Teledildonics 101:
Here's Everything You Need To Know

Written by: Angela Watson | Updated: December 17th 2018

Teledildonics is an ever growing segment of the sex toy industry, with new developments occurring at a more rapid pace than ever.

Let's dissect the word first before I get too ahead of myself, shall we? 

Tele- means to or at a distance, like in telephone. -Dild- is simply a shorter term for dildo, but the concept doesn't necessarily apply to only dildos, there just isn't a fancy Latin name for sex toy that sends the same message, and -ic means pertaining to.

So simply, teledildonics is technology that concerns itself with sexual stimulation using a device over a distance. This distance can be as short as within the same room, or as far away as anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

Teledildonics helps bring human intimacy into the act of self-pleasure, even over long distances, effectively turning it from a solo act to something shared between two people. The people most likely to make use of teledildonics are people in long distance relationships that still want to share physical sensations with one another but can't due to physical limitations, with teledildonics someone can bring their partner to orgasm and not even be on the same continent as them. It's also opened another avenue for casual sex, so to speak. There are now websites where people may share permissions to control one another's sex toys and go at it without ever even seeing each other. Gone are the days when not knowing someone's name is the lowest bar of casual sex, now individuals need not know any relevant information about their diddler or their diddlee other than their login information. I could even go as far as to say that handicapped individuals with limited mobility can one day pleasure another human being in a more able-bodied way.

The potential applications of teledildonics has boomed over the past few years for a few reasons that I'll get into in the body of this article. Lately, cam models have gotten in on the action by using these remote-controllable toys so men can touch and tease their cam models of choice back and smile at how much they can do. Teledildonics doesn't discriminate based on sexual orientation or preference, either. Same sex couples as well as transgender individuals can pair a plethora of toys together to cover all of the same bases straight people are trying to.

Most hilariously enough, the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally when she is brought to orgasm by remote controlled underpants while eating lunch can now be replicated in a much more high-tech fashion. Some of the couples I've talked to have worn some of these toys while going about their day and embarrassing one another by turning the devices on while they're in the check-out line. That kind of sexual closeness and lack of inhibition isn't for everyone, but I personally think anything that keeps the sexual aspect of a relationship fun and exhilarating is fantastic and healthy. Obviously these couples don't do it any time where being brought to your knees by a butt plug's vibrations would affect their life in a negative way.

How did teledildonics come about and where is it going now? I've hit the books and gotten to the bottom of it, and am now ready to share it with you, my readers.

The History Of Teledildonics

Much to the surprise of my husband and myself, teledildonics as a term has been around since 1975, having been coined by Ted Nelson who talked about it in his book that hypothesized the future of computer technology in his book Computer Lib / Dream Machines. Naturally, it was a more Popular Science kind of look in that bodysuits would be used to transmit real connections over phone lines. We're not quite at that level yet, unfortunately.

A toy that truly proved the concept of teledildonics wasn't available until 2004, with a wired vibrator that connected directly to a computer. It was a good start and got people thinking about the possibilities teledildonics could offer such as 100% safe sex with partners who have transmittable disease. If you can remember far back enough into the early 2004's though, we were still perfecting flip-phones (I applaud Nokia for their continued dedication to flip phones) and hoping our favorite funny cat .gifs would load in less than thirty seconds time. 

A completely wireless sex toy came about in 2007, and functioned to allow two individuals to transmit sexual stimulation over the game Second Life. Innovation can come from the strangest parts of the world, but it was still very rudimentary (essentially just a bullet vibrator you can jerk off) and focused much more on toys for females, as accurately representing the contractions and feel of a vagina is already a task of it's own without having the necessity of it being synced to the input of another user remotely. At this time, teledildonics was still very dildo focused and niche, accessibility was still a major hurdle any teledildonic manufacturer had to overcome.

The first product made by teledildonic pioneers Lovense came out in 2009, it was both worthwhile and easily available. It was a bullet vibe/egg shaped toy that two users could control through Skype, for the first time teledildonics explicitly for the purpose of helping to bridge couples in a meaningfully intimate way that's as grounded as possible in reality had came along. Lovense no longer sells this toy as it is extremely outdated compared to what's on the market now.

