A group of young designers in the U.K. are working on an unauthorized sex app for Google Glass (or a future, sex-app-allowing Google Glass competitor) called Sex With Glass. Developed at a hackathon, the app allows lovers to voice-control the lights and the playlist while live-streaming their partner’s point of view, saving all the footage for postcoital playback. Users can rescind app consent with the verbal command, “Okay, Glass, pull out.” Sex With Glass is the logical conclusion of the sexting trends that cast each of us — but especially Anthony Weiner — as the stars of our own “individualized, participatory pornography,” as actual porn star Conner Habib put it.
According to The Guardian, the designers hope to make sex “more awesome.” But there’s a narcissistic aspect to the app that seems poised to detract from partners’ mutual experience. In video chat, for example, I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on what the other person is saying — I get distracted watching myself concentrate in the corner of the screen. Sex is the rare opportunity to flip the self-consciousness switch, to enjoy your body, and that of a friend. Wouldn’t Sex With Glass turn sex into another moment for self-assessment? The app doesn’t exist yet, and already I feel vaguely like I ought to be at the gym.
Maybe it would be the hottest thing ever! But maybe it would be a nightmare of too-close self-scrutiny — and if it is, women will probably bear the worst of the burden. As the Verge pointed out, the collaborative, homemade pornography showcased in the app’s promo materials looks a lot like conventional, male-oriented pornography. Adi Robertson wrote:
“What does he see? His lover, shot from behind. What does she see? Well … also herself, from the neck down. With the exception of couples shots, every single viewpoint photo appears to be either men looking at women or women looking at themselves. […] What’s the point of letting people see through each other’s eyes if only one person is getting watched?”
The familiar male POV might simply be easier to market. (And not just to men — there’s evidence that it’s what women want, too.) But the emphasis on women’s bodies is also what makes sexting and homemade porn practices riskier for women than for men. “You’ll be able to watch your videos for 5 hours until they are deleted forever,” says the Sex With Glass site, under “Privacy.” “That’s for all the ladies out there.” You know, “the ladies,” with no imaginable use for homemade sex footage, but a very rational concern that an ex could use sexts as a weapon against them.
It costs about $1,500 a person to determine Google Glass’s potential as a sex toy. Regardless, hacking wearable tech for sex overlooks the fundamentals of IRL Sex 101 — that it’s an activity best done not wearing anything. Glasses steam up and fall off; metal jewelry inevitably gets caught in hair somewhere. Even if you’re a pro like James Deen.