Tag Archives: future of love

Will Sex Robots Make Us Better People?

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I’m going to do it again. That’s right. I’m going to talk about sex robots. Do I have your attention now? I know it’s not the first time I’ve brought up this inherently kinky, but sexy topic. I doubt it’ll be the last. Honestly, there’s so much potential in this topic, sexy and otherwise, that I’m surprised I don’t talk about it more often.

There’s no way around it. Sex robots are coming, literally and figuratively. There’s already a brothel in Spain that employs sex dolls for customers. Companies like RealDoll are actively working on developing them. Given that sex still sells and there’s a lot of horny people in the world, the economic and personal incentives are just too huge.

Like any early technology, though, it’s going through some growing paints. It’s still a ways away from being refined, effective, and cheap. Like early cell phones and TVs, sex robots are going through that clunky phase where they seem more like a novelty than a practical reality.

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Eventually, we’ll work out the kinks, so to speak. I’m confident that everyone under the age of 30 will live to see a day where sex robots are almost indistinguishable from real partners. They won’t just look, feel, and sound real. They’ll be every bit as customizable and versatile as modern smartphones.

You want a meek, submissive partner who only lives to serve you? There will be a sex robot for that. You want a tough, dominant bondage enthusiast who makes you their personal bitch? There will be a sex robot for that too. The only limit is your own perverse imagination.

This leads to one vital question, which I’m sure hasn’t slipped the minds of those who still make weird faces when the topic of sex robots comes up. I imagine these same people used to think Twitter was a waste as well. Today, I imagine they’re still kicking themselves for not buying stock in it. It’s still a wholly relevant question, though.

How will sex robots affect society?

I’ve been dancing around this question for a while because I’m still not sure how to address it. Believe me, though, I’m working on it. I do want to keep talking about sex robots. I’ve noticed it gets my target audience uniquely excited.

However, there are others who think about this topic as well, sometimes more intently than even an aspiring erotica/romance writer would dare. The cast from ThinkTank, a fun and sometimes kinky YouTube channel that I’ve cited before, actually chose to ask that question in a different way.

How will sex robots make us better people?

On the surface, that does seem like a loaded question, if that’s not too inappropriate a term. It seems inherently bias that sex robots will only make people better. That’s like pretending ski masks are only used for skiing or that guns are only used for hunting.

Loaded or not, they do highlight an important dynamic of sex robots. It’s one that tends to get overlooked and underplayed, but one that has the potential to change society in a way that’s very positive by most measures. It has less to do with how we interact with sex robots and more to do with how they’ll interact with us.

Here’s the video that explores this discussion. I’ll give those who own fleshlights and vibrators a minute to collect their thoughts and steady their hearts. Take all the time you need.

At the core of the issue here is how the artificial intelligence within these sex robots is configured. There will be some that just obey orders. Like any appliance or gadget, you push a button and you get the effect you want. There will be a market for those sex robots, just as there’s still a market for old flip phones.

However, that’s not going to be enough for some people. I know this because those with vibrators and fleshlights still seek love and companionship. That’s because, in addition to being extremely horny, we’re a very emotional species as well. We are biologically wired to seek intimate connections with others. Incorporating that function into a sex robot just seems logical.

A sex robot with that kind of ability would do more than just provide the experience of sharing an intimate connection with a user. It’ll help people explore and develop their ability to seek such connections with others. It could be a teacher or a mentor of sorts. This is just one you have sex with and looks as sexy as you want it to be. There’s literally nothing unappealing about that concept.

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Beyond the teenage fantasy, though, there’s another aspect to that idea that ThinkTank didn’t touch on. It has to do with our collective struggles to explore and deal with sexual issues. Given the erratic nature of our sexual attitudes, it’s an issue that’s bound to come up.

Think back to the heath classes or sex ed you got in high school, assuming you didn’t go to school in Texas. Those classes told you what sex was, how it worked, and the body parts involved. Some may have even touched on the dynamics of sexual relationships. Again, if you got your education in a state like Texas, your experience may vary.

Just knowing about sex isn’t enough, though. Most of those students are still horny teenagers who don’t know how to deal with their horniness just yet. They don’t have many outlets to explore that feeling. Other than internet porn and each other, their options are limited.

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Now, imagine getting that same information from health and sex ed. Then, imagine getting your own sex robot to help you explore your sexuality. Whether you’re a man or woman, gay or straight, you have something that will actually guide you through the intricacies of having sex and forging relationships.

It may sound like a bad scene from a porno, but throw an intelligent sex robot into the mix and suddenly, it’s not just pornographic. It’s wholly pragmatic.

As the clip said, sex robots with AI could be programmed to help teach users to interact and understand one another. It could teach men and women to better form genuine, intimate connections. Compared to the lessons that movies, video games, and fairy tales teach, which makes it seem like everyone needs to be a prince or princess, sex robots would be invaluable towards molding healthy minds and genitals.

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So much of our struggles to get along, be they unequal gender dynamics or a poor understanding of what constitutes consent, stem from our limited ability to form relationships. They also may be a product of not getting laid often enough.