2011 marked the next major milestone in teledildonics, this occurred during the time everyone stopped adding e- before electronic stuff and decided to jack Apple's style with the i- prefix. As such, the iMan and iLady sex toys were the first teledildonic toys that could connect to one another and "share" sensations. These toys didn't get much fanfare and have since faded into complete obscurity, I can't even find anything concrete about these toys having ever been sold in a widespread manner, so I don't know much about how well these toys performed. The lack of information about the toys very well suggests that the toy was probably difficult to use, didn't offer the right kind of sensations, and more than likely had syncing issues. But, the lack of information could be traced to aggressive patent trolling in the USA due to one bad company going too far, I touch on this in the next section.

The Lovense Max and the Lovense Nora then hit the market in 2013, controllable through easy to use apps with a wide array of features and even boasting Bluetooth connectivity. As far as my research can tell me, they are the only teledildonic male masturbator + vibrator combination that can truly make vaginal sex something not limited by physical distance. Depending on internet connection speeds, the only poor attribute is that sometimes the sync can be up to three seconds off, so it wasn't until 2013 that we as consumers had the opportunity to replicate vaginal sex from both a male and female perspective in a way that actually satisfies what consumers seek in how they'd like these toys to function.

The Future Of Teledildonics​​

Compared to other sex toys, teledildonics has moved at a much more glacial pace, and many teledildonic companies have completely vanished after trying to stay in the industry for non-significant amounts of time. 

It turns out the reasoning for this was that the idea of teledildonics itself was patented. Not just a specific design or toy, but the very idea of transmitting sexual sensations over electronic communications was patented about twenty years ago. For the longest time, technology wasn't there at all for it to make much of a difference. After some time however, TZU Technologies, LLC took control of the patent. In the true spirit of reckless capitalism, they sought not to make their own toy with the patent but instead chose to bully sex toy manufacturers into paying a settlement to them to stay operating, with a threat of legal action should they not comply (TZU Technologies has filed 10 suits that were all settled by the company they were suing for undisclosed sums/agreements).

On August 17 of 2018, the patent expired. Now innovators and entrepreneurs alike have nothing to fear from getting into the realm of long distance sex, so I would expect a huge influx of new players into the scene very shortly. I would like to caution my readers against immediately rushing out to purchase these newer toys until the parent companies have a proven track record of proper management of user data collection & sharing. Devices that learn more about how their users use their devices aren't to be feared, that kind of data is used to help consumers, not harm them. But unscrupulous toys that are easily compromised by hackers or collect more identifiable and personal information will surely be a problem, so currently I only recommend purchasing from well established and trustworthy companies like Lovense. If any of you know any other trustworthy teledildonic companies, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

The future of teledildonics is bright and I am excited for what new products are soon to be in development and I suppose eventually inside of me as well. Now companies have nothing to fear from patent trolls and legal setbacks, the race is now on to most perfectly replicate the physical sensations of sex and transmit them over a digital medium. Who knows, maybe the 1975 vision of sex bodysuits coupled with modern VR technology will be the next sexual revolution, for better or for worse.

Experimenting With Teledildonics

Me and my husband enjoy using toys with teledildonic capabilities whenever we are separated from each other. It's a ritual we both have whenever Don is away on a business trip, which we've written about in this article: My Husband and I Tried Long Distance Sex Toys, Here's What Happened

In Closing

Truly, teledildonics is still in it's infancy, with a lot more toys that need to come out to fully service the full spectrum of sexual needs and tastes of the masses.

Lovense is currently the only reputable brand with a serious collection of sex toys to choose from, the Max and the Nora are meant to be used by a male and female couple (they can also be used on their own, there's no need to buy both toys unless you want to specifically connect them and share sensations), with other toys like the wearable Lush vaginal stimulator or the Hush anal plug all coming with full Bluetooth connectivity and a silly amount of different settings to choose from. They've done well for themselves and have been around the longest, commanding enough attention for some of the initial runs of their toys to be funded entirely through crowdfunding websites. They've raised over a hundred thousand dollars each time, so it's not like they're messing around, its us who get to mess around. One of their biggest strengths is that the toys are great on their own even had they not been shipped with long distance or app enabled features.

I'll definitely keep my eyes peeled for any developments in the world of teledildonics. I hope this article was informative and hoped to clear some things up for all of you who are curious.

About Angela Watson

I'm a sex therapist by day and a sex blogger by night. I love to crush the taboos surrounding sex toys and help people become more sexually liberated. There's no topic too risqué for me to cover and I hope to educate and inform my readers on all things sex. All things that concern the female anatomy or require a more clinical approach than my husband Don can provide is covered by me. Have any questions? You can contact me via email.

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