Vibrators & Digisexuals

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
16 min readDec 8, 2022

Vibrators are the original sex robots

🌈 Bisexual women are more likely than straight women to use a vibrator during sex with men (Herbenick et al., 2010)
&
Bisexual young men in a relationship with a female partner reported vibrator use more frequently than did young men with male partners (Rosenberg et al., 2011).

Overall, dyads that include straight males are the least likely to use vibrators, though bisexual women are more successful than straight women at getting their boyfriends to use vibrators.

This may be because — bisexual women are more likely to date men who are feminists and/or egalitarian — men dating bisexual women already know that she can desire more than what he has, so introducing a vibrator into the equation may seem like an irrelevant (non-ego-threatening) component.

What Kind of Stimulation (Lisa Wade, 2006)

“90% of cis women orgasmed when their last sexual encounter included oral and manual sex, and another found that 92% did when they engaged in oral, self-stimulation, and intercourse. The idea that women would have different rates of orgasm depending on what kinds of stimulation that they give their bodies seems almost so obvious that it’s stupid to say out loud,” says Wade. “But we have to do that because the assumption is that women’s bodies are bad at having orgasms.”

“Vibrator use would ‘make him feel less of a man”

(Reece et al., 2010)

In 2017, about 80% of American women who owned any sex owned a vibrator (Alexander Kunst, 2020) compared to less than 1% in the 1970s (Shere Hite, 1976).

The vibrator is the most popular toy in Western countries (e.g., the US, Canada, & Germany) (Döring & Poeschl, 2020; Kwakye, 2020; Reece et al., 2009; Wood et al., 2017). Women across sexual orientation prefer external use of vibrators for direct clitoral stimulation (Davis et al., 1996; Fahs & Swank, 2013), whereas bisexual & gay men prefer internal use of vibrators for anal stimulation (Reece et al., 2010; Rosenberger et al., 2012).

In the UK, more women own vibrators than dishwashers (Smile Makers).

Shere Hite (1976) similarly found that 95% of cis women who masturbated “could orgasm easily and regularly, whenever they wanted.”

Kinsey found that 45% of cis women took one to three minutes to orgasm through masturbation, 25% took four to five minutes, 19% took six to 10 minutes, and only 12% took over 10 minutes. Many of those who took longer to reach orgasm did so to prolong the pleasure of the activity.

By @suzannahweiss, 2018
— The idea that men orgasm more easily than women is one of the most ubiquitously believed gender differences, yet it’s been known since the ’50s that this is only true during intercourse.

Gauvin et al., 2020

“Bisexual men in a relationship with a female partner reported vibrator use more frequently than did men with male partners.

Approximately half (49.8%) of gay and bisexually identified men reported having used vibrators. Most men who had used a vibrator in the past reported use during masturbation (86.2%). When used during partnered interactions, vibrators were incorporated into foreplay (65.9%) and intercourse (59.4%).

“When asked to describe which partner was more likely to suggest using a vibrator together, most reported that it was not typically up to one person to suggest vibrator use; most reported (61.1%, n = 2,279) that vibrator use was a mutual decision between both partners.

“Reported reasons for why bisexual and heterosexual women were uncomfortable telling their partner about their solitary vibrator use included being too embarrassed to tell their partner or worrying that they may insult him or hurt his feelings.

These worries were not unfounded, several women had been told by their partners that solitary masturbation and vibrator use would ‘make him feel less of a man’ (Herbenick et al., 2010, p. 58). Interestingly, attitudes towards vibrators appear to differ by sexual orientation. Although 100% (n = 26) of the lesbian women in this sample reported feeling comfortable using a vibrator with a partner, only 68.5% (n = 252) of the heterosexual women reported feeling comfortable (Herbenick et al., 2010).

Lesbian women tended to describe sex toys as ‘fun and subversive’, whereas heterosexual women tended to describe sex toys with shame or as a threat to their male partners (Fahs & Swank, 2013). The hesitancy that some women with male partners experience in incorporating vibrators into their partnered interactions is important, because they may be missing out on a potential to enhance their sexual experiences. Indeed, sex therapists and educators have long proposed the therapeutic utility of vibrators in enhancing sexual pleasure (Heiman, LoPiccolo, & Piccolo, 2010; Marcus, 2011).”

