Beginning the journey

So last night I treaded where few men have stepped before, and taken a look at VR pornography. And oh boy, what a terrifying, murky, somewhat dank journey it was.

As a reviewer of virtual reality tech, it was one of those inevitabilities which I saw coming, but didn’t want to arrive. It’s a bit like waiting for a particular email if you make a mistake at work, or a particular text after a very bad night out. Yet times change, and it is time to bring in some new clicks.

And just to preface – it was just watching. No touching. Just saying.

Enter PornHub

PornHub has an extensive library of videos which are effectively the same as the others – potentially even the same actors and actresses. The thing is, they are not all ‘true’ virtual reality – they are all 360 videos. That’s to be expected, and I don’t particularly mind the wrong label – the public sees it as VR, and its what they search when they want the content. As such I accept the flaw for what it is and clicked on a video.

It was a POV video starring a brunette woman with a somewhat lovely demeanour and way of speaking. She kindly brought the male into the home and asked if I wanted anything. Naturally I was struck by her politeness, and kindly consented to her courtly proposals.

What I find striking is that, yes, it is a lot immersive. POV videos are usually designed to be more immersive, but actually wearing a headset and looking around brings a whole new element at play. It genuinely feels like you are there, barring the pixellated nature of the video. Then again, my virtual counterpart had an erection which can likely lift a truck, which somewhat broke the immersion. Well, for most people, I would think.

What not many people don’t realise is the black bars around you. For many videos, its not full video around you. You cant snap your neck back a la The Exorcist. It’s just darkness. Pure, abyssal darkness. As long as you looked vaguely ahead or down, then the effect is at play.

Some videos had a completely mute person, a bit like Gordon Freeman from Half Life. That’s great and all, but sometimes the woman is completely quiet, then it feels like a really adult version of Dora the Explorer, only instead of counting the coconuts, I was being asked if I wanted to fuck on a table. Followed by awkward silence.

Others had a circle below the neck which had the porn provider’s logo. Not going to lie, having a neck which proudly displays how many singles I can engage in sexual intercourse with did not add much to the overall experience. It was a bit like having a flashing banner at the bottom of a cinema screen, you just don’t do it.

Gone full Anime

I then went deeper. I clicked on the section which related to anime.

Oh god.

Thankfully a lot of them required direct downloads first, which meant I didn’t need to see some of them. But they have video previews, and it’s the sounds which change everything. There is nothing natural about them as they needed to be added in post-production. Including the squelch of pelvic thrusts, and the tinny moans of wide-eyed people.

Then it got weirder. Having a CGI penis is one thing, but participating in an orgy with THIS GUY staring at you is on another level:

Screenshot 2017-02-18 at 11.30.48 PM.png

Yes, it is THAT emoji for a face. I switched off soon afterwards.

I thought that was enough for one day. Overall I can understand why it’s the next stage of VR – it’s taking the next natural evolution for pornography.

As previously revealed in an article – Corey Price, VP of Pornhub, has his own opinions on the trend: “Virtual reality is rapidly advancing and transforming some of the most intimate areas of our lives. While there seems to be a seismic shift towards VR, probably because it’s still so nascent, we still anticipate regular desktop/laptop/mobile browsing on our site to continue to prosper. In fact, we combined the best of both worlds just recently and announced a free VR category on Pornhub chock full of VR videos for our fans to experience at no cost. All they need is a headset and they can give it a try. And while it may mimic real life sexual interaction, we all know it won’t replicate it exactly. Nothing will. Not yet at least….”

What a journey. Not sure I’ll go to the darker side of the web anytime soon though… At least, not the latter section.

Tom Ffiske

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