Suga Suga: Paul Virillio’s Take on Sex & Technology

Paul Virilio concludes the third section of his book, Open Sky, by honing in on the idea that technology is influencing our very existence regardless of our efforts to try and stop it. Virilio strongly focuses on technology’s effect on personal relationships we have and how the nature of personal relationships have changed because of technology.

Virilio states that because technology makes people capable of fostering relationships with little to no physical contact, the essence of relationships is deteriorating. He continues to explain that couples no longer need physical contact because they can stimulate pleasure with the aid of technology.  Summarizing Virilio’s points with a broad stroke, he is arguing that there has come a wedge between people and the world.  And this wedge is largely due to technology and the ripple effect it has caused on society.

Now, generally speaking, has society becoming more detached from the world? Sure. People sit around in a booth at a restaurant together but remain silent while they play on their phones.  Has technology affected the way in which we live? Absolutely, you can thank tech giants like Apple and Google for that. But is there no hope for humanity? Are we now incapable of producing meaningful relationships? Are the relationships made online less legitimate because of the medium the two people met? I do not know.  Virillio has written 145 pages in response to these questions, but who is Virllio to label what is meaningful and measure meaning like flour for a cookie recipe?

From this section, Virillio’s take of sex proved to be the most interesting as he compares the evolution of sex to that of cars with the stages of beginning, instrument, and instinct. He focuses upon the idea of sexual diversion and the effect technology has and will have on our view of sex.  The bottom line is sex is human nature. It will has happened, it will happen, and it will continue to happen.  Although the nature of sex can change.  The rise of technology paved the way to alternative forms of pleasure such as pornography and cyber sex. No one can deny that, however, Virillio’s claim that society is becoming a mindless sex machine, I would argue is a sweeping generalization.  Over the decades has sex become increasingly embraced and exploited by society? Yes, but to say it has lost all meaning and we think as robots towards sex is quite the statement to make to a world with 7.13 billion people.

Therefore, if we accept Virillio’s argument in full, is the path we are on that devastating? People said it was crazy attempt to fly, now it’s the safest, quickest way of travel.  People said it was crazy to produce home computers. Now this very book was written because of the success mainstream technology has gained. So, are we doomed or are the arguments laid out exaggerated instances?


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