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again. There are a lot of health benefits to regular sex. When someone has a rich, satisfying sex life, they’re generally happier and nicer to be around. A society full of sexually satisfied men and women who actually know how to forge intimate relationships can only be a good one.

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It’s still impossible to know just how sex robots will affect society. There may very well be other negative consequences that I either haven’t explored or thought of yet. Whatever they may be, expect me to talk about them or write about them in my novels at some point. It’s just too sexy a topic to ignore. In time, nobody will be able to ignore it.

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A Second Sexual Revolution: The (Sexy And Non-Sexy) Possibilities

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Every revolution in history thought theirs was to be the last. They thought when all was said and done, the radical change they brought to society would be vindicated, ever-lasting, and celebrated. Through the harsh lens of history, those behind those revolution all have one thing in common. They all thought wrong.

Whether you’re fighting for the right to marry a squirrel or marching with Vladimir Lenin himself, those behind a revolution are often blinded by their ideals. They see the change they’re seeking as a new and proven method for fixing society’s many ills. Seeing as how every society in every point in history has had many ills, they’ve had a lot to work with.

That was the case with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. However, I explained in another post how this so-called revolution followed the basic formula of many other revolutions. Those revolutions are now pages in history whose effects have been either tempered, rebuked, forgotten, or overlooked.

It’s impossible to predict when, where, and how a revolution will unfold. The why, though, is almost always the same. There’s something insufficient about the current state of affairs. Whether it’s the government, the economy, or trends in movies, there’s always some sort of deficiency. With sex, the rules are unique, the stakes are higher, and the impact spans everything from how we do it to what we wear to get it.

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At some point, there will be another “sexual revolution” of sorts. It probably won’t be called that. You won’t turn on the news one day and hear that another sexual revolution has begun so everyone should stock up on stilettos and lube. As time passes, though, and we can look back with painfully clear hindsight, we’ll see just how revolutionary it was.

It’s not a guarantee. Nothing is when you speculate about the future. However,  current trends in technology are taking us down a similar path to the sexual revolution we saw play out in the 1960s. As those trends achieve certain milestones, our sex lives will be impacted. After that, all bets are off.

I’ve already talked about a few of these trends and their very sexy possibilities. The field of human enhancement, particularly with advances like smart blood, could give us superhuman endurance, beauty, and sex skills. A world where men and women can hump like porn stars on crack is definitely revolutionary.

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That advance is a ways off, though. Others like new forms of long-lasting contraception and new disease-fighting agents like CRISPR would bring their own brand of change. Some are even already here. There are two men living this planet who have a bionic penis. If you think that’s not going to cause some revolutionary ideas, then you’re underestimating how much inspiration men draw from their penis.

All these amazing advances are emerging at a time when we, as a society, seem to be getting more sexually uptight. We already saw how technology, specifically the advent of antibiotics and modern contraception, helped spur the sexual revolution of the 60s. So what kind of revolution will these advances inspire?

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Again, it’s impossible to predict. I’m an aspiring erotica/romance writer. I’m as qualified to be an oracle of the future as I am an astronaut brain surgeon. That said, since I write so much about sex on this blog and in my novels, I like to think I have some insight.

If a second revolution does start, it’ll do so when technology like CRISPR develops to the point where every nasty infectious disease that kept our collective panties on gets cured. That will eventually happen. The first sexual revolution in the 60s saw the end to some of the nastiest diseases we ever endured as a species. It just came too late for men like Al Capone.

As soon as we enter a world where there’s no debilitating disease like syphilis or AIDS to terrify us between the sheets, that will change the game. At the moment, we dedicate significant resources to teaching horny teenagers about the dangerous diseases they can get if they have more sex than what religious authorities and registered republicans deem appropriate.

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So what happens when those diseases are cured? Well, it’s going to certainly terrify parents who don’t want to think about their precious babies getting sweaty, naked, and loud as they indulge in the kinds of decadent orgies usually reserved for Roman emperors. Some will rally against it. Some may even try to prevent these diseases from being cured. That didn’t work in the 60s, though. I doubt it’ll work in the 21st century.

Without disease, the only real consequence people will have about sex is unplanned pregnancy. However, that too might become an afterthought thanks to advances like Vasalgel, which will likely enter the market within the next five years or so. Add this on top of improvements to IUDs, as well as advances in artificial wombs, and then pregnancy becomes a non-issue.

That’s not to say that sex won’t have risks. Even without the potential anxiety of disease and unplanned pregnancy, there will still be issues between the sheets. If there isn’t, we’ll create them. That’s what we humans tend to do with our caveman brain. Then again, with the emergence of brain enhancements, such as Neuralink, that too might be mitigated.

This is all assuming there won’t be other major trends in technology or society that nobody, especially not an aspiring erotica/romance writer, is able to anticipate. There’s a virtual 100 percent chance guarantee that such an assumption is wrong. Even if we can’t make that assumption, we can still entertain some sexy speculation.

