The Sinulator is a device that lets you connect a sex toy to your computer so that other people can control it for you over the internet.
Here's how it works (also look at the diagram at the top). Your Sinulator package includes the transmitter, a vibrator and a receiver. You download the client application from Sinulator.com. During installation, you connect the transmitter to a USB port. (If you use Windows XP, make sure to read the installation note in the user guide and save yourself some frustration.)
When you're all installed and have the client running, you attach your toy to the wireless receiver and switch it on. Finally, you go to Sinulator.com and choose a name for your toy. After that, anyone who knows your toy's name can set your toy a-buzzin' using the Sinulator control panel. Neither of you has to register or divulge any personal information -- not even an e-mail address.
The control panel looks like a grown-up version of a driving toy for baby, with buttons and levers and sliders that you manipulate with your mouse. I laughed when I first saw it -- now you can have sex and drive a race car at the same time! If that's not a popular male fantasy, I don't know what is.
But it gets even better. You probably want to stick to the dashboard if you're at the office, but for home use, the Interactive Fleshlight is where it's at. The Fleshlight is a standard, sleeve-style vibrator for men, with a twist: It's also a transmitter. It measures the speed and force of each thrust and communicates those metrics to the software, which translates them into vibration and pulse on the other end.
In part, cybersex appeals to women because it takes place in writing. The attention, the wordplay, the sensual imagery of great cybersex attracts us because it requires both parties to be present and to communicate. It's like starring in your own erotic story. Even when you add the visual excitement of a webcam, you can't tune out and get a woman off in cybersex.
The Sinulator relies on communication, too. The better you communicate, the better your Sinulator experience will be. Just watching my vibrator propel itself across my desk onto the floor was enough to tell me that anyone who wants to spend time with me is going to have to use the Jackhammer button sparingly, or it's going to be over real quick. (You can set local overrides, so no matter what the other guy does, the vibrator won't exceed the intensity levels you set. But we don't have to tell him that, now, do we?)
Like with real sex, you can thrust too hard or too fast, or finish too soon, or not finish at all. You can leave each other hanging or draw the experience out as long as you can stand it. If you're on your own, you can log on to SinulatorCams and pay to play.
Cybersex gets blamed for a lot of things, including social isolation, infidelity and divorce. It's a temptation previous generations of lovers didn't have to face, and it's technology, and therefore it's scary for a lot of folks.
Yet remote interaction technology -- or, as I like to call it, teledildonics -- has as much potential to bring people together as it does to drive people apart. If you travel often, or if you're in a long-distance relationship, this technology provides another avenue for intimacy, especially if it's harder for you to use toys with a partner than have sex au naturel.
As for me, well, I'm enjoying the novelty of it. I'm on the road as I write this week's column, and I can honestly say that the Sinulator beats the pocket rocket hands down, even if I am getting strange looks from the other Starbucks patrons.
See you next Friday,