“Just install the software,” says Sinulate’s web site, “plug in your Interactive Fleshlight, and pick a partner!

” Kyle Machulis, operator of slashdong.org, a Web site about the combination of sex and technology and a self-described “tinkerer/hacker/pioneer/visionary in the realm of sex technology,” is a major proponent of open-source teledildonics.

But, he says, the real-world functionality of computer-enabled sex toys hasn’t really caught up with its potential.

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Still, says Machulis, teledildonics are “changing long-distance relationships for the better,” allowing couples to “finally be physical over the wire.” And, he argues, we “haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg” in the field of virtual sex toys.

Allowing separated couples to stay in touch, almost literally, is only one of the many positive aspects that virtual-sex advocates see in the refinement of — and increasingly widespread access to — cyber-sex technologies.

“One of the huge benefits is safety,” says Brenda Brathwaite, a veteran video game developer (whose credits include Playboy: The Mansion) and author of Sex in Video Games.

I was having sex with a Dutch girl when my wife walked in. “I don’t like the phrase ‘virtual sex,’” Lynn says, “because it trivializes the experience.

“It’s not sex but it is sex,” says Regina Lynn, author of The Sexual Revolution 2.0 and a columnist on sex and technology for

I don’t know where the real user was located, but our virtual meeting space within Second Life was called “The Netherlands.” Or maybe “she” was really a he, controlling a female avatar. If it’s not clear already, “virtual sex” can be a little complicated.

But there was a real person on a computer somewhere in the world making her avatar have sex with my avatar by clicking a pink ball on the ground.

She was an avatar in Second Life, the online, 3D, digital world developed by San Francisco company Linden Labs.

There are many ways to share sex with people in virtual spaces, and you still have to communicate to the other person what you like and don’t like. That’s part of what turns people on.” From adult video games to instant messaging and chat rooms to web cams to online interactive worlds to Internet-enabled sex toys, the means for enjoying erotic experience via a remote connection seem to be multiplying faster than you can say “teledildonics.” For the uninitiated, teledildonics (or cyberdildonics) refers to sex toys that can be controlled with a computer.