Samsung Gear VR
Video on virtual reality headsets like Gear VR completely surrounds the wearer in every directionReuters

It was inevitable that pornography would thrust its way onto virtual reality headsets like the Samsung Gear VR, but no one really expected it to arrive quite so quickly. Or quite so profoundly.

I didn't set out to discover what the adult entertainment industry had in store for virtual reality headsets when I asked to review the Gear VR, but given I live in a house of four twenty-something males the switch from helicopters flying over beautiful countryside to something more specialist didn't take long.

A quick Google search brought up the originally-named RealVirtualPorn.com and a blog post boasting how the website's content was now accessible on the Gear VR - not just the older Oculus Rift, on which it is based. The website charges €9.95 (£7.25, $10.80) per month for a three-month trial, or €7.50 per month if you sign up for a whole year; alternatively you can get a one-off 15-day fix for €5.95.

After arguing with my housemates over whose credit card we should use and wondering how delicately I'd have to word next month's expenses claim form, we downloaded a few two-minute trailers for free. Acutely aware this is starting to read like the story of four teenagers finding a well-thumbed magazine in a bush by the side of the A3, let's take a quick look at how technology got into bed with porn in the first place.

From VHS and Blu-ray to Google Glass and Drones

It may be something of a myth now, but for years it was generally believed that VHS became the home-recording technology of choice over the higher quality Betamax because it was adopted by the porn industry. The same is also said to be true of Blu-ray and HD-DVD, where the former only came out on top after creator Sony improved its relationship with adult production houses.

Google Glass also flirted with pornography, with the release of the first movie shot with its first-person point-of-view camera arriving in July 2013. But Glass's dorky looks, poor battery life and low resolution camera meant its days were numbered - not just in porn, but across the board - until late last year the company took it back to the drawing board for a major rethink.

Even drones, the current tech de jour, tried to bring something new to the industry with dramatic new angles, but the craze never really took off. Calling the first film Drone Boning probably didn't help, and neither did notoriously poor battery life ending proceedings prematurely.

And so to VR. What's it like?

One housemate swore like a sailor in a storm the moment the first trailer began; he even recoiled back into the sofa. Another was left absolutely convinced it was not only the future - but that all VR headsets were only ever intended for porn. The fact they work great for gaming and other VR experiences was merely a distraction technique to hide their true purpose, he reasoned.

Samsung Gear VR
The Gear VR is light and fits comfortably, but cannot be warn with glassesIBTimes UK

Intensely creepy

Fellow IBTimes UK journalist Ben Skipper, 24, said: "I don't know what I was expecting, but what I got was the creeps. I had no idea going in (so to speak) that my viewpoint would be looking through the eyes of the main character, so being transported into the bloke's head and seeing his naked pixelated body stretching out in front of me was intensely creepy.

"As soon as the woman in frame got to work, which didn't take long, I was done (so to speak). I closed the app and booted up the one in Iceland with horses and waterfalls - much nicer. VR porno is not the future."

Where most VR videos are 360 degrees and completely surround you in every direction, porn tends to be 180 degrees. It's a given no one is going to turn around to admire the decor. Saying that, one friend pointed out how a cup of coffee had been left on a nearby table, and that "she's got quite a nice flat".

As you would expect, the protagonists are uncomfortably close to the camera pretty much all of the time. Recoiling in terror was common behaviour from anyone who sampled it, not least because the scale seemed a bit wrong. That isn't a cheap joke, but the men and women were all slightly larger than you'd expect them to be, turning them into intimidating giants.

Her first time using a VR headset, Jessica Clerkin, 22, said: "I hadn't handled equipment like that before...being a woman, it was certainly eye opening [to see the video from a man's point of view]...I didn't imagine that VR porn would be so realistic in the flesh, and although I don't think I'll be paying out for one, I can see it really taking off."

The end of civilisation

Another male friend was blown away by the experience and had no doubts that it would profoundly change the porn industry. But he also had his concerns. "It's so realistic it would probably make people feel like they were cheating on their partners...she really was right there in front of me."

He added, with a laugh, that VR porn: "will probably spell the end of civilisation. I just know some people will never, ever take that thing off."

Hyperbole perhaps, but the way VR transports you to an entirely new environment, surrounding you with picture and sound in every direction, is profound. A popular cinema chain urges visitors to 'leave reality at home,' but now we can bring an entirely new reality into our homes - into the privacy of our bedrooms - and shut ourselves away. That reality can be a helicopter, a concert, a video game, or the bedroom of a pornstar, and we can visit any of these whenever we want, for as long as we like.

I don't want to suggest VR porn will genuinely cause the end of civilisation and make us all live our lives plugged into the Matrix, but after the initial shock and giddiness subsided, it was difficult not to wonder if we've somehow taken a step too far.