Sex and superheroes are a match made in raunchy heaven. Think about it. Superheroes are beautiful, in the best shape imaginable, and pull of amazing acrobatic feats, all while being clad in skimpy spandex. Artist Balazs Sarmai picked up on the superhero-sex correlation and so created a line of vibrators based off of Marvel's The Avengers.
For now these super-vibrators exist only in the concept stage, as Sarmai's images have yet to be manufactured. But I wouldn't doubt that a saavy sex toy company will pick up on the idea and make vibrators which specifically appeal to the large masses of sexually frustrated comic nerds. Each vibrator would have its own 'power,' The Captain America is sleek and silicone, Iron Man has two built in motors, Thor's is electrifying, Hawkeye aims for the G-spot, and Black Widow is covert and unnoticeable. Then there's the luxury Loki model and the 12'' Hulk dildo, for the real bedroom superheroes. All in all, super-sex has gained a whole new meaning.
Kais Latiri likens himself to a Galileo of immersive sex. "People are afraid of novelty, of innovation, of something new they're not used to," he said. "Take for example Galileo who said the Earth [went around the sun].* He was imprisoned for that."
This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers.
That's why when Le Journal de Montréal said Latiri was running a "brothel" out of a Longueuil home, the accountant-turned-tech entrepreneur took issue.
"It's not a brothel," he said. "That's not the right word at all.
He called it a salle de jeux pour adultes — "playroom for adults."
It's clear to see why. The sex workers aren't humans: they're dolls.
Latiri, the owner and founder of Oh My Doll, has insisted his business is not an outrage, but a triumph of love and science.
After years of developing advanced virtual reality technology, he said his company allows customers to indulge in their wildest fantasies, all from the comfort of a South Shore apartment building.
In an interview with MTL Blog, Latiri opened up about the ins and outs of his business and what all this means for the future of romance.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Virtual reality sex is not cheating, he says
We live in a world where rapid advances in virtual reality and robotics are going to have a profound impact on both human-to-human and human-to-robot relations, said Latiri.
When he started testing virtual reality in 2018, its quality wasn't very good, he continued. But Latiri realized the experience could develop with time and the release of new "hardware."
"I was at the beginning of the wave."
Instead of viewing an adult scene like in old-fashioned pornography, silicone escorts and virtual reality systems — that simulate the senses of sight, touch, hearing, and even smell — allow Latiri's customers to feel like they're having actual sexual encounters, he said.
Can ladies, couples, and LGBTQ2S+ people get in on the action? You betcha, said Latiri, thanks to an array of male sex dolls and "f*ck machines."
"We have experiences for anyone 18 plus, of course," he continued.
Not everyone is happy with the sex dolls
And yes, the dolls are cleaned between uses.
"In terms of hygiene, our escorts are immediately cleaned after a service," states the website.
"You will see for yourself the hygiene measures put in place. The complete maintenance is done by handing it over to our maintenance staff in our appropriately equipped premises. After maintenance, our silicone escorts are left to rest for at least 24 hours."
With packages costing a few hundred dollars, the Oh My Doll experience is far from cheap but a brand-new doll can cost upwards of $2,000, said Latiri.
Not everyone's happy with the sex dolls.
In an online review of the site, one commenter who identified themselves as "Escort the real one" stated, "Never will you replace us, bastards. We're true skin and bones escorts and we give our clients real love."
And with automation already eliminating millions of jobs around the world, are robots poised to eliminate human sex workers?
Latiri doesn't think so.
"If they love their work and if they have passion, I totally respect that," he said. "And in my mind, it's not like we're here to replace them, that's not the point."
As many of his clients are in committed relationships, Latiri said he hopes Oh My Doll will eliminate infidelity.
"My mission is based on people who are in couples because those people, instead of going to see an escort, they have an alternative that's more ethical," he said.
"And at the moral level, they won't be guilty when they return to their partner compared to if they would see an escort."
Then there are Latiri's religious customers looking to overcome crippling sexual shame and as they struggle with their desires.
"You'd be surprised that there are a lot of religious people," he said. "They come to us with their religious dress and I'm happy that they come, I'm happy that they express their desires. It's really touching."
'Dolls will never replace humans, not today, not tomorrow'
According to information obtained by Le Journal de Montréal, Oh My Doll has been running out of a residential building without a proper permit, but Latiri is punching back, claiming the business is primarily for research and development purposes.
"With all the hubbub that's been created, I don't regret anything, not a thing," he said. "Because I know it's helped me develop the experience and the technology."
He hopes to expand his business by opening "in every city where the need is present."
A spokesperson for the Longueuil police stated that "it is not criminal in Canada to own a sex doll representing an adult person," and that they've looked into Latiri's operations "and have not found any criminal-related activities."
Latiri said he has contacted the owner of the building and said he would move his business if asked.
"The second they want me to get out I'm ready," he said. "It's not about pressure, it's about being good neighbours because they got caught up in this circus."
But whether you think the idea is strange, enticing, or off-putting, Latiri acknowledged it's raising some tantalizing questions.
For example, in a world where ever-more-advanced virtual technology provides better visuals, touch feedback and maybe even artificial intelligence, what's going to happen to old-fashioned human romance, relationships, and sex?