That’s where the prospect of a second sexual revolution gets interesting/scary. It’ll arouse some while making others put on an extra pair of panties. That’s also where being an erotica/romance writer gives me an edge because it gives me a chance to blur the line between fantasy and reality.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will involve a new concept of what it means to be monogamous with someone. That concept may actually not involve sex, weddings, or legally binding documents either.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will emphasize intimacy more than basic pleasure. With no concerns about pregnancy or disease, along with enhancements to the body and brain, we can focus entirely on being intimate with our partner.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will expand and enhance the pleasure we experience. Between brain enhancements and biotechnology, the orgasms we feel today may be a mild tingle compared to what we experience in the future.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution won’t just emphasize pleasure between two people. We may end up forming intimate groups, linked together by a shared love and possibly shared thoughts.

Perhaps the second sexual revolution will actually temper our sex drives so that we can better channel it. We may emphasize control over expression, preferring quality over quantity with the aid of brain enhancements and biotechnology.

There are all possibilities. There’s very little chance that only one manifests. There’s a better chance that we’ll see bits and pieces of these ideas converge to create something that we simply can’t imagine right now with our caveman brains. It’s an inherently sexy idea with many implications, both sexual and otherwise.

So what do you think a second sexual revolution will bring? What can we expect in a world where technology and medicine expand our ability and understanding of sex and intimacy? I don’t usually get a lot of comments on this blog, but I’m very interested in hearing new ideas on this topic.

So please take the time to share your thoughts on this issue. I think it’s definitely worth discussing, if only to give me more excuses to talk about sex robots.

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A Disease-Free World: We’re More Ready Than You Think

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It’s such a frightening thought. It terrifies parents, priests, rabbis, mullahs, monks, and conservative republicans. People, especially young people, are having sex at this very moment. If that’s not horrifying enough, they’re having sex for fun.

They’re not doing it with their government-approved, religiously-sanctioned spouse. They’re not doing it to produce more babies that will grow into tax-paying, church-going citizens. They’re just doing it because they enjoy the wonderful, toe-curling pleasure that comes with sex.

The most horrifying thought of all, though, is that they’re doing it and they’re not facing any consequences for it. They’re not getting pregnant because of modern contraception. They’re not getting sick either because of modern medicine. There’s literally no legitimate reason other than stigma to dissuade people from having sex for fun. It’s such a horrifying thought.

Okay, that’s enough sarcasm for now. What I just described is an exaggerated extreme of the mentality of those who are opposed to a society that permits or does not punish sexual promiscuity. It’s a reverse of the thought experiment I pitched last year about a world where the diseases that used to scare people out of having sex are all cured.

I don’t think people realize just how much closer we are to that world than they think. Most people alive today don’t remember a world where the biggest dread wasn’t HIV. It was debilitating diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. To give you an idea of just how devastating they were, over 20,000 people died from syphilis alone in 1939.

Like small pox, these diseases ravaged generation after generation. Also like small pox, modern medicine eradicated it from our collective fears. In fact, the rise of antibiotics has been largely credited with kick-starting the sexual revolution of the 1960s, more so than contraception.

There are still some scary diseases out there, though. In some respects, those same parents, priests, rabbis, mullahs, monks, and conservative republicans can take a perverse comfort that diseases like HIV/AIDS provides a strong incentive to avoid excessive promiscuity. That comfort, however, won’t last.

 

In a previous post, I talked about an emerging medical tool called CRISPR and how it may hold the key to ending infectious disease as we know it. I also asked a question I’m sure the anti-promiscuity crowd dreads. Are we ready for a world where we don’t have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases?

There are people who believe that our society simply cannot function in a world where there aren’t any scary diseases to dissuade people from having more sex than the Catholic Church sanctions. On paper, their fears aren’t wholly unreasonable.

In a society with so much promiscuity, fewer people will get married. Fewer people will form the stable, nuclear family that every 50s sitcom championed. Without disease, why would anyone forge any stable family units? Then, there’s the children. How traumatic would it be for them if they grew up in a world where people just had sex for fun?

 

That’s not entirely sarcasm. That is a very real concern and I can empathize with it to some extent. A society without disease, but full of rampant promiscuity is just so different. Our society has always had to content with these horrible diseases. The idea that they would no longer be a factor just seems unnatural and uncharted for our species.

However, empathy or not, it’s also a sentiment that I believe is misguided. It’s rooted more in flawed assumptions about a specific cultural ideal than actual human biology. I would argue that human beings, as well as society in general, is more prepared for a disease-free world than the Vatican would have us believe.

I believe this because there is a precedent, sort of. In fact, this may be one of the few instances where caveman logic works in favor of our emerging future and not against it. To understand this, we have to go beyond the ways our hunter/gatherer ancestors functioned. We have to look at the practical aspects of these nasty diseases.

For a disease to be real nasty, it has to both spread easily and within a population of hosts that are able to infect as many potential hosts as possible. When you look at our modern infrastructure, or even our ancient trade routes, it’s easy to see why a nasty disease would choose humans.

