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There’s a near-naked woman pole dancing in a conference room on Madison Avenue.

It would probably violate some kind of co-working space rule if she were there in the flesh. Instead, the woman, clad in a white thong, is in the room via augmented reality and has appeared on a tablet screen like some sort of reverse Pokémon Go game. Instead of cartoon monsters, there are nude dancers, and instead of tossing a virtual ball to make those monsters disappear, you drag and drop from the screen to make naked models appear, life-size, in front of you.

“I like being your private dancer,” the woman says, gyrating, jiggling and spinning around on top of a small conference table.

The woman is an adult film actress, and her three-dimensional dance is part of a slate of augmented-reality and virtual-reality erotica created by Naughty America, a publisher and producer of adult content whose website is most certainly not safe for work. If you take the experience a step further and access Naughty America’s content using a VR headset, the conference room will melt away entirely. The viewer, reclining on a white leather couch, can drop actors and actresses of their choice into a virtual penthouse suite surrounding them and can move around the room to watch their new companions strip and dance.

“People will buy the Oculus Go or another headset to watch porn but eventually, they will want to watch something else, and that opens the door.”

Xavi Clos, head of VR product, CM Productions

Naughty America makes porn, but the subscription-based company says it views itself primarily as a tech company pushing the boundaries of virtual- and augmented-reality entertainment. The company has produced X-rated AR and VR experiences since 2015, including 3D adult experiences and live-action VR porn, and it’s far from the only company banking on the business proposition of making technologically advanced adult content. BaDoink VR, another adult content company that produces live-action VR porn, sends subscribers Google Cardboard headsets to turn their mobile screens into VR viewing goggles. In February, it began selling Facebook’s Oculus Go headsets preloaded with the company’s content.

For people who like the idea of watching porn in virtual reality, the bullishness with which Naughty America and BaDoink have approached the medium is great news. But the porn industry’s investment in virtual reality may also serve to benefit the VR industry more broadly. If history is any guide, porn has been nothing but good for tech companies, encouraging consumers to adopt new hardware and even coming up with innovative business models and methods on new platforms. After all, what better way to introduce shiny, expensive tech to the masses than by enticing them with X-rated content?

“People will buy the Oculus Go or another headset to watch porn but eventually, they will want to watch something else, and that opens the door,” said Xavi Clos, the head of VR product at BaDoink VR’s parent company, CM Productions. “This is called porn helping the VR manufacturers and helping the VR ecosystem to grow.”

Jonathan Coopersmith, a technology professor at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, has written at length about the connection between pornography and technology adoption. In an academic article published in the journal Icon, Coopersmith posited that porn “would be publicly praised as an industry that has successfully and quickly developed, adopted and diffused technologies” if not for its salacious and morally controversial subject matter.

Take the VCR, one of the more enduring examples of porn’s effect on the adoption of new tech hardware. The cost of producing and distributing porn on videotape became a viable and relatively low-cost option for the industry compared with the cost of making and distributing an X-rated feature film, and because there’s always a demand for porn, the chance to make money was high.

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