Monday, 6 November 2017

How VR and AR can save your LDR


Guest post

There are many reasons why relationships end, but distances or boredom shouldn't be the cause. As our world continues to become more globalised, long-distance relationships (LDR) are on the rise.

As someone who's been in one before, I can speak first hand about the difficulties involved in keeping things interesting. It's too easy to become more with the way things are going, especially if your relationship isn't a fresh one to begin with. There's only so much you can talk about without sharing mutual experiences, and Skype or Snapchat are a far cry from being with someone.

It's already difficult enough to stay interested and we haven't even touched on the sexual frustration at not being able to touch or have sex with your loved one. Of course, sacrifices must occasionally be made in the name of (usually) your career, so what's a girl to do?

Would you ever consider turning to more advanced tech to keep your spark alive? Can computers go someway towards bridging the gap in long-distance relationships? Here are two new types of technologies that could actually you go the distance - augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Can VR save your relationship?

Virtual reality can serve two purposes in the context of your long-distance relationship. First of all, it offers a way to connect on a level that was unheard of a few years ago. Even though it's virtual and can be a bit silly at times, it's still a great way to connect with your other half.

When my boyfriend moved to London for a year because work, we were left scratching our heads as to how we could spend meaningful time together and be entertained.  We knew that it wouldn’t be easy, especially since our “puppy love” phase ended a long time ago. That’s when a friend of mine mentioned that maybe we should try virtual reality.  What a good call that was on his part.


Long story short, my BF and I both purchased Oculus Rift VR setups (they weren’t cheap) and away we went.  We ended up buying two apps (or games) for the system, AltSpace VR and vTime.  AltSpace VR is a game where users create their own avatars and can play games, conquer mazes, play pool, have sword fights or just watch videos on YouTube together.  There’s lots more to do than just that but I’d be here all day listing all the fun stuff we did.  There are also plenty of other users to interact with if you want or you can enter private rooms where it’s just the two of you.

I can honestly say that while it was weird at first, it was still hilarious as we both got accustomed to interacting with each other avatars.  It was nice to hear his voice and some of his mannerisms even showed through his avatar.  He chose a semi-boring human form while I went all out and made myself into a mechanical wind up doll of all things.  

The other app we were using was vTime, which offered a more life-like experience, allowing us to have fancy dinner dates and spend time doing what would essentially be best described as “dating in VR”.  Having virtual brunch in the middle of a crowded French market was somehow quite romantic.  

The best part about these games was that it allowed us to build mutual experiences together even though we were apart and really gave me something to look forward too.  Not that I didn’t want to hear his voice, or hear him say that he loved me, but the conversations were beginning to get a bit mundane to say the least.

Bringing virtual sex into the mix

So, while virtual reality was able to keep us entertained and having fun, it still left a large void in our relationship.  Yep, you guessed it – the sex.  It just wasn’t there.


We had talked about it before he left, and many times during our “separation”.  We agreed that no strings attached sex with other people wasn’t what we were after, so that didn’t leave us with many options.  I can truly say that the lack of sex may have been the most difficult part.  That is until my friend (he’s a cutting-edge tech geek) put us onto the marvel of teledildonics - yeah, you read that right.

Let me explain.  Teledildonics is the name for the technology of “remote sex where touch and sensations are delivered by electronic devices linked to an app or to another device”.  Exasperated with not connecting sexually, we ended up with a device called the Kiiroo SVir.  Truthfully, it is probably a big part of why we are still together.

The Kiiroo offers a female device (a pearl dildo) and a male device that is similar to a Fleshlight, but way more advanced.  By stimulating my end (the dildo), his electronic vagina (Fleshlight) would react to what I was doing.  While it was a little weird at first, seeing him on Skype with a plastic tube on his penis, the pleasure we both derived quickly took over.  By this point we were already comfortable seeing each other naked and having “Skype sex” so adding a couple sex toys into the mix was no big deal.  We even experimented with watching virtual reality porn while we had virtual sex with the Kiiroo.  That was an interesting experience, which was good but not the real thing to be sure. I like seeing my boyfriend while we do it and not some stud VR porn star, but hey, there’s only so erotic you can be through a laptop webcam, right?

Is there a future for VR sex?

My boyfriend has since completed his job posting and we’re back together (sleeping in the same bed), so the sexual aspect of virtual reality isn’t required anymore.  That’s not to say that we don’t still use it from time to time for sex because the experience is truly something different and quite pleasurable at that. We also still play AltSpace VR all the time because it’s just plain old fun.

Anyways, apparently the next big thing everyone is waiting for (my geek friend’s words again) is Augmented Reality.  That’s where a virtual layer is added to what you see in the real world.  This means that games or sex will be in your own real-life environment with everything else (my boyfriend included) layered on top.  That seems to me like the virtual technology most applicable to real life, and seeing as I really like the virtual reality experience, I’ll definitely be considering adding an augmented reality system in the future.

To conclude, anyone in a long-distance relationship (I feel for you), do yourself a favour and check out virtual reality.  It really worked wonders for my relationship and I bet it will for yours too.  At the very least you’ll have a good laugh and play some video games.

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