Virtual Touch: A Short History of VR-Ready Interactive Toys

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see a digital edition of the magazine.

For as long as people have dreamed of flying cars, so have they dreamed of sex robots. But unlike modes of transportation a la The Jetsons, pleasure products manufacturers have embraced available technology to bring us closer to Woody Allen’s Orgasmatron.

These days, manufacturers are looking for ways to pair their wares with virtual reality technology. One of the first leaps into sex in a virtual word came with Second Life. The online virtual world launched in 2003 and soon after Residents learned they could build stores and use currency to interact, they took it a step further by interacting physically. From there, the idea of virtual sex took another big leap with the introduction of the RealTouch from AEBN.

The RealTouch was a male masturbation device that utilized haptic technology to allow the device to sync up with specially coded adult videos and simulate the experience a man viewed on the screen. While in use, the RealTouch would mimic the feel, heat and moisture levels show in the movie.

Since then, as VR porn is starting to find its footing, fans of virtual reality and sex toys have tried to create the Next Big Thing to take the world by storm.

Topco Sales last summer announced its partnership with PornHub to create the TwerkingButt, which provides an interactive cyber experience with multiple twerking patterns, customizable rhythms, massage speeds, sensual vibrations, Bluetooth technology and simulated body heat, all within Topco’s patented Cyberskin material.

“It took us over two years to bring TwerkingButt from concept to reality. Our development team worked tirelessly to combine the latest wireless, app and optical technologies as well as our patented Cyberskin, which simulates the sensual feel of true skin-to-skin contact,” said Michael Siegel, then COO of Topco Sales, when the product debuted in July 2015. “With the included virtual reality goggles and downloadable 3D content, it becomes a truly immersive experience.”

To date, most of the products and ideas about combining sex toys with haptic and/or virtual reality technology have centered around masturbation devices for men. In addition to the RealTouch and TwerkingButt, Fleshlight debuted the VStroker. The individually personalized fully interactive sex toy for men, the VStroker is an attachment pairs with a Fleshlight product and studies users’ penetration and motion and transmits the information to a designated computer via wireless USB connection. While viewing live-action cinema on a Mac or PC, users are in total control of every thrust and can virtually bring the look, feel and motion of a favorite adult performer into the privacy of their own homes.

In its partnership with European company Kiiroo last year, Fleshlight went even further in the interactive universe. Fleshlight provides the Real Feel Super Skin materials for use in the sleeves of Kiiroo’s Onyx masturbator, which can be linked up to the Kiiroo Pearl device. The Pearl looks like a traditional vibrator, but is loaded inside with sensors that translate friction, intensity and other bits of data remotely to the Onyx masturbator. The Pearl can also function as a solo vibrator. The toys can be used with an app that produces shared sensations.

Most recently Kiiroo has teamed up with Datoro Media to launch a new interactive site,, where fans can interact with adult performers virtually by viewing videos that produce sensations in the Onyx masturbator. The site launched with content featuring Tanya Tate, Lisa Ann, Bobbi Eden and Jasmine Jae, and by mid-May the following stars had been added: Asa Akira, Nikki Benz, Jessica Drake, Sasha Grey, Jenna Haze, Audrey Hollander, Katsuni, Misty Stone and Alexis Texas.

“I am excited that my fans can really feel me now when they purchase their own Tanya Tate Experience. Not only will they get to feel my pussy around them, but they can also interact with me by watching my videos. This is the closest they can get to having sex with me,” Tate said.

Retailers can place wholesale orders of Kiiroo’s Onyx masturbator and Pearl vibrator and the various Fleshlight models from adult distributors, including Eldorado Trading Company and Eropartner.

Also benefiting from the collaboration between Kiiroo and Fleshlight are cam performers, who can use the Onyx and Pearl devices for their own purposes. Cam performer Natalie Starr, for instance, stayed busy in the Flirt4Free booth at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo earlier this year showing off her own Fleshlight to fans.

Attendees of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo may be familiar with the Piu, from ImToy. Also for men, the Piu vibrates in sync with various erotic movies via a smart device. An accompanying free app allows users to download films from an expanding collection of adult content programmed to mimic the rhythm and action on the screen.

Despite all the readily available items for men looking to get their rocks off in a virtual reality world, there are still those who dream big. Japanese erotic game developer Illusion announced the development of a full-body virtual reality sex suit so men can have sex in VR with an anime character thanks to the incorporation of a Samsung Gear VR headset, a Tenga masturbation device and prosthetic breasts.

“The suit, by the way, was an April Fool’s joke,” said Eddie Marklew, who handles global marketing for Tenga. Marklew said Tenga is not working with Illusion on any products, but noted the game development company has already created some products using the Tenga Cup series as the masturbation device.

“The device for VR plus Forcefeedback controller plus Tenga is apparently in the works,” Marklew said. “Again, this is by Illusion so we don’t know anything about the progress or if they really are trying to make a sellable product.”