It’s also easy to see why diseases would use sex to spread. Like eating, it’s a hardwired drive that built into every human being. The desire to mate is every bit as powerful as the desire to eat. Unlike foodborne disease, though, sex provides more opportunities to infect other hosts. On top of that, rubbing body parts together is a lot more direct than simply sneezing on someone.

However, while modern and even pre-modern infrastructure made sex an ideal mechanism for spreading disease, we have to remember that this situation is actually very recent. The ability to simply travel to other regions, meet other people, and possibly have sex with them is very new in the context of our evolutionary history. For most of that history, though, the story was very different.

That brings me back to the hunter/gatherer lifestyle from which all our ancestors evolved. Books like “Sex At Dawn,” which I’ve mentioned before, describe in great detail the particulars of this lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that, ironically to some extent, makes sex a pretty lousy method for transmitting disease.

This is because during those hunter/gatherer days, we humans roamed and foraged in small bands of closely-knit tribes. These tribes rarely interacted with other tribes because most were spaced out over large areas. Naturally, roaming lands and foraging for food makes it hard to stay in one place, stake claim to a territory, and fight over it.

On top of that, these close-knit tribes had very low population density, a limited ability to travel long distances, and no elaborate trade networks. That means that within these tribes, a sexually transmitted disease is rightly screwed. Sure, it can infect a tribe, but not much else. If that disease is fatal, it may kill the tribe, but it also kills itself as well. So if a disease as nasty as AIDS did emerge, it never had a chance to spread.

If there were any diseases, they couldn’t be fatal and they couldn’t seriously affect fertility. Like the common cold or the flu, it could only ever be so nasty. Otherwise, it never would’ve survived into the modern era.

Keep in mind, also, that the hunter/gatherer lifestyle was the lifestyle of choice for our species for nearly 90 percent of its existence. Our evolution and biology emerged within this lifestyle. That lifestyle was also conducive to some fairly loose sexual practices, many of which would make the Rick Santorums of the world faint. That’s why it’s not unreasonable to say that our ancestors had better sex lives than we do.

Those sexual practices were rarely conducive to the world of white picket fence type families that is so idealized by western civilization. It’s also not conducive to the world of kings and his multiple wives/concubines/sex slaves. That kind of rigid structure or hierarchy just doesn’t work in in a hunter/gatherer society. That’s why many practice strong egalitarian traditions.

This makes sense in terms of sheer pragmatism. In a society of hunter/gatherers where you’re only working with small tribes, you can’t be too much of a bigot. Everyone has to pitch in. Everyone has to share. You can’t be too big an asshole because you won’t survive without your tribe, nor will you have a chance to have sex. From an evolutionary and society perspective, it’s a pretty good deal.

In this context, human beings are already well-wired for a more promiscuous society. In fact, as “Sex At Dawn” argues half-jokingly, it may be better for us overall. You need only look at the happy, sexy lives that Bonobo chimps live. They have a lot of sex. They rarely fight. Even by hippie standards, they’re pretty chill.

At the moment, we humans can’t live those lives. Our world is too developed, too connected, and too vast for our caveman brains to make sense of. Add nasty diseases that can now use sex to effectively spread and it just isn’t pragmatic anymore, even if our biology favors it.

That may change very soon though. Once tools like CRISPR and contraceptives like Vasalgel are refined, those barriers are gone. We can safely exercise the same libido that our ancestors got to enjoy. What will that do for society? What will that do for the dynamics between men and women? It’s hard to imagine, but it’s a damn sexy idea that’s worth imagining.

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Neuralink: How Brain Enhancement Will Make Us Sexier (And More Loving)

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At the beginning of every year, millions people stand in front of the mirror, look at all the weight they’ve gained since Christmas, and promise to themselves that they’ll eat healthier and exercise more for the coming year. It’s an entirely noble promise, seeking greater health. It’s also a promise that most are destined to break.

Any effort to better ourselves, no matter how healthy or noble, is an uphill battle. That’s why the vast majority of diets do not work on a long-term basis. You can lose a little weight here and there, but it almost always comes back. Then, you hate yourself a little more, look for excuses, and go back to drowning your sorrows in a tub of ice cream.

However, it’s not entirely your fault that you broke that promise to yourself at the beginning of the year. It’s not even the fault of bullying, the media, or even food companies that insist on making unhealthy food that tastes too damn good. No, it’s the fault of one organ in your body. No, I’m not talking about your stomach either. It’s your brain.

Yes, your brain is the reason why you can’t keep your promises and stay health. Your brain is the reason why you can’t keep the weight off when you diet. Your brain is the reason why your body is shackled to unhealthy habits that keep our bodies flooded with greasy, sugary food and on the couch.

Naturally, this does affect our sex lives, our love lives, and everything in between. When we’re unhealthy, it makes it damn hard to get in the mood, sustain the mood, and make that mood meaningful. How can we when we’re craving sugar cookies, beer, and Netflix? Again, it’s our brains. It’s the reason why we can’t live healthier, sexier lives.

