Could Virtual Reality Revolutionize Safety for Sex Workers?

29-year-old Ela Darling is taking back her power via virtual reality. Beginning as a teen model and librarian, the now co-founder of VR adult entertainment company VRtube [NSFW], and secretary of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is making a keen dip into the world of holograms.

In this piece I explore the ways that virtual reality is enabling female performers to take control of their careers, safety and lives.

Read the full article at Future of Sex.

Image: brh_images


  1. I’m obviously in a feminist commenting mood this morning. I also love this article. I fully support harm-reduction and autonomy for sex workers. With this perspective in mind, I’d love to know how you feel about the whole sex robot controversy. I’m not really sure what my take is on it yet and I need to do more research. There are so many factors to consider. I believe that it does contribute to a very harmful misogynist, kind of sex caste, view of women as a gender. I’m also between a rock and hard place, because sex robots would decrease violence against human sex workers, yet also take away their business (unless sex workers somehow became involved in the production process, similar to their involvement with virtual reality). At the same time, when I consider the implications of artificial intelligence being used in sex robots in the future, I am totally against it, because then that would be equivalent to creating real conscious sex slaves. It would be the rape, exploitation, and oppression of a conscious being, not just a robot, and we would have to include them in feminism. It reminds me of Ex Machina. So, this article inspired me to think more about that issue.

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you so much for your comments and enthusiasm. I love when these conversations begin!

      It’s such a complex issue, I would never, ever sanction the use of any conscious robot for sex work. And at the moment, I don’t think that’s too much of an issue as creating consciousness is a long way off.

      One thing I’m torn about is the use of sex robots and VR to act out sexual deviancy. Imagine if child abusers and violent criminals could act out their sexual fantasies without harming a conscious being. However, is this the kind of behaviour that should be accommodated? Is the harm minimization worth it?

      Here is an interesting article I found about virtual reality technology being used to monitor, find and attempt to heal child abusers. –

      It’s an interesting way to look at the way VR and sex technology are trying to help the world. And, who knows. With time, perhaps it will become more effective. Perhaps it will help to erase the violence women are facing in the sex industry.

      1. Thank you for the link. I’m looking it over this afternoon. Yeah, the whole issue with accommodating harmful sexual deviancy is complicated, even if there is no actual harm being done to a person. It begs the question about how our ethics should function. Is it wrong simply to have those desires for children and thus the desires need to be eradicated within the person or is it only unethical to act them out on other people? Something I’d like to think more about. Thanks.

  2. There’s still a male demand for women’s bodies so this does very little to address that. All it is is harm minimisation – saying there’s an acceptable amount of harm to women. I can’t get behind that.

    1. Hi Zosha,

      I would never consider there to be ‘an acceptable amount of harm to women,’ However, logically, women are going to put up their hand to be sex workers, and I believe it’s our job to support their choices and yes, minimize the harm.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. That is very interesting… It is something that people choose to do and a service that people do indulge in… It promotes safety for both parties. This at face value is a pretty smart solution. Interesting.

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