The repeal of Roe. This reality, unfolding before our eyes, is impossible to fully grasp. It undoubtedly has profound implications for American lives both inside and outside the bedroom. The sexual relationships of fertile Americans have been dealt a serious blow, although sex tech is poised and ready to pick up the pieces. As intimate relationships become riskier, sex tech is quickly becoming formidable competition for human sex partners.
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As a sex therapist having spent more than two decades talking with people about the most personal aspects of their lives, I know the importance of sex in romantic relationships. Sex is the one element separating intimate relationships from all others. People are willing to devote countless hours and hundreds if not thousands of dollars to therapy to improve their sex lives. After all, sexual connection is the most intimate act between two people. It’s a profound way we give and receive love. It makes us feel vital and alive—moments that help make life worth living. For most heterosexual couples, an indispensable aspect of intimacy is penile-vaginal intercourse.
In spite of the importance of sex, a sexual connection is surprisingly fragile. I’ve witnessed repeatedly how if something—anything—impacts a person, it has the potential to impact the quality of their sex. That’s because sex is when we are most open and vulnerable. We aren’t hiding behind a public persona, an emotional wall of protection, or even the safety of clothing. In this way, intimacy is intricately responsive to life circumstances.
The impact of Roe’s repeal
As such, the loss of abortion rights in some states creates a massive disruption to human intimacy. Penile-vaginal intercourse now has the potential to rewrite a person’s entire life, eliminating a woman’s agency over her body and her future. Most people would agree that one act of intercourse, no matter how thrilling, isn’t worth that. In fact, I would guess that most would feel that one ecstatic act of intercourse isn’t even worth the complete alteration of a single year of their lives. To top it off, most sex is far from euphoric—sometimes it’s even boring.
So, the real swap for a fertile female and her partner today is more likely to be exchanging a less than memorable act of penile-vaginal intercourse for forced pregnancy and a rewrite of their entire future. Of course, for those wishing to be parents, this exchange is sublime. But since most intercourse occurs between people not trying to conceive, many folks, regardless of their biological sex, will decide that sex is just not worth the risk.
Sex tech is safe and risk-free
Enter sex tech, perfectly poised to pick up the pieces. For many people, sex tech is just what the doctor—or in this case, the judge—ordered. Regardless of your sex organs, sex tech aims to please. High-tech vibrators able to thrill all genital shapes and sizes, intense and realistic virtual reality porn, avatar sex on simulation sites, and apps supporting any sexting interest—all options are safe, risk-free, super-stimulating, and now—most importantly—without any complications in the morning.
At first blush, this may seem an exaggeration. Sex tech has been around a while, and so far most people still prefer human partners. But advancing sex tech promises to be even more potent. Couple this with the suddenly intensified risks of intercourse, we are witness to a stake in the heart of human intimacy. Researchers are already observing shifts (downturns) in people’s intimate lives. Folks of all ages are having less sex than in decades past. Uncommitted people are dating less. People of all ages are spending less time with each other, and more time with their devices. I am aware of no research suggesting that people’s sex lives are improving. Intimacy with a human partner is already giving way to intimacy with technology.
It seems clear that since the risks inherent in old-fashioned intercourse have been amplified exponentially by the repeal of Roe, then the safe, risk-free, and intense sexual gratification promised by sex tech becomes even more compelling. Having sex with tech means you maintain agency of your body and your life. Sounds straightforward to me.
A few months ago, when abortion was still a human right in the U.S., sex tech provided opportunities to enhance our intimate relationships, intensify our excitement, and provide creative sexual experiences. Today, for many people across the U.S., sex tech may be much more, offering what human partners can’t. Today, sex tech may be the only way to have risk-free ecstasy.
I don’t normally offer stock advice, but now may be the time to invest in sex tech—the future of intimacy.