Bisexual men are more likely to use a vibrator with a girlfriend than a boyfriend…

Gay men use it at rates comparable to lesbians

Straight women use it less with their straight male partner than either lesbians, gay men, bisexual women (overall), or women dating bisexual men.

Because straight men’s egos are more fragile than gay men’s & bisexual men’s egos (perhaps their masculinity becomes toxic because it’s so defensive/ frail).

Globalization has Modulated Masculinity

International relations requires positive interactions with different cultures & things considered appropriate masculine behavior in one Western country may not be in a non-Western country (especially in terms of greetings). As such, workplace masculinity in itself has likely been moderated in Western countries over time by the need to display more tactfulness in international dialogues.

Digisexuals

– “Those whose main sexual identity is perceived through the use of technology … Many of them will realize that the experience with this technology will become an integral part of the sexual identity, and some will prefer it over direct sexual intercourse with people”
- Young, 2017

Digisexual orientations likely increased significantly during the pandemic, leading to an increase in virtually unreal relationships.

Image from Feminism in Play (Gray et al., 2018): https://www.google.com/books/edition/Feminism_in_Play/M1dxDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover

Paul Campobasso, 2018

In Japan, a woman was jailed after logging into the account of her virtual partner in the game Maple Story and killing his avatar in act of revenge for suddenly divorcing her in the game world. “She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

In August 2008, a woman was charged in Delaware with plotting the real-life abduction of a boyfriend she met through “Second Life” (CBS, 2008).

In 2012 programmers for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Rift included an option that allowed gamers to marry as many in-game non-playable characters (NPCs) as possible on Valentine’s Day. In that 24-hour period 21,879 marriages occurred between gamers and NPCs — a Guinness World Record.”

Tingting Liu & Zishan Lai, 2020

Of the 600 million gamers in China (Niko Partners, 2018), 44.2% are women (MobData, 2018).

Mainstream digital gaming has been identified as a space marked by compulsory (hetero)sexuality and hypermasculine gender role norms (Blackburn & Scharrer, 2019; Ruberg, 2019).

Gender is culturally constructed and discursively performed (Butler, 1990). The so-called ‘masculine’ traits (such as strength, dominance, aggression, and violence) and the ‘feminine’ traits (such as dependency, emotionality, and submissiveness) are not determined by biology, but are discursively constructed and internalized by individuals (Bem, 1974; Connell & Messerschmidt, 2005; Hird & Jackson, 1999).

— —

Yi, 2019 (Gospel)

Gameplay affects players’ racial stereotypes (Behm-Morawitz & Ta, 2014), sexist attitudes (Breuer, et al., 2015), gender stereotypes (Kondrat, 2015).

From a traditional gender attitudes perspective, women always yield to others, while men are supposed to play a dominant role in sexual relationships (Kiefer & Sanchez, 2007).

— — Researchers utilize cultivation theory to link romantic beliefs with romantic media, such as soap operas (Vu & Lee, 2013), Disney movies (Mirchandani, 2017), wedding reality show (Hefner, 2016), and teenager movies (Driesmans, Vandenbosch, & Eggermont, 2016).

— — — Sexual television program exposure is positively associated with permissive sexual attitudes, and parasocial relationships significantly mediated this relationship (Bond & Drogos, 2004).

— — — — Videogames’ “interactivity and immersive experience will intensify the effects (Mierlo & Bulck, 2004).

Dating simulation games (dating sims), otherwise known as romantic games or relationship simulation role-playing games (RS-RPG), originate in Japan and go back to the 1990’s with a large market in East Asia, especially in China (Song & Fox, 2016).

