Based in Barcelona, the French Cathline Smoos and her team have developed an erotic content application for virtual reality. Beyond the proposed concept, IMBUE VR is an adult content application that explores the intimacy and sexuality of couples. An approach not very obvious in a sector regularly assimilated to pornography, while sensory exploration can also exist alongside.
An interview in partnership with XR4Europe
IMBUE VR, an immersive experience application for adults
Cathline Smoos – We are creators of erotic contents (for couples) that mix the real and the virtual, around the senses: touch, smell, sight… The objective is to break the routine in the sexuality of couples through virtual reality, with IMBUE VR, to renew their erotic and sensual imagination by providing dedicated contents. One of the partners wears a helmet, the other one does not and they can interact through our stories.
C. S. – IMBUE VR works on subscription (monthly, quarterly…). You select on your smartphone, via the application, one of the available chapters. We then provide a list of “tools” essential to live the experience: a fan, strawberries etc.. These are simple things, but necessary to set the scene for what you will experience. There is also a mini-tutorial in the headset at startup. There is a real narration, which guides both sides of the partners. The idea is to promote the synchronization of their actions (a hand on the shoulder …) to promote the multi-sensory aspect. And it must remain a game, a real moment for two and not a technical experience.
C. S. – Today it’s a synchronized experience for two, and it’s an obligation that allows us to provide stories via the application that are interesting and above all easily accessible for users. In addition to accessories, we can integrate 360 movies to awaken fantasies, ideas. We often come back to very simple things, but exciting for each user.
C. S. – There is an obvious cultural approach, working by territory if necessary. We also want to enrich the application with LGBT+ content, with designers who are specialists in each subject. We work with sexologists and dedicated teams according to gender, country… It is imperative to adapt our proposals according to cultures. We are progressively developing, starting in Europe and moving to other parts of the world. In particular on the question of the body; if we propose VR films in animation or in 360, the perceptions are different. There is a very important sociological approach.
Eroticism in virtual reality: an evidence?
C. S. – The choice of virtual reality is to offer a secure environment because it is not reality. It can be a first step before exploring new things 100% in real life, to test yourself or to initiate something. Moreover, you can envisage many more scenarios than in real life; making love in space, with characters, etc. We want to propose new relationships to oneself, whether it is about environments or physical bodies. We don’t replace the sexuality of each person: we add an extra layer of foreplay, of interaction without going to the point of 100% technology (haptic combination…) which would totally distort the moment.
C. S. – VR is already a market for certain types of adult content, where AR and MR do not exist in this sector. Obviously we plan to use all media, but the first version of IMBUE VR will be totally VR. And in terms of sextech, there is little competition in the end – except for considering solo uses, porn… With these parameters, our proposal must above all be “premium”, offering a superior quality experience to totally immerse users.
Where to develop IMBUE VR
C. S. – The metaverse is interesting but not our priority. We remain anchored on the real world above all! And it should be considered, in principle, for remote uses, totally disconnected from the physical. For all these developments, we have to consider that sextech is a very closed sector, not very accessible to aids or subsidies, to fund raising, and by nature fragile. On the hardware side, nobody ventures into it. But there are great things to consider, with possibilities of erotic and personal narration, quite important.
C. S. – There is a real interest from people who own headsets; the only question is to be able to offer a regular appointment. We can see that the 30+ generations are tired of porn and are looking for new experiences. That’s why we favor the physical, the intimate above all. We can deceive the brain with VR, whether it is our proposal or other mainstream experiences.
C. S. – We already offer partnerships with brands (especially erotic ones), to integrate their products into the experience or collaborate on joint promotions. But we don’t limit ourselves to sextech brands, and there are a lot of development ideas to imagine for sessions allowing our customers to get gifts, products and also a real gain with IMBUE VR.
Available from December 2022!