Whenever a new form of technology is introduced, people will find a way to marry it with sex and porn. Of course, virtual reality (“VR”) is no exception – with the technology being capable of delivering immersive environments, it’s no surprise that there is now demand for a more novel sexual experience.
One brothel in Berlin, Germany, called ‘Cybrothel’ said it wanted to “revolutionise” the way we think about, and have sex. The place not only offers robot sex dolls that supposedly have realistic human voices, but it also merges them with VR technology to bring them to life.
“We are the future of sex,” owner Phillipp Fussenegger said in an interview.
VR sex: Now comes in all positions
VR porn is not new, and neither are brothels with sex dolls. But Cybrothel has combined both to make sex with bots as real and stimulating as possible. Fussenegger, who is a filmmaker himself, also owns a film production company called Fun Fair Films that has created movies about the intersection of sex and technology.
“I’ve always been quite intrigued by this idea of creating an art exhibition space where people have sex with the artwork. So, to create a space where humans can interact with machines to expand their horizons and further explore their sexuality is why it’s created,” Fussenegger told The Chainsaw.
How does VR sex work?
At the brothel, a customer selects their desired service, puts on a VR headset, and goes wild.
A ‘selection’ of sex dolls with diverse physical and personality traits were available for customers: blonde, brunette, busty, dominant, submissive – take your pick. Right now, as chatter surrounding the Barbie movie continues, there were also life-sized Barbie and Ken sex dolls.
Fussenegger also noted that people were more accepting of the idea of having intercourse with a machine.
“I made a short film ten years ago, and I had to buy a sex doll for it. I got one at the sex shop and at the time, it was super weird and strange… people looked at me like I was a freak,” he shared with The Chainsaw.
“Our goal is to also make our business very transparent, and change the impression people have of brothels and sex workers.
“Everyone feels comfortable coming here, doesn’t matter what gender… a while ago we had an event, and about 80 percent of attendees were women,” Fussenegger added.
“The brothel has both audio and visual devices that are connected to an external control room where an operator is able to hear and see you,” Fussenegger told The Sun.
VR porn: An expensive endeavour
The amount of infrastructure needed to run a VR brothel is no small business venture. Purchasing one life-sized sex doll costs at least thousands. Per Sexyland, a “Lifelike Chubby Female Sex Doll” is available for $3,390.
Multiple VR headsets, high-speed WiFi, and having to constantly upgrade the robot sex dolls means prices at the VR brothel wouldn’t be cheap.
Sexting with its AI chatbots is free, and a 60-minute VR lovemaking session with two sex dolls starts at 129€ (AU$215) depending on your doll of choice and its condition. One ‘Night Session’ with your favourite doll with an interactive voice starts at 530€ (AU$879) per night.
Cybrothel’s co-founder, Matthias Smetana, also shared with The Chainsaw that one of the biggest challenges of running the venue was recruiting staff who were knowledgeable in both sex and tech spaces.
“It’s a high-risk investment, and game developers typically are more drawn to working for studios that make AAA titles, for example. It’s also difficult to find staff who know how to clean up robot sex dolls,” he explained.
Cybrothel works with Badoink, a VR porn production company, to offer a catalogue of sexy VR environments and experiences to enthusiastic customers. The catalogue is updated weekly, too, so things stay hot and fresh.
Sex and future technology
Emerging technologies like VR and AI continue to serve fascinating use cases in the bedroom. Now, experts were even arguing that such sophisticated technology actually allows the brain to feel more sensual stimulation, sometimes even more than what humans are capable of providing.
In September, a study by researchers revealed that 10 percent of all conversations with AI chatbots to date were about erotic roleplay.
“We see the damaging and harmful impact that technology can have, and how it distorts how people think and feel about sex. We know the impact that porn can have on the body, on arousal, and on our expectations of sex,” Georgia Grace, a Sydney-based sexologist, told The Chainsaw in a prior interview.
“However, when we talk about this area, we rarely can talk about it in binaries – it’s neither good nor bad… There’s just so much to consider.
“There can be a context where it’s fun, playful, kinky, and hot for someone, and then there can certainly be a time where things are taken too far and [people] are not engaging and connecting with others [in real life],” Grace adds.