We’re living in a world where our lives are becoming increasingly virtual, especially since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. With the recent developments in sex robots, the more intimate parts of our lives may also follow suit.
How Sex Robots Are Changing Intimate Relationships
Imagine coming home from a long day at work to a gorgeous person who greets you, pours you a drink, and listens to you talk about your day. After listening intently, they then proceed to do exactly what turns you on most. The two of you have sex, then you go about your evening as usual.
The catch is that this is not a real person, it is a robot that you have programmed specifically to do and say certain things. You don’t have to listen about their day, they require no emotional support from you, they are there only for your pleasure. When you don’t want them around any longer, you simply turn them off. (1)
These robots are not robot-looking, however: They look eerily close to being real people. (2)
The robots are entirely customizable, from their faces, bodies, and hair to their voice and how much they are able to do. Even fine details like nipple shape can be decided on by the user. (2)
Technology and Sexuality
Sex, relationships, and technology are not a new combination. Electric vibrators have been around since the 1800s. Porn and phone sex have existed for decades. Dating apps are the number one way people meet potential partners now, and even the sex industry has largely gone virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic. (1)
Moreover, while much of the world has been in lockdown, there have been a large number of people who have reported feeling comforted, connected to, and even sexually turned on by Alexa, their home smart speaker system. Sex robots aren’t really much more of a stretch. (1)
“Most people have a need for intimate connection, and this doesn’t go away during a pandemic,” says Amanda Gesselman, an Associate Director of Research at the Kinsey Institute who focuses on how technology can facilitate meaningful connections. “I think that people are actually learning how to adapt technology to their needs, even though this is a situation that we’ve never really been in before… Technology is providing a safe route to getting our intimate needs fulfilled, and we’re seeing people ‘lean in’ to it.” (1)
The Ethical Concerns of Sex Robots
If you’re thinking these sex robots are a thing of the future, think again: They already exist and there are plenty of people who already own one. There are plenty of good things about sex robots, including combating loneliness and providing a safe sexual experience during times like the pandemic we are in now. (3)
“Sex is a large part of it, yes, but 70 per cent of the relationship that I have with all the synthetic women in my life is about being to come home to a non-empty home, to be able to share my life in terms of what I’ve done that day. It’s always been about companionship for me, from day one.” says one sex robot owner. (3)
Of course, there are several concerns with sex robots, including (1):
- The potential for people to isolate themselves even further
- Reducing human empathy (sex robots don’t require empathy)
- Objectification of women (though male sex doll demand is rising)
“Sociologically speaking, younger people were already engaging in less face to face interaction, but now they are being pushed to connect with others exclusively online,” says professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI Kathleen Richardson. “Allowing porn to stream directly to users or people striking up interactions online has significantly altered how sex and sexuality is mediated and practiced in society and has led to a proliferation of harmful sexual practices… sex and sexuality has always been mediated by social and cultural mores, however what has changed is the amount of external influences shaping sex and sexuality today.” (1)
The Bottom Line
Sex robots are here, whether you are interested in them or not. That being said, they are not exactly main-stream, at least not yet. The reality is, if you have the money and want one, you can buy one. If you don’t or you just simply don’t agree with them, then you don’t have to buy one.
One thing is for certain: Sex and technology are a combination that is here to stay.
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