That brings me back to Neuralink. Yes, I’m not quite ready to shut up about it yet. There’s just so much to talk about and so many implications, some sexier than others. I’ve been talking largely about the big picture and the pragmatics of brain implants and brain enhancement so far. Now, I’d like to get to the sexy stuff.

Last year, I talked a bit about how I essentially shamed myself into adopting a healthier lifestyle. I went from a cookie-eating, soda-drinking couch potato to a guy who exercises almost every day and tries not to gorge on donuts every day. It shows in my health and my sex appeal. I can take my shirt off at the beach and be fairly certain that the women who see me won’t be disgusted.

That process of getting healthier was hard. My brain was my biggest enemy in that it fought me every step of the way. That’s because the human brain isn’t necessarily wired for a healthy lifestyle in an era where there are no famines and no hungry bears trying to eat us. It’s wired to basically do what makes it and the body happy.

Unfortunately, that often means eating copious amounts of the fattening sugar that used to be such a rarity in the natural world before modern sugar processing. Again, you can blame big corporations as much as the kale-eating hippies of the world, but the issue isn’t capitalism. It’s our faulty brain wiring that hasn’t been updated in 200,000 years.

Our brain is wired to value sugary, tasty foods that give us a quick dopamine rush. It’s also wired to maintain existing habits and mentalities over creating new ones because change is a stressful process. Being the crude piece of hardware that it is, the brain generally tries to avoid stress.

Naturally, this unhealthy brain wiring affects our sex lives as well. While we are a very social species, our brain often struggles between selfish and affectionate tendencies. That means that once the brain gets its dopamine rush from the sex and love we make, it’s generally pretty selfish about it.

That’s why we have men who will do a few casual humps, blow their load, and then look for an excuse to turn on Sportscenter. That’s why we have women who will just lie there, bark orders, and expect their partner to do all the work. That’s why we find ourselves in relationships where two lovers just aren’t on the same page, get bored with each other, and look for the next dopamine rush, whether it’s the pool guy or the babysitter.

It’s a sad and unpleasant byproduct of a brain that has been stuck on the same settings since the stone age and is at the mercy of crude, unguided chemistry. There are those who can overcome it to lose a lot of weight and form marriages that last more than half-a-century. Unfortunately, that’s the exception and not the norm.

That’s where Neuralink comes in. It’s doing what no diet pill, self-help book, or talk show host ever dared to do. It’s getting right to the root of these problems, which is in our brains. Tweak the wiring and suddenly, every weight loss guru is out of a job.

How would that work? Well, keep in mind that Neuralink‘s stated goal is to integrate computer technology directly into our brains to improve various brain functions. Well, that improvement part isn’t just limited to basic math and keeping up with the latest season of Scandal.

Picture the brain of someone who is insanely fit, like the Rock or Kate Hudson. How is their brain wired? How do they get themselves to do what they do? Well, we already know how to scan brains. It wouldn’t be easy to decipher the particulars of that wiring, but it’s not impossible. A neural implant would simply mimic that wiring, setting our brains up so that we have the right mindset for being healthy.

It goes even farther than that though. A neural implant means we’re not restricted to the brain’s traditional limits. That means it could, in theory, wire our brain in a way that makes us less hungry. We would no longer succumb to that powerful impulse to buy a dozen donuts every time we walk by a Krispe Kreme.

Beyond mitigating hunger, an implant could also wire our brains in a way that makes us feel an extra rush of dopamine when we exercise. Remember that so-called “coregasm” I mentioned when I talked about different kinds of orgasms? Well what if doing 100 sit-ups or 100 push ups gave us the kind of orgasm usually reserved for three-ways with cheerleaders and Hugh Jackman? You’d become a fitness junkie overnight.

The same extends to food. One of the reasons why we can’t stop eating all the unhealthy shit we eat is because it tastes so damn good. It tastes good because our brains make us believe it tastes good. Well what if a neural implant could make it so a bowl of kale tastes like a slice of chocolate cake dipped in bacon grease? Suddenly, eating healthy isn’t just practical. It’s a goddamn party.

So a neural implant can wire your brain in a way that makes you eat better, exercise more, and feel healthier. That’s all well and good, but looks alone aren’t going to make you sexier. You can look like an Olympic athlete, but if you’re an amateur once the panties come off, then you might as well be Al Bundy.

A neural implant with just the right settings can change that. Ladies, have you ever had a man just hump you for a few minutes, blow his load, and then roll over and fall asleep before you even had a chance to get wet? Well, it’s not entirely his fault. He’s still an inconsiderate asshole, but there is a biological reason for it.

In the brain, there’s this chemical called prolactin. It has a lot of complex impacts on the brain, but it’s what keeps a man from going more than a few rounds between the sheets. When his brain is full of this chemical, his soldier will not be saluting you for a while. Add the shot of endorphins that comes with a typical male orgasm and he might as well have a tranquilizer dart in his head.

Now tweak that brain chemistry a bit. Make it so a man’s brain isn’t wired so he’s “one and done,” so to speak. Ladies, you now have a lover who can hang in there for multiple rounds, keep the mood sexy, and ensure you that special trip to O-Town you crave. That’s what a neural implant could do.

