How do new tools fulfill, expand, and transform sexuality? Is technology liberating users to pursue their true desires? Creating new pleasures, new pressures? What even is sex?
These are a few of the questions we tried to answer with this issue.
You can find the issue’s table of contents below. We’ve also unlocked a few pieces.
“Infinite Peepshow” by The Editors (full piece)
The internet has served Eros from the beginning.
“Algorithmic Arrangements”: A Conversation with Tom Quisel, Former CTO of OkCupid
The former top engineer at OkCupid explains how to take an algorithmic approach to romance.
“Freaks Like Us”: A Conversation with Garth Greenwell on Queerness and the Internet (full piece)
A conversation with the novelist Garth Greenwell about the impact of technology on gay sexual life.
“Polytechnics”: A Conversation About Polyamory and Technology
How have new tools changed how people discover polyamory, and how they form and coordinate non-monogamous relationships? To help us answer these questions, we spoke to the philosopher Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins, her husband Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa, and her boyfriend Ray Hsu.
“Access Points”: A Conversation with Bethany Stevens on Disability, Sexuality, and Technology
How has technology changed the sex lives of people with disabilities? We asked Bethany Stevens, a wheelchair-using queer sociologist and doctoral student at Georgia State University.
“RealTouching From a Distance” by David Parisi (full piece)
Ten years ago, a company set out to revolutionize the way men experience pornography. By adding touch to images and sounds, the machine they invented didn’t just change male sexual pleasure—it also transformed the labor involved in the production of male orgasms.
“The Mother of All Swipes” by Marie Hicks (full piece)
A working-class woman from East London invented computer dating more than half a century ago.
“Cracking the Clit” by Laura Frost (full piece)
A new sextech site aspires to solve the “problem” of female sexuality. But why is female sexuality still a problem—and where do its “solutions” come from?
“Tools of the Trade” by Tilly Grove (full piece)
Technology is transforming sex work by fusing new tools with old practices. It’s bringing new benefits for workers—and new risks.
“The Uses and Abuses of Politics for Sex” by Natasha Lennard (full piece)
In an era of orgy apps, how radical is radical sex? In an age when an online porn mega-corporation represents every possible perversion, what liberation is left in taboo-transgression?
“Home Invasion” by Ben Tarnoff
A child of the 1990s uses the early internet to corrupt his young mind, and loves every minute of it.
“What are you Wearing?” by Dominic Pettman
The internet is notoriously good at supplying porn for a wide variety of fetishes. But why is it so bad at providing the “sonic intimacies” of audio porn—and why should we care?
“Bad Romance” by Marta Figlerowicz
Men used to worry about getting replaced by robots. Now they’re afraid of getting dumped by them.
“Your Vibrator is a Spy” by Cameron Glover
Sextech is a rising industry with a major privacy problem. Smart sex toys might provide new tools for pleasure—and they might subject our intimate lives to new forms of surveillance.
“Set Operations” Personals (full piece)
We put out a call for personals. This is what we got.
“gitogether” by Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald
What if we could manage our relationships like Github repositories? What would it mean to apply the metaphors we use to think about developing code to developing relationships?
With photography by Gustavo Turner.