I've tested a fair few gadgets in my time at Gizmag – from upmarket beanbags to high-powered motorcycles and smart pens. But I've never been asked to go this far outside my comfort zone for a story – even though our esteemed editorial team will probably tell you my whole life has been building to this moment.

Today, I'm road testing a masturbation device. And I've decided to put my name to it because I believe that for all the squeamish details you're about to read, this is a significant piece of technology – a big step down a path that I think a lot of people will come to take for granted in the future.

I feel like a pioneer, one of the first in the mainstream Web media to put my penis where my mouth is. Of course, the truth is if I could do that, I wouldn't need one of these things at all.

In essence, the Realtouch is a mechanical pleasure device that you stick your willy into, with a series of belts, rings, heaters and lubrication dispensers that can create a pretty broad range of sensations. What sets it apart is that it connects to your computer via USB, so it can be coded to synchronize with a porn video – or controlled by somebody else remotely.

So, be warned: grisly, NSFW descriptive content will follow.

Unboxing the Realtouch: the Fear, Part 1

When the RealTouch device first lands on my doorstep, I'm surprised by the size of the package. Suddenly realizing how my missus feels, I quickly unbox it and lay the contents out on the kitchen table.

It's at this point that the intimidation begins in earnest. It's been a loooong time since I put my Johnson in anything that's not flesh and blood and very nice to me, and as I lay out the industrial-looking power supply, the equally heavy duty USB "mini tower," kettle cords, lube and disinfectant bottles and the "performance sleeve," I feel a certain sense of dread at what I'm getting myself into here.

Two out of four total pages in the manual dedicated to making users fear for the safety of their "anatomically weak" penises

I flip briefly through the user manual and take little encouragement from the fact that there's no less than four pages of safety warnings. Here's a selection of my favorite bits:

"USER UNDERSTANDS THERE IS A RISK OF PERSONAL INJURY ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF THIS PRODUCT" (Capitals theirs, not mine).

"User understands the anatomical weaknesses of the male penis, and understands that the misuse of this device can result in serious personal injury." (Italics mine, not theirs).

"DO NOT UNSCREW OR DISASSEMBLE PRODUCT WHICH CAN LEAD TO AN ELECTRIC SHOCK HAZARD."

It goes on. It is quite a sobering read. I press forward, pondering anatomical weaknesses I'd never considered before.

The Realtouch device itself: the Fear, Part 2

The device itself is surprisingly heavy at around 1.6kg, or 3.8lbs. My wife may not be too impressed if she finds out I put it on the kitchen scales, so let's keep that between us, OK? It looks like a large, plastic marrow, or perhaps a mechwarrior's forearm – with a cable exiting the rear and a particularly utilitarian looking rubber slit in the front.

Removing the plastic cover reveals the Realtouch's workings: two soft, flexible, slightly grippy latex tank tracks sit next to each other, there's a pair of lube dispensing bridges over the top, and the outer shell houses two heating elements and a mechanism that's able to tighten and loosen the orifice just behind the rubber slit.

Assembling the pieces and plugging it in makes it clear that the Realtouch is a little way off being a truly portable device. Turning it on sends it into a two-minute "warm up" routine that looks awfully fast for something you're planning to stick your anatomically weak penis into.

I'll not go into depth on the software installation process beyond saying that it was a bit of a pain, and at one point I messaged my editor to declare the test null and void, before working it out. Expect to invest some time here; plug (and plug) and play, this is not. Not yet, at least.

The moment of reckoning – Realtouch encoded porn

With the wife and labrador looking on in amusement, I cue up my first Realtouch porn video, warm up the device and poke a finger in. It's warm, wet and ridgy. That's good enough for me. With a deep breath, I doff my strides and settle the device down onto my curious manhood. Nothing's moving yet but it still feels pretty damn nice. I look gravely to the missus. She bursts out laughing. I hit play.

The first thing I notice is how much attention to detail the developers have put in when it comes to Realtouch-coding the videos. Actually, that's the second thing I notice, the first being "HNNNNGGGGGGHHH."

