How Tech Will Change Sex and Intimacy, for Better and Worse

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Will our sex lives be better in the years ahead?

The answer depends on how we manage the risks and benefits of “sextech,” the wide range of new technologies that aim to enhance our experience of sex, says Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist and research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, who studies sexual behavior. Dr. Lehmiller is host of the “Sex and Psychology” podcast and author of “Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life,” which came out in 2018.

Sextech includes sex toys, wearable devices, virtual reality and robots. It has the ability to transform our lives and be a force for good, helping us explore our sexuality and boosting intimacy and connection with our partners. It also raises alarms about privacy and consent. Though some sextech is on the market now, it is very expensive, says Dr. Lehmiller, who expects it to become more widespread in the next 10-20 years.

The Future of Everything spoke with Dr. Lehmiller about next-generation sex toys, the evolution of touch and the potential risks of virtual sex.