Sex robots: hot or not?

Yes, they are perfect for sexual exploration and discovery!

By Bernice Puzon

Sex is often thought of as a physical act between two people. However, a huge part of that act is actually composed of what each self desires.

Artificial intelligence engineer Douglas Hines has developed the first human-sized, interactive sex robot, named Roxxxy. Roxxxy will be able to “carry on a discussion and [express] her love to you. She can talk to you, listen to you and feel your touch,” according to the company’s website.

Dr. Kathleen Richardson, a robot anthropologist at England’s De Montfort University,  recently released a paper arguing that sex robots would be “detrimental” to society, as they could replace physical human relationships.

I don’t believe that robots could replace human relationships at all — in fact, sex robots could be a great tool for personal exploration of one’s sexual preferences.

We are all attracted to and turned on by different people or things. Some people like to be touched or kissed in specific places. Some enjoy BDSM or role play. Others may prefer oral or anal sex. There are so many ways that having sex can play out, and even more ways to personally feel pleasure. This is why we masturbate. Sex toys such as dildos exist for enhancing this personal experience.

However, so many people have trouble communicating with their partner about their sexual preferences. Often, many people don’t even know what they like or don’t like, simply because they haven’t bothered to find out for themselves!

We live in a culture where an idealistic version of sex is portrayed by the media as exciting and passionate, where two people are in sync and reach orgasm at precisely the same time. But in reality, sex doesn’t usually work that way. It takes time, effort, and communication to have a mutually gratifying sexual experience between partners.

Sex robots like Roxxxy can provide a means of self exploration on a human body. It would allow people to discover how pleasuring others can give themselves a sense of pleasure. And since Roxxy is designed to be a communicative and sympathetic partner, it could also be a positive model of open communication with partners as well.

Hines states, “We are not supplanting the wife or trying to replace a girlfriend, [. . .] the physical act of sex will only be a small part of the time you spend with a sex robot — the majority of time will be spent socialising and interacting.” At the end of the day, a robot is still a robot. It’s a piece of technology that is supposed to enhance an aspect of real life, and there is nothing detrimental about that.

No, They’re nothing but glorified sex slaves!

By Zach Siddiqui

It’s one of the most critical times during your relationship: the one-year anniversary. You’ve meticulously blueprinted the evening — the scrumptious home-cooked dinner, scintillating conversation, and scented candles illuminating your bedroom’s subdued lighting. The night progresses smoothly, and soon, wrapped in blazing passion, your accelerating heartbeat synchronizes with the internal cooling system for your partner’s unfeeling metal insides.

365 days ago, you paid thousands of dollars for your very own sex robot.

Companies like TrueCompanion have been developing humanoid machines designed to ‘scratch the itch,’ complete with personalities and customizable appearances. While these marionettes’ makers are pleased with their seductive Frankenstein’s monsters, robotics experts and cognitive scientists raise serious ethical concerns. As important as sexual gratification is, I’m going to have to join those experts with a bucket of ice and serious misgivings about this ‘technological advancement.’

“Robots are a product of human consciousness and creativity and human power relationships are reflected in [their. . .] design,” writes robot anthropologist Dr. Kathleen Richardson, from the Campaign Against Sex Robots. I’m honestly scared of what’s reflected in the demand for sexual partners with zero capacity to deny consent or act against the customer’s wishes.

Mass-producing these dolls risks reinforcing and normalizing sexual relationships where only one participant’s desires matter. You might argue that defending robot rights is ridiculous, but this isn’t about robots; it’s about what they say about us as people.

Companies have defended the product by proposing uses beyond the sexual, claiming that robots would mainly be used for socialising.

That’s very nice, but it should go without saying that to ‘Netflix and chill’ with the equivalent of iOS 5 is hardly a healthy way to deal with loneliness, heartbreak, or grief. If anything, it draws people into unhealthy dependencies, distracting them from actual recovery strategies, and damaging their ability to experience empathetic connections.

The robots are even being suggested as a crime reduction method. “Child-like robots could be used for paedophiles the way methadone is used to treat drug addicts,” speculates Ron Arkin, director of Georgia Tech’s Mobile Robot Lab.

This justification rankles on multiple levels. Sex crimes are not something a person can just get out of their system, and to treat them as such is to grossly trivialize some of the most heinous human acts.

“It’s just another sex toy,” some might say. But most sex toys don’t embody the forms of glorified sex slaves. They don’t endanger our ability to reach out to real people in times of emotional need. They don’t dismiss sexual abuse as something comparable to anger released by screaming into a pillow.

These robots are a menace, and we need to stop marveling at the novelty and treat them as such.