Newcastle University Researchers Publish Study on VR Porn

Newcastle University Researchers Publish Study on VR Porn
Rhett Pardon

SPITAL TONGUES, U.K. — A new study by researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K. offers some clues on how virtual reality is changing the experience of pornography.

VR, of course, is just in its infancy when it comes to adult entertainment. But numerous companies have created beachheads and are finding success in creating and distributing immersive content.

Companies like HoloGirlsVR, CAM4, VR3000, WankzVR, YanksVR and AliceX, among so many others, have jumped on the  bandwagon and currently are offering VR porn content, some of which is live.

And with VR catching a strong wave, researchers are finding reasons to write about the platform and its effects on consumers.

In the new study presented at the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Newcastle University researchers focused on “common cultural ideals” of a VR porn experience in their paper, titled “’They’re Just Tixel Pits, Man: Disputing the ‘Reality’ of Virtual Reality Pornography Through the Story Completion Method.”

In the paper, researchers asked 45 participants to write a fictional story around a hypothetical scenario, in this case a character about to have his “very first virtual reality porn experience.”

“In targeting those with only some or little experience of VR, we were interested in some of the commonplace assumptions made by ‘non-experts’ in writing around this scenario,” researchers wrote. “We present a thematic analysis of the 45 stories written by participants, suggesting how in some ways they constructed this scenario as a euphoric, ‘perfect’ experience, whilst others indicated a precarious nature to VR porn.”

Researchers, who said they took a “critical lens to a new sexual appropriation of digital technology,” noted that VR introduces “a number of moral and social issues” and can become addictive.

Researchers concluded that they 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 few could live up to. For others, it meant pushing the boundaries, often with highly explicit and violent imagery.

“We see hints of what VR porn might be, with prototypes and initial experiences being developed, but predominantly we are still at the point of a ‘proximate future,’ where we are considering what it could be,” Newcastle University researchers wrote. “Aligning ourselves with the future-orientated positions of speculative design in this paper we ask, ‘how do we envisage the impeding prospect of VR pornography?’”

  

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