Neil McArthur, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Manitoba, and Markie Twist, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, published a paper last year called “The Rise of Digisexuality.” It appeared in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy and was picked up by media outlets as diverse as Vice and Breitbart.

The authors delineated between “first wave” digisexuality (online pornography, hookup apps, sexting and electronic sex toys), where the tech is simply a delivery system for sexual fulfillment, and “second wave” digisexuality. Those practitioners form deeper relationships through immersive technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and A.I.-equipped sex robots, sometimes obviating the need for a human partner altogether.

Dr. Twist, who also runs a clinical practice in family and sex therapy, said she has had several patients in their 20s and 30s who qualify as second-wave digisexuals.