Alaskan born Dr. Markie Twist an award-winning sexuality educator, sexologist, relationship therapist, author, and international speaker. Dr. Markie is co-author of the books, The Internet Family: Technology in Couple and Family Relationships, The Couple and Family Technology Framework: Intimate Relationships in a Digital Age. I caught up with Markie in this episode and discussed the multifaceted ways in which technology impacts our relationships today, and got her to explain the term Digisexuality.
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The Internet Family: Technology in Couple and Family Relationships by Drs. Katherine Hertlein and Markie Twist
0:35 Dr Markie Twist Introduction
4:13 Relationships With Technology
6:53 Origins Of Digisexuality
9:38 Digisexual Phobia
12:28 Society & Digisexuality
13:21 Rhesus monkeys & Attatchment
21:47 Attachment Relationships
25:05 Women & Sex Tech
27:07 Digisexuality & Long Distance Relationships
28:19 Disabled & Digisexuality
29:21 Robots & Digisexuality
33:33 Eco Informed Family
What Is Digisexuality?
Digisexuality was first introduced in 2017 by researchers Neil McArthur and Dr Markie L.C. Twist. The term is used to describe a Group of people whose primary sexual identity would come from the use of technology. Digisexuality can be thought of as a sexual experience that depends on the use of an advanced technology. It can split it into two waves of Tech. A first wave consisting of mediating technologies which allow for new or enhanced forms of partnered sexual activity. These include:
- Digital Pornography
- Chat Groups
- Social Media
- Internet Dating/Hook-Up Sites and Apps,
- Skype, Snapchat,
- Body Hacking
And now a second wave of immersive technologies that are creating opportunities for new forms of sexual experience which are not dependent on human partners. These technologies are transforming the way in which we relate to one another within intimate relationships in particular within VR.
- Artificial Agents
- Virtual Reality
- Augmented Reality
As VR is progressing and developing rapidly. VR is being used in ways beyond the viewing of pornography. With full immersion coupled with haptic devices offering people intense sexual experiences that the real world could never offer. Research has shown that as a result of its real-time positioning, 3D stereo display and its total field of view, the user’s brain comes to believe that the user is really present. “Digisexuals” are turning to advanced technologies, such as robots, virtual reality (VR) environments and feedback devices known as teledildonics to take the place of human partners. Humanity is entering an age of “digisexuality,” in which this second wave of sexual technologies is just beginning.
These technologies are now leading to an emergent sexual identity called digisexual identity or “digisexuals”. The use of radical new sexual technologies are here as a result in the advancement of technologies. While digisexuality can be seen as liberating, de-isolating for many individuals and a new form of sexual identity the downsides can be seen in digi-based infidelity and out of control digisexual behaviours. Illegal and/or unethical engagement in digisexualities also. One’s engagement with another person via digisexualities who is not one’s primary partner.
The complications around digisexuality might also come at a cost to relationships. Participation in digisexual activities to the exclusion of one’s primary relationship for example. Problematic digisexuality involves any disruption to a couple’s intimacy that is facilitated, in some degree, by digisexual activities or behaviours. Research has revealed that both lay people, and clinicians, have mixed feelings about digisexualities. Clinicians need to be prepared for the challenges and benefits in the adoption of such sexual technologies. In order to remain ethical and viable, clinicians need to be prepared to work with clients participating in digisexualities. However with Gen X and Generation Alpha believing digisexuality to be the norm and developing intimate relationships with robots will be acceptable there are issues with a number of digisexual individuals being distressed by their inability to connect with others.