It’s not just for the men either. Guys, have you ever had one of those ladies who, despite your best efforts, can’t seem to make it all the way to O-Town? Well, there are any number of reasons why that could be and not all of them are your fault. Many, in fact, are in the woman’s brain.

Using the same approach, adjusting the wiring for female settings, a neural implant could install the mental equivalent of an express lane to O-Town. That means that men can feel like Brad Pitt on crack when they’re making love, sharing multiple round-trip vacations to that special place of sensual bliss. How much better would your sex life be if your brains were wired like that?

Go even farther than that. Go beyond having the kind of hot sex that sets bed sheets ablaze. Get a little romantic and suddenly, brain implants become the most romantic thing that doesn’t involve diamonds and Hugh Grant.

It’s true. Love also has a powerful basis in the brain. There even this chemical called Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone.” It’s basically your brain’s way of creating bonds and enhancing intimacy. It’s what helps mothers bond with children, husbands bond with wives, and children with dolls. It is basically the chocolate frosting of brain chemicals.

Normally, hormones like oxytocin are secreted erratically and chaotically in the brain. It’ll emerge whether you’re making love to your spouse on your anniversary or banging your tennis instructor. Nature is just too crude and too immature to wire the brain in a way that really makes those lasting bonds stick.

Add a neural implant to the mix and suddenly, you can channel oxytocin like a biological smart bomb. You want to be more intimate with your partner? Well, you don’t need to go on vacation or buy an expensive diamond. Just adjust the settings of your implant and just like that, you’ve got more love in your heart than every Barry White song ever made.

Are you excited/horny yet about Neuralink‘s full potential? Does the idea of getting a neural implant now feel like the equivalent of a VIP pass to the Playboy Mansion? I think I’ve done enough to pain a very rosy, very sexy picture of the future. Now there will be risks, as there are with all new technologies, but I honestly can’t think of a risk that’s more worth it.

If we have a way to fix our inherently flawed brains, then we won’t just be healthier and happier. We’ll be able to love, make love, and share love on a level that no human has ever experienced before. Sure, it’s still a ways off, but with Elon Musk at the helm and Neuralink providing the platform, that future is within our grasp. I say it’s worth embracing.

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Cyclops And Jean Grey Of The X-men: A Prelude To The Future Of Romance?

Admit it. You knew it was going to happen at some point. I start talking about brain-to-brain communication, sharing thoughts, and techno-telepathy and eventually, I was going to relate it to comic books.

If you’ve been reading this blog in any capacity over the last year or so, you know how much I love comic books and superhero movies. I’ve also made clear how much I love X-men in particular. Hell, I even argued that Storm was a better female superhero than Wonder Woman. Make that argument on a comic book message board and you can expect a lot of angry responses, including certain remarks about your mother.

My point is that if I haven’t made my love of comic books and X-men clear now, then there’s not much more I can do that doesn’t involve tattoos. That’s why it really should surprise no one that I’m about to relate my recent discussions about the future of sex and intimacy to the X-men.

Yes, I know the X-men were created in 1963 and using them as a precursor to the future is like using old reruns of “The Simpsons” to predict the future. Then again, given the Simpsons’ track record, that may be a bad example.

Specifically, I’m going to focus on Cyclops and Jean Grey of the X-men in discussing the future of love and intimacy. They’re not just one of my favorite comic book romances of all time. I’ve also cited them before as an strong example of a relationship of equals. I’ve also cited them as a way to highlight just how mind-numbingly awful love triangles can be. Overall, they’re a pretty useful couple is what I’m saying.

Now in talking about them with respect to the future of love and intimacy, I’m not going to focus on the particulars of their relationship. There are plenty out there who despise this romance, just as there are plenty out there who despise every romance that involves vampires. I get that. There are vocal X-men fans who would rather see Cyclops and Jean Grey involved with someone else. I’m not here to argue with those fans.

Like every superhero romance, Cyclops and Jean Grey has been prone to many complications that go beyond bad love triangles. Look at any romance in comics. Without exception, there’s always some amount of uncertainty, drama, death, rebirth, and reboots. It’s just how comics work.

For the purposes of this post, I’m not just going to focus on what makes the Cyclops/Jean romance work. I’m going to focus on one of the unique components about it, namely the fact that Jean Grey is a powerful telepath. She can read, project, and manipulate thoughts and she doesn’t need future technology or hypnosis to do it. As a mutant, it’s just one of those talents she’s born with. In that sense, it’s definitely more useful than sewing.

Now Jean Grey isn’t the only telepath in the X-men or the Marvel universe, for that matter. She’s not even the most powerful. Professor Charles Xavier, who was played by the insanely-charming Patrick Stewart in the X-men movies, is often cited as the most powerful psychic in the X-men comics. However, Jean Grey is often cited as a close second.

I mention that to make clear that Jean’s talent for telepathy isn’t just good by comic book standards. It’s first team all-pro good. Why does that matter? Well, being such a powerful psychic, it’s hard for her to filter out the thoughts of others. She even remarked in “X-men Apocalypse” that she knows what everyone thinks. Not much surprises her.