— — Romantic media, including the dating sims, are identified as an essential source of sex knowledge and impact young adults to develop gender attitudes related to sexual relationships (Brown, Halpern, & L’Engle, 2005; Ter Bogt, Engels, Bogers, & Kloosterman, 2010). In China, the mass media play the most important role in sex education, especially when people are not comfortable talking about sex with their children (Zhang, Li, & Shah, 2007).

— — — Playing female-oriented dating sims have benefits by reducing the traditional social norm that men should always initiate sexual relationships and PCR may promote an equal gender attitude.

— — — — Players spend hours to go through every thread in the game and find the best ending with a favorite character, which fulfills an ideology of romanticism that conquers all the obstacles for true love… practice for perfect intimate relationships.

Dialogue Trees → To better enjoy the heterosexual romantic fantasy, the game adds interactivity to help players identify with the avatar. For example, players can name the avatar in the beginning and play in the first-person perspective.
The key of the gameplay is to control the story when different threads come out (see Figure 3). The events and selections in the game are designed as a decision tree format, which means different choices will lead to different endings. Players need to make each choice correctly to reach the desired relationship outcome.

📺❤ Parasocial Relationships

A parasocial relationship (PSR) is “a seeming face-to-face relationship” between media users and media personas (Horton & Wohl, 1956). As parasocial relationship theory suggests, media users have a pseudo social relationship with persona through mediated interpersonal communication (Hartmann, 2008). People can also develop relationships with virtual characters in video games. They devote emotions on male characters, perceiving them as their friends or partners rather than fictional entities (Galbraith, 2011). Therefore, a virtual parasocial relationship will be built between players and game characters.

— — Ballantine and Martin (2016) argue that online media have higher levels of parasocialbility than traditional media. Schmid and Klimmt (2011) studied reader’s PSR with Harry Potter, a virtual character in the novel, across different cultures. It has also been used in video games to examine the relationship between players and game avatars (Jin & Park, 2009).

Taylor (2007) concluded that the male character as the protagonist is just an empty shell, which helps the players easily fit themselves into the character, whereas the female characters can be complicated with emotions and personalities.

Kim (2009): In female oriented games, “players are “identifying with the female avatar and socializing romantically with the game characters.” (Kim, 2009, p.184)”

🎮❤ Tracy McVeigh (2016)

“Recent research by the Japanese government showed that about 30% of single women and 15% of single men aged between 20 and 29 admitted to having fallen in love with a meme or character in a game — higher than the 24% of those women and 11% of men who admitted to falling in love with a pop star or actor.

The development of the multimillion-pound virtual romance industry in Japan reflects the existence of a growing number of people who don’t have a real-life partner, said Yamada. There is even a slang term, “moe”, for those who fall in love with fictional computer characters, while dating sims allow users to adjust the mood and character of online partners and are aimed at women as much as men. A whole subculture, including hotel rooms where a guest can take their console partner for a romantic break, has been springing up in Japan over the past six or seven years.

Play Like A Feminist (Shira Chess, 2020)

Shira Chess urges us to play video games like feminists. Playing like a feminist is empowering and disruptive; it exceeds the boundaries of gender yet still advocates for gender equality. Playing like a feminist offers a new way to think about how humans play — and also a new way to think about how feminists do their feministing.

Video games, Chess tells us, are primed for change. Roughly half of all players identify as female, and Gamergate galvanized many of gaming’s disenfranchised voices. Chess reflects on the importance of play, and playful protest, how feminist video games can help us rethink the ways that we tell stories… [and suggests that we should] spend more time playing [videogames] as a tool of radical disruption.”

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/play-feminist

.

Avatars & Selves — Nicola Liberati, 2018

Gamers immerse themselves into distant worlds using their avatars as their bodies (Liberati, 2013).

“The avatars are not the original bodies of the subjects, but they stand for them as interactive representations of the “original” subjects just like the picture archived in the social networks. [We perceive a collection of pictures strategically chosen by the other as representations of them (Lopato, 2016). Thus, we have a perception of them that is wholly defined by them & which we are unable to change.]

Since the pictures are not the person, but they merely stand for that person (Husserl, 1980; Lotz, 2007), the perception of the other is excluded.

