How to watch VR porn: Everything you need to know


4 min read

The promise of virtual reality (VR) porn, to transform users from passive observers of sexual fantasies on screens into active participants in immersive erotic experiences, is alluring to anyone with even a passing interest in adult content.


Over the last year especially, as the pandemic has kept most of us homebound, the prospect of strapping on a headset and sliding into an orgiastic escape from our isolation and frustration has drawn even more potential users towards the technology. Yet many hesitate to take the plunge into the world of virtual reality porn simply because it's a new technology, dominated by new players, using new terminology. It can seem like a lot to learn.


And when VR porn first started rolling out in the mid-2010s, it absolutely was. For many years, the gear was extremely expensive, content was scarce, and experiences were hit-or-miss. But VR technology has evolved quickly and the porn world has pumped a ton of time and money into making its content more reliable and accessible. "Exploring VR porn is much easier today than it was one or two years ago," stresses sex tech blogger Tatyannah King.


So how exactly do you watch VR porn? Mashable recently spoke to King and other experts on virtual reality porn for this guide on getting into the exciting, if still developing, world of immersive smut.The promise of virtual reality (VR) porn, to transform users from passive observers of sexual fantasies on screens into active participants in immersive erotic experiences, is alluring to anyone with even a passing interest in adult content.


Over the last year especially, as the pandemic has kept most of us homebound, the prospect of strapping on a headset and sliding into an orgiastic escape from our isolation and frustration has drawn even more potential users towards the technology. Yet many hesitate to take the plunge into the world of virtual reality porn simply because it's a new technology, dominated by new players, using new terminology. It can seem like a lot to learn.



And when VR porn first started rolling out in the mid-2010s, it absolutely was. For many years, the gear was extremely expensive, content was scarce, and experiences were hit-or-miss. But VR technology has evolved quickly and the porn world has pumped a ton of time and money into making its content more reliable and accessible. "Exploring VR porn is much easier today than it was one or two years ago," stresses sex tech blogger Tatyannah King.


So how exactly do you watch VR porn? Mashable recently spoke to King and other experts on virtual reality porn for this guide on getting into the exciting, if still developing, world of immersive smut.


The right gear for VR pornIn theory, you don’t actually need to buy any heavy-duty new equipment to watch VR content. All you need is a smartphone suspended in a headset that you can strap onto your to create an immersive, 3D illusion. It’s not hard to build a cardboard headset. Even fancier setups, with comfortable padding and straps, usually go for somewhere between $10 and $50. These headsets helped to democratize and popularize VR.


But Alex Novak of the VR porn platform SexLikeReal cautions that "no smartphone experience is any good." Kacper Zieliński of the VR porn site VR Bangers concurs, adding that these options may be budget-friendly, but they will really "give you only 20 percent of VR porn’s potential."


Most phones just don’t have the power, or the battery life, to run the the longest or most inventive VR content. It's also hard to control anything playing on them; to pause, fast forward, or do anything you usually have to take off the whole rig, grab your phone, and fiddle with the screen. You also have to install special apps to view VR content—and Apple especially is notoriously hostile to porn-specific apps, meaning that sometimes phone users have to jump through a few hoops to get to the content they’re looking for. These and other limitations have led most major companies, like Google, Oculus, and Samsung, to wind down production and support for their phone VR gear and services over the last year or two, and outlets like PC Mag to declare phone-based VR overall "effectively dead."

You need a dedicated VR device. High-end devices, with a lot of bells and whistles, can run well over $1,000, and often need to be hooked up to even pricier high-powered PCs to reach their full potential. But you don’t have to have one of those setups to get the most out of VR porn. In fact, everyone Mashable spoke to for this article immediately and exclusively recommended the new Oculus Quest 2, a standalone, wireless device that runs for $299. It’s a simple, plug-and-play system—just turn it on, open up its web browser using its included hand controllers, navigate to a porn site, and start viewing content. Easy peasy. "It can play the highest resolution videos there are," explains Dan Holmes of the VR platform POVR.


