Virtual sex meeting
Dating entirely in VR might still seem alien to many of us, but as Dr Barber points out, the future may see aspects of IRL relationships and VR used for mutual benefit rather than becoming completely merged.VR can provide a “wonderful fantasy space” for people to experiment with gender identity in relationships, for example, “or for those who can’t easily get out and about in the real world”.They are not alone in dating exclusively within VR Chat: user Hybridninja7 has been in three VR relationships over the course of two years, and tells me that, while different views exist, it’s his opinion that “it’s either an IRL or VR partner only, as we see it as cheating”.“These relationships do have the same feel as real-life relationships” he says, explaining that VR Chat offers a multitude of maps which lend themselves to the virtual dating scene: cinemas, bars, hotels, island resorts, nightclubs and homes make up just some of the available locations. Content Header .feed_item_answer_user .anon_user.logged_out . Most of us have pretty much never lived our adult lives without the internet.With VR coming of age, we’re about to discover what happens when you combine the two.
This is a view shared by gamer Forge, who has been in a three year IRL relationship with a boyfriend who also uses VR.
It’s a strange mix, because the people are physically in the same space but can only see each other and interact in VR.
The body scanning also has glitches that mean the limbs of their avatar can do strange things, like arms going right through bodies.
And, as highlighted in a recent Reddit post, virtual relationships entered into by those already in monogamous IRL relationships can raise all the same feelings and issues as traditional infidelity.
The ethics here are complex, and still the subject of much debate, says Dr Trudy Barber, a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Portsmouth who specialises in VR and sexuality.