VR

VR Porn is the Best Sex I've Never Had

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

As soon as I was tipped off about porn production company Naughty America’s presence at MWC, I was a man possessed. I needed to see them. When I found out they were actually demoing some of their VR content too, I was practically frothing at the mouth. After all, I’ve always got time for… new technological experiences.

I meet CIO Ian Paul and his main man Brad in a worryingly-busy networking garden at MWC. Seriously, there are about 10 suited strangers sat within a couple of feet of us, and loads more beyond them. What’s more, thanks to lack of floor space and free seating, I have to stand. Better still, the phone I’d be using to watch the x-rated footage has a great big ‘Naughty America’ logo slapped across its backside. Ah well, at least I’m not wearing shorts or sweatpants, like an unnamed journo who’d tried out the set before me. Let’s just say his levels of excitement were pretty clear. So I'm told, anyway.

After strapping on the headset and a pair of headphones, I’m thrown right into the action. I look around. Okay, I’m in a fairly swanky-looking bedroom. This is quite cool. I look down. Fucking hell! I’m built like a brick shithouse. Yep, I’m a pornstar, and apparently about to receive a fleshy birthday surprise from porn talent Nikki Benz and Jaclyn Taylor. Go on then, I think. Surprise me.

I turn my head and follow them as they walk over to me, and OH MY GOD THEY’RE ALREADY DOING THE NAUGHTY STUFF TO ME. Wheeee! That clearly isn’t my dick (wrong colour and that’s the only difference, okay?), and I know I’m stood, fully-clothed in a public place, rather than lying half-naked on a couch, but this feels unsettlingly real.

The entire movie has been cut to around a minute and a half in length -- we can’t just stand around watching porn all day, after all -- but I get a taster of oral sex, vaginal sex and even a happy ending. I’m laughing aloud at the madness of the situation, but I’m entranced and, needless to say, highly aroused. Threesome at a tech conference: check.

Scene two steps things up. Once again, I’m laid back on a couch, though this time I gather that pornstar Allie Haze and I have just come home from a night at the opera, and managed to get really, ridiculously turned on by the Phantom or the curtains or something. It kicks off in a similar manner to the previous clip, though a quick glance at my torso tells me that I’ve assumed the role of a different, though equally well-endowed, actor.

Haze brings a toy into the mix, and I quickly find out that, wait, hmm, yep, this is an anal scene. It’s fucking full-on. Before I know it, I’m stood up (sorry, virtual me is stood up) and pumping away, and the positional change has made the experience feel completely different all over again. I’m looking down as we hit the floor, and can almost feel the carpet burns. My stomach’s clenching in a good, intense way, my knees are knocking together and I don’t care that everyone around me definitely knows what I’m up to. I really don’t want this to end.

The final scene somehow tops the lot. Once again, there’s been a change in personnel, with Remy LaCroix the main star this time out. You get a real sense of depth during this scene -- “We’ve encouraged the stars to take advantage of the depth. It’s a unique aspect of the medium,” Ian Paul tells me later -- which wasn’t quite as apparent in the previous two clips. Midway through, I jerk (yeah, I said it) my head to the right, as I respond to the images of LaCroix lying across my... field of vision, trying desperately to get a better view.

Once the penetration begins, I once again feel like I’m actually having sex. I'm tempted to fondle the empty air in front of me, almost forgetting that I’m not actually in the scene. Fortunately for everyone, I fall short of making sex noises. Right at the end of the clip, I find myself leaning in for a kiss, as LaCroix climbs mesmerisingly close to my face. I swear loudly. I’m absolutely stunned.

Cave Paintings and Innovation

I remove the headgear slowly, and all I can do is laugh, gawp and repeatedly rub my forehead in disbelief. I tried out HTC Vive for the first time earlier on this week, but this had an even more profound effect on me. A few minutes of speechlessness (bar more swearing) later, I’m ready to chat with Ian Paul, who’s laughing away.

“It's one of those things you can't quite describe to somebody,” he says. “You have to just try it. Your mind can’t imagine what it's like, but when you try it, it's like, ‘Oh my God, I get it’. How can you go back to looking at porn on a box on a tube site?”

He raises a hell of a point, and I can confirm that my self-punishment sessions between then and now have been even less fulfilling than usual. I ask Paul if VR will prove more important than mobile and 4K.

“Absolutely,” he says. “This is what we've been working towards since cave paintings on walls. Pornography has been driving displays, storage, processing power, streaming and transactions on the Internet, and this is what we've all been dreaming of our whole lives.”

Taking On The Tube Sites

Astonishingly, Naughty America hasn’t altered its subscription prices, and is providing its VR content to its customers at no extra cost. “It's very hard to compete with the tube sites,” explains Paul. “They put a tremendous amount of price pressure on us. For us to raise the price would be a difficult thing to do at this juncture. What we'd like to do is put pressure on them by raising the bar, and we think we are.

“Tube sites make their money through advertising. How are you going to put an ad in VR? And even if you do, how do you click on it? They can make it work, but how do they make money? We really think we have a strategic advantage over the tube sites at this point, with this technology.”

