The Future of Desire

What is the future of desire? I hoped Neil Frude, a leading lecturer on abnormal psychology, would be able to tell me. Except what happened within this 45-minute talk was two things: I learned about the multitude of condom flavours on the market and fundamentally, that sci-fi TV series Humans on Channel 4, is in fact accurate. What I’d envisaged being a mind-blowing discovery into the future of desire became just a really awkward sex-ed class.

The nature of this talk lends itself to a Q&A, so that I could ask some burning questions like the future of reproduction, child robots and STIs? You know, the real implications for our seemingly inevitable Future of Desire.

The frustrating this is that talk had so much potential. When again, if you’re not a student, are you going to be in a room with a lecturer who’s written two books on this very topic? What Frude did confirm was that we cannot turn desire on and off at will, but we do control our actions. Frude said we act the same with food and the more visually enticing food becomes the more we find it irresistible. That must explain why women are sometimes used as sushi platters.

Frude went on to describe what desire looked like in the Victorian era, namely how they were obsessed with constipation — an odd detour from the world of desire that we were hoping to learn about. He did, however, get back on track with a slideshow of anti-masturbation genital pouches circa 1910, and the story of how John Harvey Kellogg invented cornflakes to quell sexual desire and the Scouts founder Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell issuing dire warnings to boys who explore their “secret vice”. All interesting, but should’ve been summed up much quicker as we still know nothing on what the future holds.

Moving into the current day and the £35 billion industry that is sex toys. Another montage of current vibrators on the market was, again, wholly, unnecessary. The only interesting one being the vintage 1960s Vibra-Touch, where the model was using it as a back massager, which was greatly amusing. Finally, into the future and the hyper-desirable “sexbot,” and it was Frude’s line, “the skin of a sexbot will be warm and moist and of a fragrant nature” which had the room in hysterics. Yes they’ll have personality and be bought in showrooms and second-hand dealers and eventually get into robot pornography but essentially, if you’re a follower of Humans, there is nothing more that Frude enlightened us on... other than the volume of fleshlights being sold on Amazon. I was left with so many questions. The nature of this talk lends itself to a Q&A, so that I could ask some burning questions like the future of reproduction, child robots and STIs? You know, the real implications for our seemingly inevitable Future of Desire.

Reviews by Sophia Charalambous

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A hilarious romp through the past and (robotic?) future of love, lust and gluttony, by the award-winning psychologist who stimulated the Sun headline 'Boffin says we will bonk with robots'. Basic human desires are increasingly shaped and satisfied by advertising and technology. From Victorian mechanical devices designed to inhibit solitary vice to today's quivering sex aids built to enhance self-pleasuring, technology has been used both to police and promote desire. The history is shocking, hysterical, challenging – but what delights, dangers and daring diversions are in store? What can we expect from the future of desire?