Data-driven intimacy: emerging technologies in the (re)making of sexual subjects and ‘healthy’ sexuality

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Wireless sex toys are new technologies that enable sexual partners to connect remotely across long distances. Promoted as enhancing intimacy and pleasure as part of a healthy sex life, these devices buttress a ‘sex for health’ discourse which relies on the collection of intimate data purportedly used to improve current and subsequent teledildonics models. This article draws on two case studies of sex toys developed by leading sex-tech/teledildonic companies Lovense® and Kiiroo® to examine how the relationship between data and sexual subjectivity is being transformed through these emerging technologies. Applying concepts from new materialism, and extending the work of Faustino [(2018). Rebooting an old script by new means: Teledildonics–the technological return to the ‘coital imperative’. Sexuality & Culture, 22, 243–257]’, we explore how sexual practices, intimacy and pleasure become ‘datafied’ through these sensory technologies. Inspired by the concept of the ‘sexuality-assemblage’, we pose teledildonic-enhanced sex as a ‘sexuotechnical-assemblage’, a term that highlights the uniquely technological dimensions of sex in the age of teledildonics. Approaching these devices as sexuotechnical-assemblages highlights the generative role of data as lubricants of long-distance intimacy, and central actors in the (re)making of sexual subjects, and by extension, ‘healthy’ sexuality.




Flore, J., & Pienaar, K. (2020). Data-driven intimacy: emerging technologies in the (re)making of sexual subjects and ‘healthy’ sexuality. Health Sociology Review, 29(3), 279–293.

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