These are the harms that sex robots can cause
Sex robots are anthropomorphic robotic sex dolls that have a humanoid form, human-like movement or behavior, and some degree of artificial intelligence.
The market for anthropomorphic dolls with a range of orifices for sexual pleasure – the majority of which are female in form, and often boast large breasts, tiny waists and sultry looks – is on the rise, with such dummies selling for thousands of euro a model.
While some are simple sex dolls, others are sex robots that can move and talk, some with a choice of nipples and dishwasher-proof labia. Indeed the industry is churning out ever more realistic mannequins featuring artificial intelligence, lubrication systems and even vaginas that can mimic an orgasm.
Sex robots are becoming increasingly lifelike. The more expensive models powered by sophisticated AI, have a heartbeat, their eyes track, they sigh, they respond, they climax and learn on the job so they can adapt to their owner’s mood. Customers can select their texture, eye and hair color, the shape of their breasts and nipples, the form of their intimate parts, their voice and their script. They can have them recite poetry or declare love. They are predominantly female, although extra parts can be added to meet client preferences and at least one company is making male robots, too.
Certainly, the introduction of sex robots changes the landscape of human interaction and intimacy—but how and to what extent are the unanswered questions. It is the responsibility of researchers to get ahead of this. What are the socio-psychological implications? Can a robotic partner ever truly be a substitute for the human experience? Will sex robots be viewed as little more than the latest advancement in sex toys? Does this industry need oversight? And, if so, who would impartially provide such oversight?
Given the seemingly endless possibilities of technological change, we children of late modernity must consider the question: does technology enhance or diminish our humanity?
In a world where sex sells, there will always be someone willing to provide anything for a dollar. We have to ask these questions and pose hypotheticals in preparation for a time when science fiction shifts to the reality of our socio-sexual world.
The loneliness of modernity is the problem the sex robots solve. Experts theorize, “If people are connecting with other people through technology, and if those virtual connections create loneliness and isolation, why not use technology to create an alternative sort of relationship—a relationship with technology?”
Sex robots are after all machines, so trying to perform an act that requires you to intimate with them can end up ‘desensitizing’ a person over time.
After all, a relationship requires human interaction, touch, mutual consent and real intimacy. A real relationship could become overwhelming to form and hold on to once you get used to a robot. A quarter of million people admit they would be happy to have a sexual relationship with a robot, claims a scientific study conducted last year.
The real debate when it comes to using sex dolls to help deal with loneliness is the long-term effects they can have on your mental health. Some psychologists and medical experts are completely against the idea. They claim that spending time with your doll can encourage introverted behavior and end up with you withdrawing from society even further.
Sex robots looks and feels like a real woman who is programmed to submission as a tool for sexual purposes. It is an ever-consenting sexual partner and the user has full control of the robot and sexual interaction. By circumventing any need for consent, the robotic partner eliminate the needs for mutual respect, communication, and compromise in the sexual relationship. Focusing on male users, experts predict strong negative harms in terms of objectification and violence against women by allowing users to physically act out rape or violence fantasy.
Sex robots provide men with the means for more selfish sex – sex that is totally one-sided. It is sex predicated on men’s absolute sexual freedom to dominate and use a woman without limitations. There is no pressure to perform well, no need to reciprocate, no need to consider the other party’s feelings, enjoyment, discomfort, humiliation or pain. It is sex with a compliant woman that is all about the user’s sexual fantasies – with a woman who never refuses, who can be used over and over again.
Experts also they predict that women and adolescent girls, already harmed by ubiquitous exposure to unrealistic beauty standards in the media, will feel even more inadequate when exposed to a consumer culture marketing perfectly beautiful, eternally youthful, and completely submissive female-gendered dolls.
But even if the robotic partner had therapeutic value, their high cost would limit accessibility for the moment. Currently a top-of-the-range model costs about € 20,000. At the low end, one can be obtained for € 6,500.