Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Sex with Glass. Wait, what?!

So, the first image that sprung to mind with the phrase "sex with glass" was of a creepy voyeur rubbing themselves against my double glazing. Or a bloke on a late night trip to A&E with his knob trapped in the neck of a beer bottle. Apparently, though, sex with glass is an app - an app which lets you see what your partner sees during sex, via the magic of Google Glass.

Cue sexy pictures on the promo website. The clear heterosexual stance has been noted by most critics already - along with the proliferation of sexualised female bodies. Which makes me wonder, who is this app really for?

The app claims to show us the "whole picture".

Hold on, let's just look at that claim. He sees a woman's body. She sees a woman's body... But the whole picture reveals a man and a woman. WHERE DID HE COME FROM?! The squeamishness against showing naked men in our culture has been widely documented, so I won't go into it too much here. Suffice to say, this is just another tiring example of the way in which a woman's naked body, in the act of being looked at by a man, symbolises sex and is in some way supposed to create sexual arousal in both men and women. (Read feminism film critic Laura Mulvey's thoughts on the male gaze). Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not driven to wild distraction by the view of my own junk every time I have a shower/get changed/go to the loo. In fact, I'm pretty sure my life would be impacted pretty negatively if that was the case. So, Sex with Glass, let's do away with this silencing of what women actually see, shall we? We're not all obsessed with looking at our own vaginas.

In reality of course, that's exactly what you are likely to see. Though not through your own eyes, but through your partner's. Where Sex with Glass promises to give you the "whole picture", they're really selling a prospect which seems as unappetising as standing before Gok Wan's 360ยบ mirror of shame. Yep, that's it, you'll see your own arse, vagina, stray hairs, spots, wrinkles, flab, in their full-frontal nudey glory! Or, if adopting the missionary position, you'll see a space-age twit with weird glasses and an eerily glazed expression that's focused an inch in front of their own eyes. Imagine having to look at yourself, completely in your nuddy-pants, but for a pair of science goggles - all dignity erased in an instant.

Now, fundamentally that's not the main problem I have with the sex-goggles. We should be happy to embrace our bodies in all their flawed glory. I just think it would be distracting, that it would take you out of the moment a bit. I mean, come on, let's be honest, literally no one wants to be confronted with their own sex-face.

The weirdest thing for me has to be the fact that neither of you are looking at each other, you're watching yourself being watched, like some kind of sex-nightmare-hall of mirrors. Does it promote intimacy? Perhaps. Playing around and trying new things might make you closer. But it puts me more in mind of the creepy sex scene in Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, where a couple in the death-throes of a relationship watch scenes of their past encounters in their heads whilst having sex, with horrible glazed eyes.

What's more likely, in my opinion, is that it decreases our understanding of sex as something physically experienced, in order to appeal to the increasing fetishisation of watching. It plays on the pornification of sex that's pervaded our understanding of what it is to be a sexual being.

Yes, sex specs might be an amusing novelty. It might make for a bit of fun. You might even bond a bit over the hilarity that ensues. Or it might be great, what do I know? That's fine. Get the app, get the glasses, piss yourself laughing over the way your partner issues the operational instructions: "OK Glass, it's time," and, "OK Glass, pull out," like Luke Skywalker giving instructions to R2D2. (Yes, that's genuinely how they're controlled). But don't forget, sex isn't just there to be watched. Making a genuine connection with someone might be harder if you're busy staring at your self.  



  1. Spot on. Feministfrequency reminded me of the John Berger quote the other day 'men dream about women. women dream about men dreaming of them'. Probably misquoted but the sentiment is exactly that.

    Maybe once women are more equal in the media/ advertising world, perhaps we'll see more of what we actually dream about. Maybe...

  2. I appreciate what you are doing with this blog-- keep it up, it is imperative we break the glass. So to speak.