Digital anthropologists begin to frame the digital as existing in its own right,”[and many] commune in the Internet for a type of sociality that is unavailable in non-digital spaces.

Through the avatar and the freedom in its customization, the avatars embed in themselves the desires of the users in how they want to be perceived in the virtual space (Mancini and Sibilla, 2017). To build an avatar is a way to be perceived by others, [similar to the way people choose] clothes to wear for a special occasion in order to present themselves in a particular way (Liberati, 2017; Twigg, 2009).

However, [avatars limit] the perception of the other to just the selected elements that exist within the virtual space. Avatars stand [as representations of the gamer] but they are not the real person. The [partner] perceives only what the [actor] wants to show. The avatar could resemble the original body of the person, but nothing stops the users to create an avatar completely different from their actual appearances.

Most Cars Are Women

People tend to name their cars & personify various nonhuman objects (Epley et al., 2007; Etzrodt and Engesser, 2021; Gavin Abercrombie et al., 2021; Guthrie, 1995; Reeves and Nass, 1996).

People are most likely to give their cars a female name.

.

Sidenotes

Interracial Preferences (Chan & Kiang, 2021)

“…those with stable ethnic dating preferences (preferring to consistently date either a same-ethnicity or a different-ethnicity partner throughout high school) maintained these preferences over time” (Chan & Kiang, 2021, p. 76).

Interracial Closet & LGB Coming Out to Mom vs Dad (Brummett & Steuber, 2015)

Sharing can thus become complicated in negotiating control when partners declare differential disclosure preferences.

Some are more prone to sharing relational information with network members, whereas their partners view all relational information as inherently private.

Staying in the closet means they can “avoid social sanctions and maintain existing network connections (Caughlin, 2009; Caughlin, Afifi, Carpenter-Theune, & Miller, 2005).

Disclosure risks may be higher for one partner than the other (e.g., a multiracial woman may feel more comfortable sharing the relationship while her Sri Lankan boyfriend is concerned how his parents will react).

Eric Hal Schwartz (May 2020)

“Overall, 60% of voice assistant users said the tech was helping them during isolation.” Most reported that their VA has became “a part of the family during” 2020’s initial COVID19 quarantine.

“Voice assistants appear to be forming an important part of people’s coping toolbox whilst stuck at home — and we don’t expect to see these habits fall away anytime soon.”

— Voxly head of strategy Rozzi Meredith

Schwarz (April 27, 2020)

[https://voicebot.ai/2020/04/27/people-are-creating-and-consuming-far-more-audio-content-quarantined-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-report/]

“Both supply and demand for audio content are up since the United Kingdom’s stay-at-home orders took effect, according to a new report from British marketing firm IAB UK.

British people are listening to up to 30% more podcasts, according to the Podfront, Acast, Adswizz, and DAX publishers. DAX found that music streaming has risen by 11% as well. Those consuming more audio content have more to listen to than before as a result of the same quarantine conditions. IAB’s clients reported major growth in audio content publication. Podcast producers published more in a week during the last week of March, according to Acast, while DAX is reporting a 50% growth in SoundCloud tracks published. Those tracks include 30,000 with #covid19 as a tag.”

The power of a name
“Voice AI Startup Skit Raises $23M After Changing Name From Vernacular.ai” (September 1, 2021) [https://voicebot.ai/2021/09/01/voice-ai-startup-skit-raises-23m-after-changing-name-from-vernacular-ai/]

Mental Health Vocal Biomarker Startup Kintsugi Raises $8M
[https://voicebot.ai/2021/08/31/mental-health-vocal-biomarker-startup-kintsugi-raises-8m/]

Elon Musk Starts Hiring Engineers to Build a Humanoid Tesla Bot for Next Year [https://voicebot.ai/2021/08/27/elon-musk-starts-hiring-engineers-to-build-a-humanoid-tesla-bot-for-next-year/]

Facebook Opens Tests Horizon Workrooms for Virtual Human Offices [https://voicebot.ai/2021/08/24/facebook-opens-tests-horizon-workrooms-for-virtual-human-offices/]

.

