InBedWithOcean uses virtual reality to explore aquatic sensuality.
Gently rolling waves, thunderously crashing surf, froths, and sprays, deep currents, and playful eddies—yes, indeed, the ocean can, without a doubt, be a sensual, very sexual place.
This face is far from lost on the team of Cathline Smoos and Aurélien Fache, who created a project designed to take the power and eroticism of the sea and make it part of an intimately arousing experience.
Pushing the limits of sexuality
Being personal for a moment, there are a lot—and I do mean a lot—of fun things to write about on the subject of the future of human sexuality here at Future of Sex.
But the ones that, without fail, bring a bright grin, as well as a hefty dose of respect for their unique approaches to the subject, always have the name Smoos and Fache attached to them.
More recently, we reported on the In Bed With Laurent Garnier project, which linked sex tech devices to the throbbing techno beats at the Nuits Sonores techno music festival in France, Smoos and Fache have shown time and again a wonderful playfulness in combining sex and technology.
And now they’re back with a brand new experiment: one that, as their press release puts it, has allowed them to gradually push “back the barriers of imagination, sensations and sexuality.”
According to Smoos and Fache, the core concept of this new project lies in the idea of Cyberesthesia, a term created by the French cyberpunk artist, Yann Minh: “a process that, thanks to technology, allows us to extend our sensuality to several realities, universes, in time and space.”
In the case of InBedWithOcean, this new reality Smoos and Fache wanted to explore was the sea.
Again from their press materials, they stated their goal as to “believe in the optimization of our sensual capacities, the technology here becoming a means, not to deprive ourselves of our sensuality but to transcend it.”
The first part of this exploration was for Smoos to use behavioral conditioning on herself to expand her sexuality by psychologically linking sexual arousal with the sea.
To do this, she worked to totally immerse herself in thoughts of the ocean:
I read poems, stories, listened to music, watched reports, followed by hashtags underwater, ocean, sea, whales. I made the ocean my number one fantasy partner, by including it in my solitary pleasures, I made love with ‘underwater sound 360’ in my ears.
The next step, to further amplify her immersion in aquatic sensuality and to block out any possible distractions, was to use a sensory isolation chamber.
Within it, Smoos also developed what she called a form of Pavlovian response to water, and the sea, by even further connecting her sexual arousal to it.
A bridge to the real world, the real ocean
As Smoos explains, that while the results of her self-imposed conditioning were positive, as well as very pleasurable, she wasn’t actually interacting with the sea but rather an artificial construct of it.
So to merge the real with their ocean-representation of it, Fache, in Paris, would monitor real-time nautical conditions and events and then transmit it as data to be received by Smoos, in Lyon, who was using a combination of a virtual reality helmet and an Internet-connected sex tech device.
The result? Well, according to Smoos is was more than she ever could have hoped for:
I let myself be immersed in a deeply oceanic universe for several weeks, months, and I accepted to be passionate about an element that extends over 80% of the earth’s surface. From this crazy race, towards a carnal pleasure with the Ocean, we have gradually pushed back the barriers of imagination, sensations and sexuality.
Without even squinting, you can also look at InBedWithOcean being in the same camp as technosexuality, in that Smoos intentionally developed a sexual attraction for the non-human.
More than this, however, their project brings up some truly fascinating ideas: including if she can develop sexual feelings for the ocean, then why wouldn’t it be possible to do the same with something, anything else?
Using identical behavioral modification techniques, it might even be possible to connect arousal and erotic pleasure to even abstract concepts such as job performance or, and we are definitely wandering into dystopic territories here, even if someone is a “good” citizen.
On a more positive note, and very much more in line with Cathline Smoos and Aurélien Fache’s experiment, the same methods can open whole new vistas of erotic exploration where we might be able to establish an erotic relationship with humanity as a whole, every manifestation of technology we could imagine (and not just humanoid representations), or even the universe itself.
The latter is actually even pretty easy to conceive: with the same sensory isolation chamber, virtual reality setup, but instead of the sea use real-time images of space and our galaxy coupled with sex tech tied to an array of radio telescopes.
In this way, the sky would be the limit—or, to be more accurate, the sky wouldn’t be the limit.
As Smoos said, this kind of thing might even be the key to unlocking otherwise unknowable states of “imagination, sensations and sexuality.”
And if anyone is going to be leading the way towards that expansion of human sexuality it’ll more likely be the sexploring duo of Cathline Smoos and Aurélien Fache.