The only hitch is that Oculus is a Facebook brand, so a Quest 2 requires a Facebook account to sign in and get going. Facebook is a controversial company these days, with a spotty record around data handling, so you may want to create a burner account before getting off. But if Oculus is not your brand, Zieliński notes that there are plenty of other wireless standalone rigs to explore.


Dropping a few hundred dollars may seem like an excessive investment to get into VR porn. But Novak insists that it’s worth it, because you want your first VR porn experience to be good, and cheaper setups just cannot run the highest resolution videos that now define the market, and may struggle with lagging and glitches even with older content. It’s also a multi-purpose device that can be used for viewing SFW content, gaming, and many other diversions. Zieliński just recommends using a demo to figure out if you're prone to VR motion sickness, and if your nausea can be mitigated, before making a purchase.


Streaming versus downloading VR pornOnce you’ve got your device set up, you just need to figure out whether you want to stream or download your smut. The files for VR porn are massive, often clocking in at well over 10GB, and so downloads require patience and a ton of storage space. You may want to invest in an external storage drive if you go this route. But unless you have a stellar internet connection, which most Americans do not, streaming can lead to a rougher viewing experience, with skips and lags. Many experts argue that the VR porn experience with downloaded files is far smoother and therefore more immersive. But this choice ultimately boils down to an evaluation of your desires, tolerance for glitches, and internet resources.


Before you start exploring VR porn content, Kevin Campbell, a VR arcade owner and porn buff, recommends making sure you have a good space set up for the experience. In order to stay in the moment in VR porn, especially if you’ve opted for a popular POV experience, you may have to move around to follow the action of a scene. As you'll be zoned out from the real world in most cases, you will need a space where you won’t crash into anything dangerous or fragile. You'll also want to make sure you’ve got a door you can lock, if privacy is a concern.


If you feel so inclined, you can also explore the world of VR experience-integrated sex toys. But that's hardly essential to the experience, and the field would require its own guide to navigate. So, once you’ve got your setup fully prepared, you just have to figure out what you’re going to watch. The obvious choice would be to turn to Pornhub, which has over 3,000 free VR clips to explore. But thanks to the size and bandwidth intensity of VR files, free clips on general porn sites tend to be shorter (about 100 of Pornhub’s VR porn videos are over 15 minutes long; the vast majority run around 5 minutes) and heavily compressed, limiting their quality. As such, most of the VR porn experts Mashable spoke to recommend turning to a paid, VR porn specialty studio.


Related Video: The best sex toys to buy during quarantineFinding the right VR porn siteThere are dozens of studios to choose from, most of which sell subscriptions for $10 to $50 per month, so figuring out where to start can be tricky—and making a decision can feel like a big step. But this decision, too, boils down to personal preferences: Do you want a site that specializes in only the highest quality content? Do you want a particularly deep and broad, but maybe uneven, library of content to choose from? Are you looking for a studio that specializes in one particular fetish you’ve been dying to see in VR? Other outlets have created intricately detailed guides, breaking down the pros and cons of the best and most established sites on the market right now. Between those guides and a little time spent looking at their preview content, you can find what’s best for your wants and needs.

"Once you’ve got the right setup," Novak says, "you are on top of it." Granted, depending on the exact nature of your device, the site you’ve opted for, and your personal preferences, you may need to fiddle around with your video settings a bit. (Most sites automatically adjust their content to work best with a viewer’s gear these days, Campbell notes. But when they don’t, he suggests starting with the settings “VR 180 / 3D Side-to-Side.”)


"It may take a little patience to learn to properly view—and navigate through—videos," Campbell cautions. As with any new device, there’s a learning curve. And in the end, it’s entirely possible VR porn as it stands today may not be for you. But that’s no reason to despair over the time and energy you’ve spent getting into VR porn.
As Campbell points out, the world of VR porn is rapidly evolving. So, as long as you’ve got the equipment, you can keep checking back every now and then to see if future innovations work better for your wants and needs.


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