Modern sex: Catherine Townsend logs on to the new revolution

In the 21st century, technology is allowing people to express their desires and fulfil their fantasies in ways never before possible – and all at the touch of a button. Catherine Townsend logs on to the new sexual revolutionAfter watching Blade Runner recently on late-night television, I wondered: whatever happened to all those scientists’ predictions that humans would be having sex with robots by now – or at least in the very near future? After all, Ridley Scott’s film is only set in 2019.I still can’t imagine having a hot replicant boyfriend any time soon – a battery-operated vibrator is about as high-tech as it gets for me. Others, however, are fast becoming accustomed to using technology to take things a step further: men already go online to purchase custom-made “real dolls”, which are like silicon Stepford Wives minus the vocal cords, and cost several thousand pounds. Fans claim they are a viable alternative for the lonely and socially awkward. But can it really be healthy to seek out intimacy with an inanimate object?At the same time that technology is causing some people to withdraw from the dating game – preferring online porn and virtual sex to the real thing – the sheer volume of specialised websites means that huge numbers of people are now connecting in ways that they never have before. Though most deviant sexual behaviours have been around for ages (the Romans were having orgies, after all) the Noughties have ushered in the normalisation of fetishes – and made it vastly more easy to find others with similar tastes. These days, BDSM (Bondage, Domination and Sado-Masochism) has gone from underground fringe clubs to housewives browsing spanking paddles online and in high-street sex shops.

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