As the biggest porn site on the internet, Pornhub already dominates the landscape when it comes to what people get off to. Now the company is also making a push to control how people get off, with a new line of interactive sex toys that sync with Pornhub videos.
Smart sex toys have been around for a few years, but Pornhub first ventured into teledildonics last June when it started selling Kiiroo’s Onyx and Fleshlight Launch and allowing users to sync those toys with Pornhub videos. Last week, the company launched their own line of haptic toys. The products include the Virtual Rabbit vibrator ($200), the Virtual Blowbot Stroker masturbation assistant ($209), and the souped-up Virtual Blowbot Turbo Stroker ($332). The products, which incorporate Kiiroo technology, are produced by Ann Summers, a UK lingerie and sex toy company. Pornhub claims that the toys, which are available online, sync with videos on the site’s “interactive” section and can also sync with other Pornhub toys so that partners can use them in tandem.
All three products match the blocky yellow-and-black aesthetic of the Pornhub site. It makes sense from a branding standpoint, but the devices look strangely industrial—like DeWalt power tools or parts that fell off a Caterpillar excavator.
It’s still too early to determine whether there’s a growing market for smart sex toys that sync with porn. And there are growing security concerns as more and more vulnerabilities in smart sex toys are discovered. But Pornhub’s investment in smart hardware seems like more than a publicity move. This new focus on haptics appears to be a more serious venture than Pornhub’s concept(/stunt?) Wankband, a wearable, which the company suggested would generate power when the wearer masturbates. Pornhub did not immediately provide comments about the company’s long-term goals with their interactive sex toys or the current status of the Wankband [Update: comment below].
Even if the majority of porn-lovers aren’t ready to replace their run-of-the-mill masturbators, vibrators, and hands with something more interactive, Pornhub is probably trying to secure their position as leaders in the future of horny-tech.
For all the pearl-clutching and doomsday prophesying around the notion of sex robots that could fuck us to death, the shit future of smut will probably depend more on advancements in VR porn. Pornhub launched its free VR channel last year, providing 360-degree videos that put users in the body of a porn star. If the company can also provide products that make users feel like they’re having porn-star sex (or what they believe porn-star sex feels like) in an exotic setting, then Pornhub can fully immerse users in a fantasy. No need to bother with an expensive robot that always looks the same, glitches, and requires cleaning and upkeep.
Instead, in the future, we could just crawl inside marigold VR chambers, lock in our genitalia, and tune into the latest immersive livecast from Pornhub.
Update 2:45 am ET: Pornhub Vice President Corey Price sent Gizmodo the following comment: “We’re always keen on positioning ourselves as the leading adult entertainment provider, and being able to offer interactive devices like these to our community to help heighten their overall Pornhub experience is very satisfying for us.”
He did not address Gizmodo’s question about the Wankband.