Are you lonesome tonight? Not with this handy bit of kit...
Nonetheless, what has changed in the male end of the market is a major shift toward toys that are purely functional. To that end, the Fleshlight and the Tenga system – as vibrators always have been - are "pure" masturbation systems, without the excuse of even pretending the presence of a partner. Ditto the monkeyspanker, with its curious resemblance to a table tennis bat with a hole in the middle.
On the female side of the fence, there are new textiles and new colours – particularly dayglo. Pyrex has made its entrance as the basis for a new and arty line in dildos, with the advantage that the object can be left in the fridge – not the freezer! – for a couple of hours before any bedtime action. The emphasis on what sex toys are for has changed little although – with all that emphasis on ergonomics – each year seems to bring a new and even more far out shape to the bedroom. Nonetheless, according to Lovehoney, the Rabbit remains a favourite "must-buy" for women.
Other techie trends include the appearance of "fucking machines" – which look highly dangerous and are still more likely to be found in a certain sort of porn than in bedrooms up and down the country. That has begun to change with the advent of the Sybian – a snip at just over £1,000 – and no doubt the next decade will see further advances in this area.
Electro-stimulation is also on the up, both through the rediscovery of Victorian cupping devices, and entirely new systems such as the e-stim.
What then of the internet? While some would claim that it merely follows and reflects existing trends, there is a strong argument to suggest it has been at least in part instrumental in this latest sexual revolution.
From the early days of Usenet and IRC, through to sites and channels dedicated to particular kinks, the internet has worked to bring together people with previously rarefied interests and to encourage them. That is the accusation often levelled at the internet by the pro-censorship lobby – and is a particularly damning argument when it comes to issues such as paedophilia.
However, the reality is that prior to the internet, many sexual "interests" remained sufficiently unusual that practitioners could spend most of a lifetime without ever encountering anyone who shared the same kink. The effort required to go out and find even one like-minded individual was too much for most.
By contrast, the internet now plays host to sites that cover almost every kink imaginable, providing space for individuals to discuss with other like-minded people. At the more mainstream end of things, topics such as bdsm now boast sites such as informed consent in the UK which claims almost 150,000 members. In parallel with such sites, the BDSM scene has proliferated a network of munches, clubs and events that now provide real world back-up to what was originally stimulated into action online.
Swinging, too, is an area that has seen its popularity soar over the decade. Likewise "dogging", polyamory and all manner of fetishes. It would be too simplistic to "blame" such growth on the internet, but it has played a major part.
Been there done that... twice :-(
"For those who really do like the idea of simulating sex with a partner who lies there and does nothing."
They make marriage dolls now?
AC for obvious reasons
I used to be a member of bondage.com : a "lifestyle" portal style site catering to BDSM. It was somewhere I went as a country boy to feel admist others of my varyingly degenerate creed. It was a good place. over the last ten years, both it, and its competitors have become more and more mainstreamed as BDSM becomes more and more 'trendy' in the marketplace.
Genuinely non-normal people were marginalised for an influx of casual users talking about sex and furry handcuffs, and as a community we split over whether or not this would be beneficial to varying legal problems we all had, and while we argued and goofed off, something a little more sinister was happening : we were leaving, Most-extreme-groups first.
Our portal site started refusing photographs of our exploits : Whilst hosting adult and X-rated pictures is apparently ok, hosting pictures of 'violent content' suddenly became not ok You think a hand on your throat is hot? you're no longer welcome to post or discuss that. nevermind the bruises on your ass, or talking about your piercings. The vast majority of users that favoured the more exoctic depravities in the bedroom became marginalised groups. The influx of mainstream users further made certain fringe groups unwelcome : heavy latex fetishim, infantilism, people into role-play-rape, etc were publically mocked and derided on forums, and the undercurrent of unwelcome feeling came from site ownership : we were banned from discussing rape, violence, and a slew of other topics that cluster around BDSM.
Whilst this is happening, we see the rise of nannyism and intrusive moderation against the breadth of sexual rights in the UK : you can be as sexy as you want, unless its kinky, in which case we'll be seizing your computer, have fun!
You can say we're all heading towards a more liberated place, and the more normal populace are : average person X watches more porn with their partner, has more sex toys, probably has a more enlightened outlook on sex and sexuality, but please, dont convince yourself this is a population-wide broadening of views. it isnt. those of us out on the fringe are increasingly threatened, made unwelcome by the sites built to harbour our kind, and as sexual issues become more acceptable to discuss, so we find ourselves mocked more openly in the newspapers.
Average joe is having more fun in the bedroom. Good for average joe. Anyone kinky has battened down the hatches, is vetting their playmates, is worried about losing their job should their predilictions become public knowledge.
Virtual worlds and MMORPG
Thanks, idai...though if you'd checked out my record, you'd see that when it comes to Second Life, i tend to buck the trend. I'm a longstanding participant - and admirer - though i do question at times where that particular world is going.
You may see it as something beyond MMORPG's...and in many ways, i would agree. But its a point of view - and one shared by many longterm inhabitants of sl. Whatever else it is, it is not a swipe of any kind at virtual worlds.