There’s been a lot going on in the world of long-distance interactive sex toys recently. No-one is really sure what will happen when the so-called “teledildonics patent” expires next year, lifting many of the restrictions that have prevented sex tech startups from entering the market. Other patents are still being granted. A few weeks ago Lovense, which makes a range of interactive sex toys, received rights to a patent that covers the use of tip-controlled vibrators during interactive webcam shows. By “tip-controlled”, I don’t mean that it controls the tip of the toy. Your tip to the cam performer controls the vibrator’s intensity. Ka-ching.
It’s technology, and of course if you build it, someone will try to hack it. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the go-to protocol for “smart” sex toys, and there’s a new threat — “screwdriving” (analogous to “wardriving”). Apparently, it’s not too hard to detect and compromise the sex toys of strangers on the street. On the same topic, The Guardian wants to know: Is drive-by sex toy hacking a wake-up call for Britain’s internet security?
Whether or not porn addiction is a serious problem is always a trending topic. Does it drain your libido or rev you up? And, how much is too much? A couple of weeks ago, Rolling Stone stirred up the subject yet again, with their article Is Internet Porn Making Young Men Impotent? It featured interviews with men who tell personal stories of how they think porn has desensitised them, and talks to medical experts who are skeptical. Michael Shelton MS, LPC weighed in this week in Psychology Today. His conclusion? You can diagnose yourself, but professionals can’t.
One potential danger of watching porn that has turned out to be very real is clicking a bad link and downloading malware. Newsweek’s PornHub Hijacked by Hackers in Massive Malware Campaign reports that hackers have been targeting adult website PornHub for more than a year already, with what’s referred to as “malvertising campaigns”. The hackers place ads next to videos, and users who click on them are prompted to download software updates. PornHub is the 20th most-visited website in the US (and 37th most popular in the world) according to rankings site Alexa, so they’re all over the problem of trying to keep out bad players, but experts say it’s pretty much impossible to avoid defenses being breached periodically, so users should always keep their own threat detection controls up to date.
No doubt you’ll be reading a lot about William Moulton Marston and his wife Elizabeth’s relationship(s) this week, with the release of Professor Marston and the Wonder Women on October 13. The Washington Post calls the film “quietly radical”. But is it accurately depicted? Was the relationship polyamorous, did they all sleep together, and just how kinky was it? Psychology Today’s “The True Story” of Wonder Woman’s Marston Ménage à Trois says we’ll never really know, and quotes the director, Angela Robinson, calling it “an interpretation of the story”. In Vancouver, a cinema full of polyamorous people took in an advance screening, and Polyamory in the News has an account of that and much more.
It’s already October (time flies when you’re having fun), so we’re starting to see “Best of 2017” lists. Glamour magazine just published the results of their first Glamour’s Sex Toy Awards, with their “experts’ picks for the best vibrators, accessories and more”. Check if your favourites are in there, and compare them with Women’s Health’s 7 Best Sex Toys of All Time.
If you’re a lover of lists, you might also be curious to know what the UK’s top 10 most popular fetishes are. Sex toy retailer Lovehoney did the research, and it seems we’ve all become voyeurs, with homemade sex tapes taking the number one spot from BDSM. Apparently, an increasing number of couples like to film their sex sessions on their phones and many like to share these home movies with other consenting couples. Where is all this leading? Well, Svakom has a vibrator with a camera on the end for those very (very!) intimate close-ups.
Speaking of homemade sex tapes, this time not of the consensual kind, Mashable has the story of an Indiana couple who rented an Airbnb and discovered a small black hole in the master bedroom smoke detector. If you are guessing that there was a camera hidden there, you’d be right, and the condo’s owner has been arrested and charged with video voyeurism.
So, that’s drive-by sex toy hackers, malware on porn sites AND hidden cameras you should be on the lookout for.
I know 3 ladies who drove 800km through outback Australia to watch the last Fifty Shades movie, so no judgement from me, but readers will be able to venture into Christian’s Red Room of Pain from his perspective again when E.L. James’ new book Darker hits (consensually of course) bookshelves and digital libraries on November 28. It’s Fifty Shades Darker (from the original trilogy) told from Christian’s point of view. Glamour is excited, saying “if the quotes from the first book weren’t enough to get you all hot and bothered, it sounds like Darker will be way more intense”, and Cosmopolitan says “you’d be forgiven for getting flustered just thinking about it”.
If the past 4 books are anything to go by, you can expect a lot of angst and eye-rolling on Fetlife. The series has been heavily criticised for its approach to consent and depiction of BDSM as being about broken people who need fixing.
An interesting little known fact about Fifty Shades of Grey though. It started life as a Twilight fan fiction called Master Of The Universe, with James writing under the pseudonym Snowqueens Icedragon. Newsweek calls the characters Grey and Anastasia Steel “X-rated versions of Stephenie Meyer’s characters Edward Cullen and Bella Swan” and explores more of the James-Meyer connection in ‘Fifty Shades’ E.L. James Still Profiting from ‘Twilight’ Fan Fiction with Christian Grey Book.
In another changing of the guard, David Stein passed away on October 12. He’ll be greatly missed in the kink community. David coined the phrase “Safe, Sane and Consensual” in 1983, and it had a major impact on how we view (and define) BDSM and kink. We discussed how it evolved into Risk Aware Consensual Kink in our article Same But Different – SSC versus RACK in BDSM, and you might be interested in reading his own thoughts from 2000 on how it is sometimes taken out of context on the Leather Leadership site.
Finally, trending right now is #SluttyGirlFears. It’s about reclaiming words like “slut” and “hoe” and putting it front and centre that woman can and do like sex, kink and fetishes, sometimes even more than men do. Hello Giggles has the story.
feature image from Professor Marston and the Wonder Women