But there was a real person on a computer somewhere in the world making her avatar have sex with my avatar by clicking a pink ball on the ground.
Still, says Machulis, teledildonics are “changing long-distance relationships for the better,” allowing couples to “finally be physical over the wire.” And, he argues, we “haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg” in the field of virtual sex toys.
Allowing separated couples to stay in touch, almost literally, is only one of the many positive aspects that virtual-sex advocates see in the refinement of — and increasingly widespread access to — cyber-sex technologies.
“One of the huge benefits is safety,” says Brenda Brathwaite, a veteran video game developer (whose credits include Playboy: The Mansion) and author of Sex in Video Games.
Kimberly Young, Ph D, who is the founder and director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in Bradford, Pennsylvania, agrees that virtual worlds can allow individuals to explore new types of sexual behavior.
But problems arise, she says, when users “lose their ability to control” that behavior.