“The first time I had sex, I thought, If this is what it’s like all the time, I’d better lie down.” Joan Rivers
In a secluded part of an unnamed university, scientists are creating a sex machine based on memories or, more specifically, first sexual responses. It’s what scientists believe could have us “losing our cherry” any time we want.
Even Karl Marx posited that early sexual encounters establish how we pattern the rest of our lives. If the experience was good, we’re optimists, we trust people. If, as one woman described, “It was like driving an 18-wheeler into a bike rack,” then trust issues could be a problem (and 18-wheelers).
The trick is to turn positive sexual experiences into something you can use, which scientists are trying to do through a series of test groups involving men and women.
Over the course of five days, patients are shown a series of sights, sounds and smells. They are then asked which ones come closest to their first sexual encounter.
At the heart of this project is an intelligence gathering device known as an IGD (intelligence gathering device). Over the course of five days, patients are shown a series of sights, sounds and smells. They are then asked which ones come closest to their first sexual encounter.
Once a baseline is established, a series of personal memories are developed, enhancing the positive aspects and filtering out the negatives (unless they’re all negative, in which case, you’re dumped from the group).
These are then passed through sensors to the subjects in what looks like a hyperbolic chamber. Early test groups found the experience very reminiscent of their first dates, including the smell of bubblegum.
“I had my first orgasm with Double Bubble in my hair,” a woman said. “Imagine it turning me on now.”
“I think he was more interested in my pizza than me (he was always hungry), but he gave me my first orgasm (only cost me a slice).”
Sensory recounting seems to be key to these orgasms. “I’m smelling pizza and suddenly remembering this kid across the street,” another woman said. “I think he was more interested in my pizza than me (he was always hungry), but he gave me my first orgasm (only cost me a slice).”
Scientists were quick to explain this phenomenon. “The first time is filled with so much anticipation and adrenaline. We forget small details. Bring those details back and it’s amazing how subjects respond.”
Nearly seventy percent of test subjects (both sexes) reacted positively, a slam dunk in this category. “It’s rare to have orgasms so quickly in a trial run,” the head scientist explained. “Patients usually need to get used to their surroundings. This is a bit mystifying.”
Mystifying it may be, but psychologists and therapists are thrilled at the possibilities. If two hours in a hyperbolic chamber can improve trust issues — or relationships in general — it’s a good thing.
Or it would be if results were consistent. Consistency is always a problem where sex is concerned. Especially if it involves inconsistent people.
“Like any therapy,” one psychologist stated, “we’re always worried about the wear-out factor. Sex machines are no different. Once you expect a desired result, it’s hard to match it with one of equal impact.”
Certainly the thrill of first coitus is hard to replicate, even with a machine whose soul purpose is to do exactly that.
“You may get the response you want once, but eventually, even clitorises get bored.”
Dr. Becky Blackmore, a sex therapist, pointed out that our endorphins don’t always act on cue. “You may get the response you want once, but eventually, even clitorises get bored. You can’t expect a machine to get it right every time. That’s like expecting Brad Pitt to get it right every time. I’m sure he does, but everything else will irritate you eventually.”
This was especially true when they poured cigarette smoke into one subject’s hyperbolic chamber. “At first, it was like being in the backseat of my boyfriend’s car again,” a subject said. “The next time, I suddenly imagined him sticking his nicotine tongue down my throat. I nearly barfed.”
“Once women lose their virginity again,” a scientist explained, “they have those usual feelings of remorse. He’s wrong for me. Why did I do it with him? When will I ever learn? Women respond to sex machines the same way.”
Men, on the other hand, don’t seem to have “buyer’s remorse.” Even after three or four episodes, the same smells illicit similar responses.
“We kept spraying 10W30 into one guy’s chamber,” a scientist explained, “and he kept climaxing. We finally sent him home with a can of oil.”
“We kept spraying 10W30 into one guy’s chamber,” a scientist explained, “and he kept climaxing. We finally sent him home with a can of motor oil.”
Supposedly, women have transient memories, often shortened by feelings of guilt. Even if their first sexual experience was good, it probably wasn’t that good. They start to feel errors in judgment.
For men, it’s the other way around. What starts out as a guilty pleasure, soon forms a representative image of sex. If it’s good once, it’s good period. Men can run with that. “I’ve certainly had better sex since,” a respondent confessed, “but there’s something about braces and acne cream. Dammit, now I’ve got wood again.”
Scientists believe this could affect how we reach artificially-stimulated climaxes in the future. While men don’t mind repetition, there’s a limit to what women will accept. “Eventually,” one woman said, “you realize how bad the first time was. I mean, the guy had three nipples. I should have given him the pizza and told him to get out of my face.”
“Still got wood,” the previous guy chipped in.
Using wires that snake under the skin, Meloy’s spinal implant “delivers a pleasurable shock directly to your pelvic nerve.”
Apparently, memory-induced sex isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Besides, women are reasonably happy with their vibrators, and there are new inventions like Stuart Meloy’s. Using wires that snake under the skin, Meloy’s spinal implant “delivers a pleasurable shock directly to your pelvic nerve.”
Meloy claims this is a major breakthrough in female orgasm dysfunction. “One woman asked me, ‘Would it be considered adultery if I hand the remote control to someone other than my husband?’” Meloy said.
Men haven’t been forgotten in this category, either. Recent studies of low-level electrical stimulation of the penile tissue show promising results. By increasing neovascularization, blood flow to the penis increases along with greater tissue growth.
To get this effect, implants similar to pacemakers can be inserted under the skin, giving patients continual electrical stimulation.
It’s a far cry from giving yourself an electric shock (every guy’s made that mistake once), and anything that increases size sure beats memory-induced sex. Still, there’s a market for artificially-induced sex, according to scientists who see them as the next version of Woody Allen’s Orgasmatron from Sleepers, or Orgasmo from South Park.
It’s like Dick Tracy’s wristwatch. We all knew we’d be talking into our watches eventually. Innovation works that way, and sex is one of those categories that always needs new ideas.
Now they make up forty percent of YouPorn’s viewers (those numbers come from YouPorn, so take it with a grain of salt).
Perhaps memory-induced sex still needs some refining, or possibly women need to stop feeling guilty. Look what happened with porn. Twenty years ago, women rarely watched the stuff. Now they make up forty percent of YouPorn’s viewers (those numbers come from YouPorn, so take it with a grain of salt).
Women also have no trouble going into sex shops and buying vibrators, lotions or silk stockings.
It’s a healthy marketplace, in other words, and we all want better sex (or at least some sex). If that comes from memory, electric pulses, or watching sex between two really bad actors, at least we’re moving forward, exploring new territory.
Why not hop into a hyperbolic chamber and come out all refreshed and flushed?
Perhaps Orgasmatrons will part of future trips to Mars. It’s a long distance to be just sitting there. Why not hop into a hyperbolic chamber and come out all refreshed and flushed? Sounds good, right?
As long as it doesn’t remind you of that pizza kid. Or his third nipple.
Robert Cormack is a novelist, journalist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores (in paperback August 6th). Skyhorse Press or Simon and Schuster for more details.