Voice Assistant & Gender Biases

(Caitlin Chin & Mishaela Robison, November, 2020)

“In the United States, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant — which collectively total an estimated 92.4% of U.S. market share for smartphone assistants — have traditionally featured female-sounding voices.”

Since the 1950s…
“Two of the earliest voice-activated assistants, phone dialer Audrey and voice calculator Shoebox, could understand spoken numbers zero through nine and limited commands but could not verbally respond in turn. In the 1990s, speech recognition products entered the consumer market with Dragon Dictate, a software program that transcribed spoken words into typed text. It wasn’t until the 2010s that modern, AI-enabled voice assistants reached the mass consumer market — beginning in 2011 with Apple’s Siri and followed by Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana, among others.”

COVID19 social distancing…
“increased the frequency with which voice assistant owners use their devices due to more time spent at home, prompting further integration with these products.” (Chin & Robison, 2020)

How We View Them…
“Voice assistants play a unique role in society; as both technology and social interactions evolve, recent research suggests that users view them as somewhere between human and object. While this phenomenon may somewhat vary by product type — people use smart speakers and smartphone assistants in different manners — their deployment is likely to accelerate in coming years.”

— — — — — — — — — — —

Ai Women

“Women are more likely to both offer and be asked to perform extra work, particularly administrative work — and these “non-promotable tasks” are expected of women but deemed optional for men. In a 2016 survey, female engineers were twice as likely, compared to male engineers, to report performing a disproportionate share of this clerical work outside their job duties.”

Ai Race

“In addition to designing more reliable products, diverse teams can be financially profitable. In a 2015 McKinsey study, companies in the upper quartile of either ethnic or gender diversity were more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, while those in the bottom quartile lagged behind the industry average. The relationship between diversity and profit was linear: every 10% increase in the racial diversity of leadership was correlated with 0.8% higher earnings.

Despite the benefits of diverse teams, there is a lack of diversity within the STEM pipeline and workforce. In 2015, approximately 19.9% of students graduating with a U.S. bachelor’s degree in engineering identified as women, up from 19.3% in 2006. Meanwhile, about 18.7% of software developers and 22.8% of computer hardware engineers currently identify as women in the United States. The same is true of companies leading AI development — Google, for instance, reported that its global percentage of women in technical roles increased from 16.6% in 2014 to 23.6% in 2020 (meanwhile, Google’s global percentage of women grew from 30.6% to 32.0% over the same time period). While this increase demonstrates progress, it is still far from parity for these positions. Similarly, neither Apple, Microsoft, nor Amazon have achieved an equal gender breakdown in their technical or total workforces — and overall, Black and Latinx women hold fewer than 1.5% of leadership positions in Silicon Valley.”

Gendered Ads

“Analyzing information from over 2.5 million job advertisements on three different employment search websites in Mexico, we find evidence that advertisements seeking “communal” characteristics, stereotypically associated with women, specify lower salaries than those seeking “agentic” characteristics, stereotypically associated with men.”

Ads with agentic words increase the salary by 6–11%

Ads using appearance related words have a +5–7% effect the salary, and these ads were mostly directed at women.

“Overall, the analysis of categories indicates that ads directed at women specify more communal characteristics as well as those related to appearance, language, software, and customer interaction, while those directed at men more frequently specify time and travel availability” (Eva Arceo-Gómez et al., 2020).

jasmine renae, 2020 (February 26)

“The typical e-girl exists mainly on Twitter and Instagram, typically subscribing to an existing aesthetic preordained by others as the ideal cool girl look for this generation (generation z). We as a generation have grown to place substantial value on those who can maintain a following on social media, and be lauded typically for being beautiful, stylish and/or popular.”

🚗She made me a better man… and driver (Bruce Simons-Morton et al., 2005)

Males kept more distance from the vehicle in front of them when driving with a female than with a male.
Risky driving among teen females was significantly higher in the presence of a female passenger.

Ai Thread by Misha da Vinci

.

--

--

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.