I made the mistake of reading up on so-called aphrodisiacs, or love potions, after eating a hearty lunch. The portions that gullible people have downed in an attempt to increase sexual prowess would turn innards. Or perhaps you would refer a concoction of dead bees tossed in a bottle with a little liquid, sealed, left to disintegrate for a couple of months, and then shaken well and swallowed. Or would you be tempted by a serving of powdered partridge brains? If I had to drink those mixtures I would be crawling into a sick bed instead of a love bed. Most of the world must agree with me, for these ancient brews have fallen out of favor. Fear not though, mother nature has not let you down, aphrodisiacs abound.
I still can’t believe it happened. Had I not been laid off from my job as a flight attendant, it never would have. It’s true that every cloud has a silver lining. I really enjoyed my job, as I love to travel. When I heard that I was soon to be unemployed, I was depressed. Two of my girlfriends invited me out dancing, and I happily accepted, needing to forget my troubles. But once we arrived at the club, I didn’t feel all that comfortable. As a dark-skinned black woman, I felt very out of place in a crowd of mostly whites. So I decided I’d just hang out at the bar.
The Arab Sheikhs smelled of expensive cologne. A cloud of cigarette smoke hung off the low ceiling in the basement of a centuries-old Parisian building. The neon sign outside lit up the words Le Crazy Horse de Paris. There was little other indication that you had arrived at an iconic location. It was 1987, I was 19, and my father had just paid a small fortune for us to sit up close at one of the most erotic and oldest burlesque revues in existence. Plush red velour banquettes were filled with eccentric looking men and exotic looking women. The lights dimmed. For the next few moments, my eyes adjusted to the low lights and a single silhouette of a beautiful woman drenched in mist, almost enveloped by a revolving glass door on a stage. Black Russian in hand, my father grinning beside me, I settled in for what would be two hours of the most stylized, visceral experience of my young life.
A female architect, Alyssa, and I had been working together for over three years as team leaders, designing and supervising the construction site of the most remarkable residential masterpieces in this country and abroad. Alyssa and I worked so well together because of our ability to read each other’s mind. Her talents were in interior design. I developed the structure around her designs to fit the client’s specs. By necessity, during the day we were almost inseparable, but when it was quitting time, we went our individual waysa: she to her husband and two young children, and I to my wife.
Technology creates sexology improves. Technology has evolved to its current state largely thanks to the invisible hand of pornography. The adult entertainment industry was pioneering technology long before Silicon Valley existed. While Hollywood executives shrunk from the release of the VCR and later the internet, the erotic entertainment industry seized these new markets as new opportunity. The contributions of erotic markets to technological evolution are largely overlooked, namely due to the fact that these markets are still seen as taboo by the masses. Whether the public realizes it or not, the porn industry has grabbed technology and applied it to consumers needs, wants, and desires since the 19th century.
At a recent presentation for an interactive video sex game, one of the coders turned to us and said, “it’s all the fun of sex, with none of the mess.” The video game industry has had a rocky relationship with defining what is and is not too graphic when it comes to sex. While HBO’s Game of Thronesand the BDSM-filled novel 50 Shades of Grey are common topics in casual conversation, sex in a video game causes legislators to stand erect in bipartisan union and rabble-rouse about the state of gaming. Games that riddle characters with blood-oozing bullet-holes or see players blown apart are perfectly acceptable, but throw sex into a game and concerned mothers start ranting about the immorality of society, all while their children sit at home with an Xbox controller in hand. What happens when gamers wear a VR headset and enter the gaming world, when the black mirror preventing full immersion is broken? To know the future of sex in video games one must first understand its conception.