This column was originally published in a British newspaper.
Sex robots get a bad rap.
They’ve been labelled unethical and blamed for perpetuating a culture that objectifies women. Many ethicists are concerned that their lifelike appearance and fully functioning genitals pose a threat to romantic love and human relationships.
But sex robots are here to stay. They’re no longer a fantasy from science fiction. They’re the real deal. Welcome to Westworld.
But what are the benefits of sex robots? And can they advance humanity positively?
Empowerment For Men and Women
The feminists have their pubes in a knot because they believe sex robots epitomise patriarchy.
Kathleen Turner, a fellow in ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in the U.K, created a Campaign Against Sex Robots. Her campaign states that sex robots objectify women and equates the relationship between sex-bot and owner to that of a sex-worker and a client.
The campaign fails to acknowledge that many sex workers love their work and choose their occupation. It also fails to acknowledge that male sex robots already exist to be objectified by female customers and gay men.
Karley Sciortino, author of Vogue’s Breathless column, recently described her experience with a male sex-bot:
“We always assume men are more likely to enjoy sleeping with an object and that women need an emotional connection to enjoy themselves, but that isn’t the case. With a sex-bot you can learn how to make ‘sex’ work for you.and that’s an empowering thing for a woman.”
Prevention of Rape
Recently, there’s been outrage over a sex robot called the Roxxxy TrueCompanion which you can simulate raping with a flick of a switch.
Various personalities of the ‘Roxxxy TrueCompanion’ include, ‘S & M Susan’, ‘Wild Wendy’ and ‘Frigid Farrah’ -- who doesn’t appreciate your advances when you touch her anatomy.
The company’s website states that their robots “allow everyone to realise their most private sexual dreams."
I’m a rape survivor. In April I performed my one-woman-show about my rape on the West End. I think the fact that a company has created a sex-robot that simulates rape is progressive and evolved.
We can pretend to live in a fantasy land where rape and rape fantasies don’t exist. But the fact is they do. And as a person who has experienced rape, I would prefer a person explore their fantasy with a sex-bot than a human.
Prevention of Pedophilia
Child sex robots exist. And there’s been a call to have them banned.
It would be wonderful to live in a world without pedophilia. A world where innocent children weren’t preyed upon by lustful men but we don’t.
In psychology, it’s believed that ‘pedophilia’ is a fixed sexual orientation. Which means when psychologists counsel pedophiles, they don’t seek to eliminate a pedophile’s attraction to children, they seek to train them to control their urges.
Child sex robots could serve as an outlet for those with this sexual orientation and keep our kids safe.
Sex robots could be used to provide companionship and sexual relief to a cross-section of society. They could help couples manage long-distance relationships and give company to the elderly in aged care facilities.
Let’s be honest. This panicked frenzy over sex robots reveals the public’s uneasiness with sex and technology. Similar panic has arisen over online porn, vibrators and the almighty sybian. But rarely is technology between the sheets something to fear.
I plan to start saving my pennies for a sex robot. But at the price they currently sell at, I won’t own one until 2027.
Vanessa de Largie has been the monthly sex-columnist for Maxim Magazine's print issue since February 2017.