This makes her relationship with Cyclops all the more intriguing in the sense that she develops such a strong romantic connection with him, despite being able to read his thoughts and sense his emotions. He, in turn, falls in love with her, knowing full-well she has this kind of power. There isn’t a dirty, deviant thought he can hide from her and he doesn’t mind in the slightest.

Think about that for a moment. Cyclops falls in love with a woman from which he can’t readily hide his thoughts. He can’t even hide his emotions from her. She’s even commented in the comics and in the movies on numerous occasions how she can pick up on his emotions.

Lying to her is impossible. Hiding his feelings from her is impossible. Now on many occasions, Jean Grey tries to make clear that she doesn’t read peoples’ thoughts without permission. The keyword there is she tries. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes she can’t help it. Just ask the recently-outed Iceman.

Regardless of how much Jean Grey respects the privacy of others, it doesn’t prevent her and Cyclops from forging a relationship. It also doesn’t stop that relationship from blossoming into one of the most iconic romances in the history of comics, culminating in X-men #30 where they got married. Even if you’re among those X-men fans who despise their relationship, it’s hard to deny that were pretty damn serious about their love.

Why does this matter? What does it have to do with the future of romance and relationships? Well, think about the dynamics of such a relationship. Cyclops and Jean Grey don’t just share love, intimacy, and legal obligations. They actually share thoughts, as in real, unfiltered thoughts. That’s a dynamic that doesn’t exist in the real world yet, but as brain-to-brain communication technology matures, it will exist soon enough.

If communication is the key to every relationship, then Cyclops and Jean Grey have a master set. With them, there’s no need to put thoughts and feelings into words. There’s no need to make these elaborate gestures to convey how they feel. They don’t even need to argue about it. Their own thoughts convey whatever sentiment they want, be it love, lust, or a craving for corn dogs.

How many relationships in the real world fail because two people can’t properly communicate certain feelings? It happens all the time. It manifests in all kinds of sitcoms, some more than others. Hell, it happens in my own novels, especially in “Skin Deep.”

In addition to those relationships, how many others form on a foundation of lies because two people don’t know what the other is thinking? Someone might think they really love someone. The other might just fake it to get back at an ex-lover or land some big inheritance. It happens and, because these thoughts can be hidden, they can’t know for sure how genuine the romance really is.

In a future where brain-to-brain communication is available and couples can wield it like Cyclops and Jean Grey, the entire dynamic of love and romance changes. There’s no need to carefully navigate social cues in an effort to figure out what someone it thinking, feeling, and wanting. Everything becomes that transparent.

On one hand, this means the self-obsesses douche-bags who see others as walking masturbation toys that breath can’t hide anymore. The pick-up artist, the ladies man, and the Regina Georges of the world are exposed for all to see.

On the other, it also means that people can be certain that they’ve found a lover who genuinely loves them. It means we can be sure that the thoughts our lovers think are honest and true. We’re not blindsided. We’re not mislead. We know because we can make our thoughts known.

From a practical standpoint, it means that society will have to reshape the way people find love, intimacy, and connection. For some, it’ll be downright scary, having to share intimate thoughts with one another. However, we’ve reshaped those concepts before. Remember, there was once a time when marrying for love seemed like a crazy idea.

As is often the case, though, popular culture tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to social and technological evolution. Star Trek did it with cell phones. Cyclops and Jean Grey may end up doing the same for romance. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with this iconic panel that highlights everything I’ve come to love about the Cyclops/Jean romance.

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Food and Sex: A (Non-Kinky) Precedent?

Loosen your pants and untuck your shirt because I’m going to talk about food and sex. No, this isn’t going to be that kind of discussion. I know there’s an entire sub-genre that mixes food and sex in a way that is bound to confuse multiple body parts. I’ll save that topic for another day. For now, I want to have a different kind of discussion.

Like it or not, knowing that some will like it a bit too much, food and sex are intrinsically related. They are both vital components in our two primary drives as living beings, survival and reproduction. We need food to survive. We need sex to reproduce. These are as basic a drives as any animal can have.

As such, it’s also fitting that both topics have their fair share of taboos and I’m not just talking about create ways to use whipped cream. Even our old, uptight friends at the Catholic Church have linked food to one of their moral sins. In the same way they condemn excessive sex through lust, they also condemn excessive eating through gluttony.

Granted, the Catholic Church doesn’t make a big deal about gluttony anymore. I figure they know that too many of their adherents have grown fond of buffets, McDonalds, and ice cream. They can still get away with condemning sex because the basic functions of sex still apply today as much as they did 2,000 years ago. However, that may not be the case for much longer.

As I discussed in an earlier post, science is rapidly progressing to a point where we won’t even need sex to reproduce. There will be far safer, less strenuous options that don’t result in stretch marks and mood swings. The most promising is the artificial womb. This technology is the ultimate endgame in terms of decoupling sex from reproduction entirely.