"I'm against the fictitious idea that proposes the dolls are going to evolve and that's going to create a societal problem. The dolls for us are just sex toys," he said.
"When I'm looking into the future of the sex dolls with artificial intelligence where she can move by herself, honestly, I'm not in favour of that."
"Dolls will never replace humans, not today, not tomorrow."
The Civil Code of Québec currently requires parents to identify themselves as a "mother" or "father" on their children's birth certificates and prevents them from changing their sex on the documents.
The Civil Code also restricts the age Quebecers can change their name or sex designation to 18 and older.
Quebecers aged 14 to 17 who want to change their name can only do so if their parent does not object. And they can only change their sex with a letter from a health professional who conducts an evaluation and declares the change of designation is "appropriate."
Non-citizens who live in Quebec cannot change their name or sex designation in the province until they become Canadian citizens and live in Quebec for at least one year.
Its legal team argued that sections of the Civil Code violate the rights of transgender and non-binary Quebecers, as laid out in the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
the requirement to designate sex on official documentation and identification
non-Canadian and young people’s ability to change their designation of sex and their name to conform with their gender identity
Changing the sex designation of a transgender parent on their child's birth certificate
The plaintiffs argued that these articles lead to the misidentification of transgender and non-binary people, creating confusion about their true identities.
"Other than on the day they are born, we do not examine a person's genitalia to identify whether they are male or female."
They also objected to disclosing sex at birth on drivers' licenses, health insurance cards and students’ permanent codes with the Ministry of Education, but did not challenge the legislation or policy decisions that created those rules.
What did the judge rule in the end?
Quebec news doesn't get wide reporting outside of the province, but it's important that we know: trans people in Qu… https://t.co/Q6BWZs4gA8
As we approach the one-year anniversary of health restrictions in Canada and many people continue to limit their physical contact with others, it's worth revisiting the federal and provincial governments' rules and advice for sex during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governments began issuing COVID-19 sexual health recommendations in the spring but have continued to update them.
Social distancing orders and bans on gatherings have made sexual relations tricky in some situations.
The federal government, for example, calls kissing a "high-risk activity" because "COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets."
The novel coronavirus has also "been detected in some body fluids such as blood, semen and stool," the Government of Quebec says. But "the possibility of transmission through these body fluids remains uncertain."
Complicating the matter is the fact that different governments have issued different recommendations for sexual activity.
While British Columbia has suggested glory holes as a possibly safer sex practice during the pandemic, Quebec decidedly has not.
To help you begin to navigate the rules and advice from the federal and provincial governments, outlines of their current statements on sex during COVID-19 are below.
The most up-to-date information can always be found online and the best advice always comes from health professionals.
What does Quebec have to say about sex during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Quebec first released its sexual health recommendations for the pandemic in the spring and last updated the page in September.
The government says that people who live at the same address are free to have sexual contact so long as neither is self-isolating.
With sexual partners at another address, Quebec says residents "must" follow its regular health recommendations.
However, during the lockdown period between January 9 and February 8, Quebecers are not allowed to receive visitors from another address.
The only exception is for people living alone, who are allowed to designate a single visitor from another address. This single visitor must be the same person for the duration of the lockdown period.
Partners are further asked to "use their [judgment]" before visiting each other, taking into consideration their work conditions and making sure, for example, that they both regularly follow all the health rules (handwashing, mask-wearing, social-distancing, etc.) and don't have COVID-19 symptoms.
As for a hook-up with an anonymous partner, the government doesn't explicitly recommend against it, but does state that "having anonymous partners or partners whose personal information is unknown can prevent public health authorities from ensuring proper follow-up in the event of infection with COVID‑19."
Finally, Quebec underlines that preventing the spread of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) is "especially important" during the pandemic. It recommends the use of condoms or dental dams.
The government also suggests "telephone calls or virtual dates" as alternatives to physical sexual contact.
What does the federal government say about sex during COVID-19?
The federal government warns that "sexual activity with partners outside of your small, consistent and trusted contact bubble increases your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19" and recommends taking further precautions in such situations.
These include "[monitoring] yourself for COVID-19 symptoms," "[limiting] the use of alcohol and other substances so you and a partner are able to make safe decisions," "[avoiding] kissing and face-to-face contact or closeness," and even "wearing a non-medical mask that covers your nose and mouth."
Canada's page on sexual health during the pandemic further points residents toward additional recommendations from the Sex Information & Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN).
SIECCAN highlights masturbation as an activity that's "low risk for COVID-19" and potentially beneficial for stress relief.
The Council recommends "[washing] your hands and any sex toys you use before and after masturbation for at least 20 seconds with soap and water."
For partners who live at the same address, SIECANN emphasizes that as the stress of the pandemic potentially affects individuals' interest in sexual activity: "Communication about sexuality can be important to maintain and enhance intimacy within a relationship."
As for sex between individuals who do not live at the same address, SIECANN also suggests non-physical alternatives like phone sex and virtual dates.
Like Quebec, the Council underlines the importance of safe sex during the pandemic, warning that "access to health care for both the testing as well as the treatment of newly acquired STIs may be limited."