Sex Tech – Sex in 3D

This is a continuing column on the developing world of virtual reality porn and other sex related technologies. The author has been reviewing computer software and technology for over 20 years.


We are on the verge of a virtual explosion in opportunities to view sex in 3D. New technologies are creating new and never before possible experiences. Before we get to that though, we’ll take a look at a little of the history of 3D.

The ability to create 3D photos goes back to the 1840s when stereographs were first introduced. By 3D, we are referring to the techniques developed that allows an image to be separated into two images from slightly different points of view, and then each image is sent to one eye, and the brain turns it into a sterescopic image. They were, for a long time, even more popular than regular photographs, and most homes in the U.S. had a stereographic viewer. As with most new visual technologies, pornographic images were an early part of the market.

One of the best collections we have seen is Serge Nazarieff’s now out of print The Steresocopic Nude 1850-1930. It includes 197 rare stereo photos. If you are interested in nude stereoscopy, it is worth hunting the used books stores or Amazon to find.

You can view a lot of nude and erotic stereographic images from the CenterSEE archives by visiting the Erotic University virtual campus. There is a new collection of 3D images every month in the Visual Arts Department galleries. It is free to sign-up and visit the campus, and if you already have done that you can go straight to the Visual Arts Department.

There are two types of 3D images in the EU galleries. On alternating months they display freeview images, which can be viewed with the naked eye once you learn the simple technique. The disadvantage is that the larger these images are, the more difficult they are to view. On the other months they display what are known as anaglyph images. These combine the two images together into a single image, but require red/blue glasses to view. These glasses are cheap and commonly available.

anaglyphAnaglyph viewable using red/bue glasses

Erotic University incorporates another use of 3D in their Sexual Skills Center. Go to the hall, and directly ahead you will find the Holographic Kama Sutra. You will need red/blue glasses to view it. Inside, you will find an assortment of sexual positions organized into classic positions and positions for pregnancy, threesomes, disabilities, and for sex furniture. Each position can be viewed by rotating completely around it and from the top and bottom.

Besides these classic ways to view 3D, there are also more modern technologies. An entirely different way of viewing 3D is through the use of lenticular images. This uses two or more images layered together to create the illusion of the depth. One of the more common uses is to create simple animation by slightly tilting the image- a slight change in viewpoint lets you see the other images. This has been popular for a long time, and I’m sure you’ve seen them on pencil cases and postcards. There is a company that makes adult lenticular images. Lantor Ltd. offers a number of adult images, which you can purchase as Note Books, Photo Albums,  Address Books, Sticker Albums, Magnets, and framed.

There are also stereograms, that you view in the same way that you do freeviewing (viewing with the naked eye by slightly crossing your eyes). Nude and erotic stereograms are relatively rare, but we did find a few on the Color Stereo site. They don’t have anything for sale but they have some unique and fascinating freeview images, with a few nudes spread throughout the galleries. Check out Nikki SkyBlue Gallery, Stereo Nude, Wood Nymph and Tonguespoid.

Movies in 3D are nothing new, but they have become popular again, and the technology has improved a bit. A few in the adult industry have embraced this new technology, but while 3D movies have done well in the movie theater, they have not done as well in the home market. People don’t go to theaters to watch porn anymore, which was probably one of the main reasons that the Chinese made 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy released in 2011 did not sell a lot of tickets. The home market for 3D has had a difficult time. Using the inexpensive passive glasses just does not look good enough, and the LCD glasses that look great are stupidly expensive.

There have been a few notable titles, including the parody from Axel Braun in 2010- This Ain’t Avatar XXX. Those expecting amazing 3D, blue makeup that actually stays on during sex,  and an engaging plot, might be a little disappointed (Sorry, Alex, I have liked a lot of your work in the past- and that pink penis problem with an inability to put makeup down there to match the rest of the body has only been solved once that I am aware of, in the 2008 This Ain’t the Munsters, where the green Herman Munster has a big white cock sewn on as a gift to Lily.)

Hustler has been one of the leaders in making 3D adult movies, including their take on Die Hard where the terrorists take over the Flynt building. The market has yet to really take off, but if you have the proper gear to view them at home, there are a number of titles available through Adult Empire. You can also view trailers at DVDTrailerTube.

The most sophisticated form of 3D still image is the hologram. Having viewed quite a number of erotic holograms at various exhibitions, I find the holograms of the nude human form to be quite astonishing. It is as if you are looking in at a person frozen in time, with a sense of three dimensionality that no other medium can match.

deannabrooksOne of the pioneers in creating nude erotic laser images is Laser Reflections. This San Francisco based company also does commissioned work, and has available a series of Playboy Playmate images. In the photo, Playboy Playmate Deanna Brooks, Miss May 1998, poses next to her hologram. If you are in San Francisco, you can visit their free gallery. You can learn more about them from the Laser Reflections Web site, but you won’t find their Playboy images from their main site.  You will need this special link:  Playmate images.

The next big innovation was moving holograms. A staple of science fiction films long before they were technically possible, at this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, CamSoda had a live video hologram on display.  It is interesting but still very much a developing technology, and a long ways from being in people’s homes.

What can be in your home and pretty much anywhere you go is another type of 3D image, both moving and still, that far exceeds everything that has come before. We are talking Virtual Reality Headsets. Yes, it is still a technology in its infancy, the image quality is still far from where you would really like it to be, and developers are still trying to figure out how to take best advantage of it, but it is an absolutely amazing technology. The ability to look around a photograph in 360 degrees is incredible, and when you look around a video it is jaw dropping.

Since the adult industry is a major pioneer in this technology, we are going to do a series of articles about it. Next month we’ll provide an introduction to the technology how you can get started with it for as little as $15.00. In April, we’ll go into detail about how the major adult companies are using it, and what they’re plans for the future are.