsettling and offputting.

I’m certainly not saying VR porn will never be sexy, but the current approach to female perspective VR porn doesn’t leave me turned on, it leaves me pretty uncomfortable.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. I work on the tech side of an adult company that is just starting in VR. I want to thank you for writing this, and I will pass it on to the producers/directors we work with.

    It’s such a new format that most of the industry is still just trying to figure out the tech. Focus on narrative and the experience of specific actions is something we’ll all have to pay more attention to.

    (also, sorry for the throwaway Twitter account… I’m not allowed to link my real identity to anything industry related)

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