Scientists: VR Porn Is Cheating

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Scientists: VR Porn Is Cheating
May 22, 2017

Virtual reality pornography, where users can seemingly experience porn rather than being an onlooker, could make extreme, degrading and abusive imagery more real, according to experts at Newcastle University.

 

They warn that VR pornography comes with added risks of sexism and exploitation of women, as well as escalating society’s obsession with body image - and that it's "just around the corner" for consumers. 

 

Their research has also found that VR pornography distorts the distinction between reality and fantasy. 

 

And it could also bring up issues over consent if users create VR versions of real-life people, such as former partners.

 

Madeline Balaam, co-author of the research, said:

 

As a society we are always looking for new and novel experiences but the porn industry brings with it an added risk because of its sexist stance and exploitation of women.

 

We are already obsessed with body image and the digital industry is no different, creating the perfect virtual woman from Lara Croft to sex-robots. VR porn has the potential to escalate this.

 

Our research highlighted not only a drive for perfection, but also a crossover between reality and fantasy. Some of our findings highlighted the potential for creating 3D models of real life people, raising questions over what consent means in VR experiences. If a user created a VR version of their real life girlfriend, for example, would they do things to her that they knew she would refuse in the real world?

 

They also say VR pornography is closer to infidelity.

 

Research lead Matthew Wood said:

 

One of our findings suggested VR pornography could be something more like cheating on a partner because of the increasing 'reality' of the VR experience. 

 

Woods continued:

 

We found that for most people the potential of a VR porn experience opened the doors to an apparently 'perfect' sexual experience - a scenario which in the real world no-one could live up to. For others it meant pushing the boundaries, often with highly explicit and violent imagery, and we know from current research into pornography that exposure to this content has the potential to become addictive and more extreme over time.

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