Arielle Pardes | You, me and glass
The Screwtinizer | Why sex with Google Glass won't catch on
January 30, 2014, 5:51 pm · Updated January 31, 2014, 12:58 am·
Arielle Pardes | DP
Okay, Glass. It’s time.
Time for the wildest threesome technology can provide: you, your partner and Google Glass, the dorky-but-awesome operating system that sits mounted on your forehead.
Technology is no stranger to sex: iPods stream mood music, computers stream pornography and we can scroll through apps on our smartphones to find a hook-up for the night. But this — a new app for Google Glass, called Glance — is new. It involves actually incorporating Glass into sex itself.
Glance (which has also been buzzed about under the name “Sex With Glass”) was dreamed up by a team of London-based developers who promise users they can “experience sex like never before.” The thrust of it is watching yourself have sex, from your partner’s perspective. The caveat is that you both have to wear the clunky Glass headset in the sack and chat with it throughout the session: “Okay, Glass, turn down the lights.”
If this is the cutting edge of technology, then forgive me for feeling dubious.
I won’t pretend to be one of the rare few who sport Google Glass, but I’m intrigued by the idea nonetheless. Admittedly, I’d love to see what I look like during sex — maybe for narcissistic reasons, or maybe just to see if I look like I think I do. Glance taps into some kind of natural curiosity about how our partner sees us during sex, and whether or not that image matches our expectations.
Without reading too much into the intention of the developers, I think it’s safe to say that Glance nods toward this instinctive curiosity and also offers permission to indulge in it. Their marketing has made it clear that it’s natural to want to know what we look like and that (surprise!) it’s not anything like porn.
In fact, they’ve tagged the app with the phrase “real world sex,” a slogan made popular by the do-it-yourself porn site Make Love Not Porn, which promotes “real” images of sex over the hyper-performative versions in mainstream pornography.
When I asked Make Love Not Porn’s founder Cindy Gallop about Glance, she was all about it, praising the technology for its “enormous simplicity.” The Glance team, she believes, is a valuable partner in the burgeoning real sex movement. But she admitted that Google Glass is still a long way from becoming accessible or affordable, and that even if it were, it needs to “overcome that ostentatious impact,” otherwise known as the “Glasshole” effect.
Gallop’s point is worth noting: Despite being one of Glance’s more vocal supporters, she has no interest in adopting Google Glass. And yet, without Glass, you can’t use Glance. The project is doomed by its platform.
Still, I’m not convinced that the platform is altogether necessary. There are plenty of ways to watch yourself have sex, Glass not required. It actually seems as though a technology as clunky as Glass could be obstructive during sex: I might be curious about my O-face, but that face just wouldn’t be the same with the futuristic metal headband strapped across my forehead. And I’m all for setting the scene for a steamy night, but is there a way to seductively whisper, “Okay, Glass: Play Marvin Gaye,” without sounding completely ludicrous?
The idea of Glance is altogether reminiscent of the striking sex scene in Her, where we watch the protagonist engage in an awkward threesome between a flesh-and-blood stranger and the breathy voice of the operating system-slash-lover. Ultimately, no one has very much fun, if sex with your tech is complicated.
Until Google can make a less ostentatious model of Glass, I can’t imagine that Glance will or should become a regular feature in anyone’s bedroom. Like a threesome, some things are better left out of the normal routine.
Still, if I happened upon a set of Google Glass tomorrow and had a tech nerd for a sex partner, would I try it? I’m sure I would, if only for curiosity’s sake.
Until then, those who want to satisfy their curiosity or get it on to the vision of themselves without looking like a “Glasshole” — go find a mirror.
Okay, Glass. Pull out.
Arielle Pardes is a College senior from San Diego. Her email address is email@example.com. You can follow her @pardesoteric. “The Screwtinizer” appears every Friday.