In the beginning, there was Match.com, the world's first online dating service, created in 2005 to bridge the physical distance between eligible bachelors and bachelorettes with the power of the Internet. Seven years' worth of matchmaking-service iterations later, the world was gifted with Tinder, an app that dispensed with the formalities of long-winded messages and connected users based on mutual right-swipes for increasingly casual (read: sexual) interaction.
Sex toys, meanwhile, were evolving toward ever-greater connectivity: In 2009, Lovense released "the world’s first Internet-enabled sex toy for cyber sex," and teledildonics (computer-controlled sex toys) have only grown more sophisticated since. Now, dating sites and teledildonics have fused into one glorious social network known as the LovePalz Club (you know what's coming, don't you?), which allows strangers to control each other's sex toys.
The Taiwanese company LovePalz is beta-testing the social network now and until October 12, as reported by Betabeat. While website users could stick to old-fashioned chatting and videoconferencing with strangers they find attractive, if they purchase LovePalz' sex toy "Twist" — the female version of which retails for $79, the male, $89 — they'll be able to link it up to the site.
Then, if a user approves another user and receives approval from that user (the Tinder model), the way will be cleared for one user to control another's sex toy from his or her own computer, choosing from among eight different vibration patterns. It's a viable option for long-distance couples looking to maintain intimacy, but also for singles looking for virtual one-night-stands, which for some could be uniquely hot (not to mention free of the risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs). There is, however, the risk of awkwardness; it's yet to be determined whether this can be averted with liberal usage of martini emoticons.