There’s also the issue of bandwidth. VR movie files are extremely large, and Paul doesn’t think it’d be worth it for tube sites to up their bandwidth expenditure when they’re not sure the costs could be offset by advertising income.

Samsung's Hard Decision

Right now, Naughty America is only releasing a video a week, as Paul says that consumer demand for VR porn is still low. I ask him if he thinks porn will help VR more than VR will help porn, to which he replies, “It's certainly a mutually-beneficial relationship. I don't think anybody's going to buy a device specifically for porn, simply because that's embarrassing, but they'll buy it for gaming, and porn is the icing on the cake.”

As mentioned above, Naughty America is producing content optimised for the Gear VR, though it has to be side-loaded, as Samsung’s blocked porn apps from the Oculus store.

“This is very inconvenient,” says Paul. “If another manufacturer comes along with a device that's similar to the Gear VR but doesn't have those restrictions, they may take market share. If you're a gamer and you find a device that will let you play games and watch porn, you're going to do it.”

The Vive Dream's Alive

Chances are, you’ve already seen this viral picture of Zuckerlicious walking past oblivious Gear VR-wearers at Samsung’s MWC press conference. Big, depressing predictions about the future were made based on the snap, but the South Korean’s desperate attempts to drum up interest in its headset have been largely ignored.

I’ve tried it on multiple occasions, and the only content that’s looked any good through the headset is the raunchy stuff I’ve just watched. Gear VR is obviously inferior to the HTC Vive, thanks mainly to inadequate screen resolution and comfort, but neither of those issues distracted me while I was watching the porn clips. The content was so extraordinarily well-made that nothing else could distract me from the footage.

Paul says that Naughty America plans to make its content compatible with a wide range of devices, mentioning the LG 360 VR and Intel’s virtual reality development kit. For any of you currently using an alternative headset, Paul tells me that Naughty America’s VR content should also work with devices the company isn’t formally working with, as the company’s also making generic file formats available.

Will it produce content for Vive, my standout favourite headset right now? “Absolutely,” says Paul. “Vive is a hot commodity, though we haven't done as much work as we'd like with it, mainly because our users don't have it in their possession yet.”

Lisa Ann's Return?

Nikki Benz and Rachel Starr are currently fronting Naughty America’s VR push, though Paul reveals that the company’s trying to involve as many of its actors as possible. Thanks to Pornhub, we recently discovered that Lisa Ann is still one of the UK’s favourite pornstars, despite being retired for over a year.

Would Naughty America consider bringing her back for a VR special? Paul laughs. “Okay, that's a very, very good question. I don't know... I will ask.” So it's on the table? “It's a great idea. I will find out.” Such an an announcement would be huge news in the porn industry, and would undoubtedly increase the buzz around VR, in certain circles at least.

Failing Women

However, that’s not all I want to ask with regards to Pornhub’s stats. After all, only 24 per cent of its visitors are female, with that figure sinking to 22 per cent in the UK. I question Paul on whether or not pornographers are even trying to make porn more female-friendly.

“We actually do have a female POV video, so we are experimenting with it,” says Paul. “However, I don't think we're doing it very well at the moment, because the styling of it is kind of male-ish porn, just from a female point of view. It's not the female experience, or what females might fantasise about.

“I think it's better, if you look at the female side of porn, to look at some of these eReaders that connect to vibrators. As you get to the erotic part of the fiction, it starts to do things. I think that's a better direction to be inspired by than our current material.”

Farewell, Phone Sex

If that sounds crazily futuristic, there’s more. Artificial vaginas are nothing new, though Naughty America is working with manufacturers to ramp up production, as the company expects sales to increase as more consumers open their world to VR content. “Some manufacturers have been talking about embedding sensors into them,” says Paul. I’m intrigued.

“Not only could the devices react to the videos, but the videos could theoretically also react to the sensory data from the devices. You can imagine dynamically-optimised content. If, for instance, you looked at a girl's ass and got excited by it, it might start dynamically altering the content to suit your preference, converging on your ultimate fantasy. It’s very future-y.”

This sounds impossible and ludicrous, but Paul isn’t laughing. He says that couples in long-distance relationships could prove a key target market, as such technologies would enable them to have incredibly-convincing virtual experiences with their absent partners. I think everyone would be pleased to see the back of phone sex, too. Paul also mentions what he calls ‘the classic’, in which a couple would be able to experience what it would be like to have sex with themselves, from their partner’s point of view. I’m less taken with this idea.

Year Of The Visor

So what’s next for Naughty America? “We're trying to think of wild ideas, and there’s this concept called spherical VR. It's sort of like this globe of cameras that you can move into an environment. You can record the entire environment -- every degree -- and once you have that captured, you can superimpose the actors doing things in that environment. It's very realistic. You can imagine being in a crowded club or on top of a mountain, and you can change the scenarios to places that traditionally haven't been open to filming porn in.”

2016, however, is mainly about virtual reality. “We've got to ramp up the number of users that are using this technology,” says Paul. “It's about getting more users to buy VR devices and, ultimately, buy our content.”

The future looks tantalisingly dirty, and I genuinely can’t wait for top quality VR headsets to hit the market. In the meantime, it’s back to that box on a tube site. Hurry up future, I’ve got needs.