Every up and down stroke of the porn starlet's hand is replicated in real time. When she licks along the bottom of her co-star's shaft, only the bottom belt in the Realtouch device moves – and it damn well moves in the right direction. When she chokes on him, you can feel it as she gags.

Without putting too fine a point on it, each of the actresses' entryways feel different too - the vagina being significantly warmer and wetter than the mouth, and the rear end somewhat tighter and with a strange stuttering feel I'm not sure I like.

The overall effect, however, is nothing short of eye-popping. It's an astounding multimedia pleasure cascade over which you have very little control – sure, you can dial up and down the "intensity" and add a shot of lube through a little on-screen interface if you like, but at the end of the day, you're at the mercy of the porn stars on screen.

By this stage, the wife has become bored despite a range of facial expressions I'm not sure I've ever made before, and left the room. It strikes me, as I look down at the Realtouch device nuzzling my crotch like a baby goat sucking on a bottle, that I'm now effectively masturbating professionally.

This pleasant thought doesn't last long – no thought does when you're being mauled by a very exuberant porn star. And the ultra-faithful coding makes one thing abundantly clear – male pornstars' penises do not receive gentle treatment from their female colleagues. There is nothing remotely romantic going on in the scene I've chosen – in fact it's a full throttle sensory onslaught that's almost a little scary.

And as such, it's over within 10 minutes – and there I am, sitting in front of my laptop, red-faced and with veins popping out of my temples. I'm out of breath and I've worked up a sweat, and yet I've barely moved for the last quarter of an hour. Without question, I'm prepared to nominate this as the best wank I've ever had – and as a child of the Internet age, that's a big pile to sit on top of.

The aftermath

How could I ever have been afraid of this thing? As I clean it (basically by rinsing it out and spraying some antiseptic about) I ponder the significance of my first experience of porn in the 4th dimension. I also ponder when I can do it again, and whether I can really be bothered ever doing anything else from now on.

It also occurs to me that as amazing an experience as it is, it might be even better, in a purely physical sense, if I was given full control over it – maybe even just a series of different patterns like most girls' vibrators have. I bring the idea up with RealTouch Director of Sales, Scott Rinaldo, and he tells me that a plan to open-source the development of third party apps is already up and running.

"We've released a CDK, a content development kit so that users of the device can get a bit fancy and create their own content," Rinaldo tells me over Skype.

"We've also released our SDK, our software development kit for the Realtouch device – we've opened it up for people to develop any kind of application to make Realtouch move.

"Right now, with the open source, we've already got people out there developing apps. A lot of these guys are keeping the apps to themselves because they do exactly what you're talking about – they move the device without the video, without a woman. Naturally these are ways that people can kind of beat the system and not pay for it – but we're OK with that.

"Next year, we may sell an app on our site, call it the self control app, and maybe you just move your mouse to make it go slow and fast … We don't wanna launch our app library with one or two apps. We're hoping for 5 or 10 third party apps – and one of them will definitely be the ability to control it yourself."

The Human Touch

We also talk about Realtouch Interactive – a relatively new service the company has put together that introduces a human contact element to the Realtouch device.

Specifically, the company has developed a real-time control device called the Joystick that cam girls can use to have virtual sex with Realtouch users in live chat sessions.

It adds a whole extra layer of touch-sensitive haptics technology to the system, and opens up some very interesting options for a couples-focused product in the near future. Your correspondent is currently waiting on a trial of the system and will report back once the deed is done.

[Ed's note: intrepid readers who made it this far may be interested to learn that Part 2 of Loz's odyssey is now complete. Find out why remote sex is no longer a thing of the future in his Realtouch Interactive review.]

In the meanwhile, I've become rather fond of my own Realtouch device (strangely, neither the Gizmag team nor the Realtouch guys seem to want it back). I've given her a name, Sweet Jean, and I've made a few customizations to give our interactions a slightly more personal touch.

The experience has also moved me to song. So with your permission, I'll end part one of this test with a slightly NSFW ballad that you may enjoy as a parting gift.

Product page: Realtouch.com