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Five ways technology could change our sex lives

From sex toys to Tinder, technology is constantly evolving our relationships and our sex lives. As apps and hardware develop, we’re finding new ways to incorporate technology into sexual experiences. Whether this change is welcome or not, it certainly seems inevitable. Here are a few ways in which our sex lives could change as gadgets become more sophisticated.

One day we could be having sex purely for pleasure.

Leading scientists believe that one day we’ll be creating our children in a laboratory instead of in the bedroom. While we can already screen for life-threatening abnormalities and disabilities in foetuses, this process could become the beginning and end of conception. So as scientists get busy designing genetically perfected offspring, couples might soon be left without the need to have sex in order to procreate – meaning it would be purely in the pursuit of pleasure.

Relationships with AIs could become reality.

The premise that we could fall in love with our computers has become a hot topic in popular culture. Movies like Spike Jonze’s Her portray trans-humanist relationships in a tantalisingly realistic fashion. The idea isn’t as new as you’d think, though: studies on human relationships with AIs date back to the ’60s. Experts in the artificial intelligence field believe that, while we’re a long way off fine-tuning a computer to replicate the complex emotions required for real love, other intimacies could happen sooner rather than later. In an interview with The Verge, Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at NYU, commented: “It will be a while before we can have with computers the kind of complex emotional relationship we have with other people, but I imagine people having one-night stands with Androids will happen a lot sooner.”

Apps will decide whether your relationship will survive.

This one is already somewhat of a reality. Apps like StayGo act much in the same way as a fitness app tracks your health. Using daily prompts and relationship histories, StayGo creates a detailed and personalised view of your relationship’s health. The app also speaks to the way we increasingly use judgements based off a person’s social media presence to determine compatibility. So instead of visiting a relationship counsellor in the future, we may just be turning to our iPhones for the answer.

Consent will need a digital seal of approval.

Last month, the first app designed to keep a technological record of consent was released. The app, Yes to Sex, allows its users to ‘store’ their consent in less than a minute, in the lead-up to heading for the bedroom. The creator, mother Wendy Mandell-Geller, said the app was designed primarily for teens and was as much about initiating “conversations with their partners about consent” as “the use of protection in a modern, approachable manner”.

Sex is about to get emotional: really emotional.

Ever felt you needed a deeper connection during your lovemaking? Technology could make it happen. According to futurist Heather Schlegel, it would be possible for partners to use heat-mapping and implanted body sensors in order to broadcast snapshots of emotions during sex, making the experience far more intimate. Schlegel also believes this kind of technological development would help people working through emotional trauma or sex-related issues to rediscover the pleasure in intercourse.