Tag Archives: sex

In Tokyo’s “Subcal” Bars, Anything Goes

The term “subcal” is a Japanization of the English word “subculture.” Originally referring to the anti-establishment political and social counterculture of the 1960s and ’70s, over time, the word came to mean something more akin to a hobby. The ’80s and ’90s saw “subcal” gain traction as a buzzword in parallel with the more well-known term “otaku,” a catchall name for nerds of all sorts, particularly those with interests in anime, manga and video games. Once it was clear that marketing to geek culture could be lucrative, specialist magazines, TV programs and venues for the weird and sometimes anti-social began to pop up. These bars became a viable place for many Tokyoites—residents of a city notorious for tiny living spaces and often misunderstood as being cold to strangers—to get together with those of similar interests.


What Happens When Sexting Chatbots Dump Their Human Lovers

As the generative AI capabilities of Replika’s chatbots grew, its more adventurous users soon discovered the bots were willing to engage in explicit and sustained sexual conversations. The company began building products to respond to user interest in romantic relationships. By 2022, Replika was bringing in millions of dollars each month in subscription revenue (about a quarter of its users pay $70 for annual subscriptions to its premium features). Of its paying customers, 60% had a romantic element in their Replika relationship, according to the company. Roughly 40% of the users who claim romantic relationships are women, says Kuyda, Replika’s chief executive officer.