Backchannel is moving to Wired! Here’s what that means: http://trib.al/Ar1TZSg Watching pornography in virtual reality changes the experience dramatically: You feel like you’re actually there.

That triggers empathy rather than distance. The porn industry may have changed a lot in the digital age, but some things still live up to the stereotype.

Like, say, this house in the San Fernando Valley, which is the nation’s capital of adult film production. From the outside, it doesn’t look all that different from the other million-dollar properties in this Los Angeles suburb.

Inside, it’s just another day at the office—if your business happens to be making adult films. At the moment, the statuesque naked woman on the four-poster bed in front of me is—and really, there’s no more polite way to say this, so bear with me—inserting a string of oversize beads into herself, while a naked guy stands next to the bed, a towel hanging from his erect penis. But August Ames and Tommy Gunn, as fans might know them, aren’t here simply to have sex on camera.

If that were the case, then the VR camera rig in front of Gunn’s face wouldn’t be forcing him to lean back so far at the waist that he retires to a daybed in the corner to stretch between takes. (“My hip flexors are killing me,” he growls during one lull.) Author Peter Rubin (@provenself) is platforms editor at WIRED and the author of Future Presence: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life, from which this article is excerpted. Read more from wired.com…

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