Complete Story


Tech Is Changing What it Means to Have a Dominant Hand

The expanding digital landscape is causing adaptive behaviors

In 2016, Vice reported that nondominant hand masturbation (also known as “left-handed wanking”) was a thing. Various explanations were presented for the practice, including the thrill of using a less familiar hand to caress one’s genitals. However, a number of masturbators insisted that the practice was the result of using their right hand to browse online porn while, as it were, spanking the monkey. Although a team of enterprising UK psychologists recently concluded  people generally use their dominant hand to masturbate, as a social anthropologist—and a southpaw—I was intrigued by the notion that digital technologies might be changing patterns around handedness.

Oddly, this topic has been the subject of very little inquiry, although a moment’s reflection would suggest that the encroaching digitalization of our daily lives is having an impact on handedness. After all, most of us spend far more time typing and texting than writing—activities that require the involvement of both hands, at least if you want to do them proficiently. Now, this isn’t to suggest that handedness is obsolete. If some people are choosing to switch hands while masturbating to online porn, it’s presumably because the manual precision required to use a mouse greatly exceeds that of banging the bishop. But how handedness matters may be changing in conjunction with technology itself—and especially the move from analog and manual technologies to digital and automated ones.

In a world of computers, mobile phones, automatic doors, driverless cars, and voice-activated appliances—not to mention the fully virtual environment envisioned by Meta—what role does handedness play?

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

Printer-Friendly Version