There is brand loyalty, and then there is go-to-bed-with-you, wake-you-up-in-the-morning, use-the-bathroom-with-you, stare-longingly-at-each-other-for-hours-at-a-time-every-single-day-of-your-life brand loyalty.
Since when did smart phones and devices become so… intimate?
Intimate as in private, and intimate as in closely connected. Very closely connected. So close in fact, that we can’t bear the thought of being without our fondle slabs. It would be like suffering an amputation. If your phone was stolen you would probably not just feel disrobed and vulnerable—considering the personal content on most phones, chances are very good that you could become vulnerable to an unfortunately literal and public disrobing. (Perhaps for the Reddit community to troll over.)
A most interesting, and distinctly X rated connection exists between our devices and ourselves. It’s not just a passing phase.
It’s not just us growing into, and penetrating, the secrets of technology. It’s our technology growing into, and penetrating, us.
1 out of 10 Americans use their smart phones during sex. 2 out of 10 young adults use their smart phones during sex. This statistic has been thrown around the web like it’s big news. Just google “smartphones and sex” and you will see it plastered with viral efficacy all over the first page of results.
I've been an online-only entertainer at the adult social network MyGirlFund for years now. As a mostly mobile, one woman, adult production team I can tell you for a fact that the sexualization of our mobile devices isn't news to most of you. In fact, most of you have porn on your phone right now, or at least the vestigial traces of salacious sexting. Some of you even have porn featuring your phone. Gadget porn isn't all just tongue in cheek or cliched advertising techniques. It’s a real thing. How many mirror driven selfies have you seen that feature the phone attached to a well manicured hand? In many of these shots, the phone is the first thing you see.
Let’s not even talk about masturbating with your phone.
Okay, nevermind—let’s talk about it. Have you ever given a thought to the hardware that you’re using to masturbate and its relationship to you? Being chimped over your tablet with that shiny logo/icon only inches from your face while you “rough up the suspect” has an imprinting/transference effect that advertisers and definitely manufacturers could not have possibly envisioned.
This imprinting is intensely personal. The ironic thing is that we aren't even aware of the soft and slippery pull that our devices have on our collective sexuality. You know, as a species. Has anyone really considered the ramifications of letting a handheld robot get you off? What if it remembered the next day, and maybe told all its robot friends in its snarky boopity-beep language? Would you feel more ambivalent about it then?
Our iPhones and Androids shoot aggressively climbing digital vines that grow into our identities and even into our biological processes. These vines are always listening to us and thoughtfully chewing up our data. They provide instant and tangible feedback, not only to us, but to the rest of the world at large. (Whether knowingly, or not.)
We are unconsciously inviting hardware devices into our most mysterious of mental processes like memory, sexuality, and communication. We couldn't internalize these devices more unless we ate them or bio-hacked them into our bodies. What is even more startling is these devices are actually paying attention, and not just passively either.To say that our devices are literally an extension of ourselves much like an unbridled sexual prosthetic isn't far fetched, or science fiction. It’s a fact.
We have sight, hearing, a sense of smell, and touch—and then we have our smartphones. They attach to us via our existing senses, enhancing them and giving them a reach we could have never dreamed of having organically. More times than not we are actually physically touching our device in some way.
Our various senses anticipate and covet the sweet dopamine releasing feedback that our phone provides like the most addicted drug addicts fiend for their fix.
It feels good to store our experiences outside of our own minds, especially the sexy ones. It gratifies us on a Darwinian level. We hand over our experiential, organically based, neural pathways to a device that combines and connects with the other swirling bits and bytes in the air that represent someone else in meatspace. Auto-magically, this device connects all of us in the palm of our hot little hands. We have completely surrendered to its power to show us what we want, when we want to see it. The result is almost human.
In practical application, our smartphones are like massively effective amplifiers/broadcasters/receivers/external memory for our id. Freud would have been beside himself with happiness if he could have got his hands on a shiny iPhone.
We seem to give our real life experiences up for binary translation without so much as a second thought. As soon as we do that, the only way we can effectively experience it again is via the same system it was captured on. That’s how we are wired. We experience memory from the same place it was captured. When we give that entire cycle up to a device, intimate transference is likely to occur.
What a trip that we can so casually objectify our most personal experiences. Why do we do it?
I think the answer is that we crave digital virality with the same primal abandon that we crave interpersonal relationships. We can only merge these two things together in our minds because these devices are actually honest extensions of our “selves.” We have emotionally charged relationships with these devices that are very … once again, “intimate” is the correct word to use here.
This is an advertising opportunity and a product coup de grace of unheard of proportions. Humanity has been hacked and socially engineered into dumping their collective data inside the highly functioning and deeply networked mind of a sexy handheld robot. And that’s just for starters. Somehow disruptive seems like an understated adjective here.
These products we are taking to bed with us actually seem to validate us on a cellular level.
All puns aside, the anthropomorphically disturbing connection that our devices have achieved with us is astonishing. I would go so far as to say that it is at least equal to the plant and animal kingdom symbiosis that occurs all around us every day. This is especially profound because no one ever actually intended for this to happen.
What are we as a species doing to understand this phenomenon?
Nothing. We are leaving it to the devices to figure out for us. While you consider this, keep in mind that hardware manufacturers are the accidental profiteers of this evolutionary process and definitely not the architects. Brands have been taking advantage of sex to sell products since… well, since forever. This is different than that, because it actually works far past the desired effect. Our devices have a digital record of our every “like” and love, and passion/obsession. We rely on our devices to keep track of our various real life activities, wishlists, schedules, and yes, even our sexual entertainment. We bring a device to bed with us consciously and enthusiastically. We fondle it and interact with it secretly and intimately on a level that is tangibly gratifying. We send sweaty texts and pants popping media with it to each other across vast distances, heavily breathing out our hottest thoughts together in digital synchronicity.
It might be best to at least acknowledge the robot in the middle that turns these romantic trysts into cross platform ménage à trois.
Recommend if you agree.