If that term sounds familiar, it should and not just because Gweneth Paltrow used something similar in a way to make herself even less likable. It’s actually a term that I’ve referenced before because it was used frequently in Ray Kurzweil’s book, “The Singularity Is Near.” I’ve lauded this book many times before on this blog and parts of this issue are closely tied to the topics he explores.

In his book, he cites advances in contraception as the catalyst for this growing disconnect between sex and reproduction. He’s not wrong to cite such advances because we’ve spent the last 60 years or so adjusting to a world that contraception has created. It’s a world where women and men have more control than ever in when and how they have children. Such control was truly unprecedented.

Considering how birth control in the past involved pulling out, crocodile poop, and condoms made of animal entrails, we’re still in uncharted territory as a species. We humans have never lived in an age where we had this much control over our facility. The rise of the birth control pill was ground-breaking in terms of its effects on society. We’re still struggling to build a new foundation with those effects.

There’s no question that contraception technology will continue to improve, as Kurzweil discussed. It may get to a point where we have a perfect form of contraception for men and women alike, one that’s as easy to get as aspirin and just as easy to take. Such a time would truly be the Catholic Church’s worst nightmare.

However, despite Kurzweils’ many discussions on contraception and fertility, he never mentioned artificial wombs. To be fair, it’s still an emerging technology with a lot of hurdles. Contraception technology is likely to take priority over the next couple of decades, if only because it has so much momentum. At some point, though, artificial wombs will enter the equation.

This technology will do much more than make it easier for women to avoid getting pregnant when they don’t want to, thereby freeing them up to just enjoy the toe-curling pleasure of sex. It will give society an entirely new way grow. For some, it’ll be strange, sterile, and cold. For others, it offers a bold new vision for the future of the human race.

It’s hard to imagine. As such, it’s easy for writers like Aldous Huxley to have overly-dystopian visions of it in his book, “Brave New World.” Even radical feminists and ardent traditionalists, most of whom are men, worry that this technology will render the other gender completely obsolete. It’s scary, I know, but there is a precedent for this sort of thing. Society can adapt to these kinds of dramatic upheavals. It’s done so before.

This brings me back to food. Here’s a quick question for everyone to contemplate. When was the last time you had to worry about a harvest going bad or not having any animals to hunt? Take as much time as you need. I’ll wait.

Are you done rolling your eyes? Good, because the answer to that question, at least in first-world industrial societies, is pretty clear. They stopped worrying about famine, harvests, and hunting a long time ago. Today, food is cheap, plentiful, and so easy to get that our primary problem is that we eat too much of it.

Compare this with 99 percent of human history. From hunter/gatherer societies to early agricultural societies, the most pressing concern from kings to peasants was having enough food. Every year, societies all over the world lived with the constant dread that a harvest would go bad and they would all starve to death. Famine was like a bad blizzard. It was just a fact of life that you had to endure, accept, and dig out of.

A lot of that changed over the past 150 years. Going all the way back to the 1800s, advances in agriculture technology and farming techniques allowed fewer people to grow more food, so much so that there was time and land to grow cash crops like tobacco, cotton, and weed. It happened slowly, but it picked up steam thank to someone others have called, “The greatest human being who ever lived.”

His name is Norman Borlaug. He’s the father of the so-called green revolution. He’s also the primary reason why billions of people aren’t starving to death. He worked tirelessly to advance agricultural science to a point where even non-industrial societies can grow abundant food, so much so that famine isn’t just rare. It’s an aberration that warrants big budget fundraisers.

As a result, the act of growing, procuring, and preserving food is basically an afterthought in our society. We’re at a point in human civilization where we don’t eat to survive. Hell, we sometimes eat when we’re not even hungry, sometimes for a holiday, sometimes for social purposes, and sometimes just because we damn well fell like it.

Technology gave us this luxury. Technology will continue to improve, ensuring that our growing population will never have to till a field, pick fruit, or kill a deer for anything other than sport. Food is no longer as vital to survival as having a job or knowing where the dumpster behind a fast food restaurant is located.

With this in mind, apply the same concept to sex. Try to keep your pants on, but still try to imagine the world that would emerge. Sex is no longer quite as complex in the sense that people have to worry about the physical, social, and biological implications. In the same way they no longer worry about harvesting food, they don’t have to worry about any major consequences from sex.

In this world, sex isn’t linked to reproduction anymore. It’s just a physical act that two people do for whatever reason they want. It can be romantic. It can be social. It can just be for the hell of it. That’s really all there is to it. There’s no constant worry that it will lead to pregnancy, thanks to improved contraception. There’s also no worry that the population will stagnate because artificial wombs will take care of that.

As a result, the very concept of reproduction is very different from the concept of sex. Society may get to a point where the idea of making someone endure nine-months of pregnancy, and all the physical hell that comes with it, downright inhumane.

Now there will be those who contemplate this world and faint. I imagine many of them are affiliated with the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, or the Duggars. However, like food production before it, science will change the way we think about sex, reproduction, and intimacy. It’s a matter of when and not if. I do hope it comes in my lifetime because that means the market for erotica/romance is sure to grow.

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