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Just like everything else you see through the lens of a virtual reality headset, VR porn can make fantasy and reality seem almost indistinguishable.

And according to new research, that’s a problem when it comes to the more degrading and abusive aspects of some pornography. Computer Scientists at Newcastle University in New England caution that these types of VR porn can cause users to become disjointed and have trouble separating the two distinctly different worlds.

Using a story completion method, researchers used 45 stories generated mainly by online writing communities and Reddit forums, 24 of which were written by men, 18 by women and three by other. Participants were shown a sentence describing a man about to partake in his first VR porn experience and then were instructed to continue the story.

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One common theme the study found was “an apparent disjoint between ‘virtual reality’ and ‘real reality’ and a negotiation of the barriers between them.” Another interesting fact uncovered by the research was the belief by some participants that watching VR porn was essentially like cheating because of how real it seemed.

Researchers also found that some of the stories that were produced crossed the line of what would be acceptable in real life.

“[Stories] often went beyond what would be acceptable in real life with sometimes violent imagery, featuring men performing degrading sexual acts on women or forcing themselves upon them,” said lead research author Matthew Wood.

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Dr. Madeline Balaam, co-author of the study, went a step further with the possibility that VR porn users could experience a dangerous crossover-like effect.

“Our research highlighted the potential for creating 3D models of real life people, raising questions over what consent means in VR experiences,” she said. ““If a user created a VR version of their real life girlfriend, for example, would they do things to her that they knew she would refuse in the real world?”

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