Friday, May 14, 2010

Sex Robots

Two days ago while browsing Reddit, I ran across a really looooong thread dealing with.... sex robots.  Not Real Dolls, but robots that are actually.. active participants.  And then a short while later on one of the women's interest subforums... another thread, asking what women think about sex robots.

You want to know what I think?  I think they're creepy.  Effing creepy.  And I think they can't come soon enough.  Seriously.  Just because something creeps me out (in this case... it's like a person!  But not!  And it doesn't have emotions or feelings, but it pretends to!  And it probably doesn't feel/look/act like a real person!  And what happens when the robots take over, figure out how to make themselves look like YOU and then steal your identity?  Huh, what then?) doesn't mean I don't think it is perfectly fine for other people.

Just think about it:

Guys/gals who can't get laid for whatever reason?  Sex robot!
Guys/gals who really like variety?  Sex robot!
Guys/gals who think women/men are only good for sex?  Sex robot!

Come on now-- how awesome would it be?  The people who really are good partners would most likely still keep dating and being good partners-- after all, a sex robot is a SEX robot.  Not a love robot, not a cuddle robot, not a talk about your favorite fantasy series till 2AM then jump around making animal noises robot.  It's a sex robot.  But a lot of people on the thread seemed to think that it would be a terrible threat to women.

I get the threat, but I just don't agree.  I don't think it's there.  I also get the worry that sex robots will lead to more men thinking women are only good for sex, but I don't think that's true either.  I do think it will reinforce the guys that are already misogynistic jerks but-- like porn-- I think it's only going to amplify what's already there, not make it from whole cloth.

I do get that sex toys that look just like women reinforce the idea that a woman's worth is in sex.  I do.  But I do think it's healthier to keep guys who think like that away from real women.  There is the danger, of course, of how sex bots would be used by people in relationships-- if they'd be used by men as tools to make women jealous and control them, or ways to diminish a partner's sense of his or her own value.  After all, sexual attraction isn't everything in a relationship, but it is pretty damn important to most people.  A partner who says "I love you and you're attractive, but this robot is so much hotter and more fun to fuck" is going to be REALLY BAD for the other person's self esteem, and for the relationship itself.  Sex robots would be completely different from vibrators in this way-- vibrators are generally not used as an alternative to sex, but a way to enhance sex, or a way to get off when sex isn't an option.  Sure, there are likely a few people out there who prefer using a vibrator to doing their partner, but... for most, I think the real, actual, human contact wins out.

Another upside to sex bots?  They can provide youths of all genders a way to explore sexuality without risk or STDs or pregnancy.  They can allow individuals to explore kinks that their partner isn't into.  They can allow someone who is in a long term relationship a more satisfying masturbatory experience.  But the bottom line to me remains that they would give sexually frustrated jerks an outlet without harming any real people-- including prostitutes, who always face the risk that a client might decide to take things too far and leave her with lasting harm.

10 comments:

Brett Stevens said...

We don't even need sex robots. With some artful cutting, I'm sure we can turn a rump roast into a dinner & date.

Jilly said...

I hadn't heard of these before your post so I found it interesting. I think they're a good idea as it would keep men who think women are only good for sex away from the real thing - i.e. us! They would also help people who are shy to build up confidence before trying the real thing. There are of course downsides but there are to any invention but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Amanda said...

Jilly,

Sex Robots don't exist yet, but they're on the way. Real Dolls have been around for awhile, and it seems like the company wants to make them as lifelike as possible. Plus, not too long ago there was something in the news about a lifelike female doll head in Japan or China. So will there be realistic sex robots in my lifetime? I think it's likely. Whether or not they'll be affordable for an average person, I don't know.

You might also be interested to know that there already are "fucking machines" for women-- check out the Sybian! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybian

Jilly said...

Amanda - thanks for the link!

Chris said...

Definitely an interesting post. I think you are correct in thinking that sex robots could take a possibly dangerous portion of the population who might exploit or hurt women and give them a mechanical substitute.

On a funny/positive note. As a graduate student I could see a huge market for us. Long hours, not a lot of time for relationships. I think the picture is clear. Let's face it, the robot doesn't care if we spend two weeks doing nothing but working on a paper and ignoring food for another journal article.

As a last note I think sex robots might be able to enhance love to a small degree. Many people get preoccupied by sex and sexual gratification to the point that it can interfere with healthy relationships. If there is a sexual outlet that can ease anxiety and any mental pressure it may free them up to put more social effort into a relationship rather than constantly worrying about sex.

In any case, great to see a woman weigh in on the positive side of the debate with a lot of insightful comments!

April said...

I also get the worry that sex robots will lead to more men thinking women are only good for sex, but I don't think that's true either.

I would bet that if these became available and affordable, many women would choose to use them, too, which could equal the playing field a bit in terms of people believing that men only want sex, and women never do. Maybe more men would use sex robots than women would, but it would certainly increase the acceptance of women as people who also enjoy sex and don't just do it to please a partner.

I do think it's healthier to keep guys who think like that away from real women.

I think this is a really good point.

And as far as couple using them... my immediate thought was "easy and non-threatening way to have a threesome!!" You brought up some really good negative implications that I hadn't thought of, though.

Anonymous said...

I think it's hilarious that the actual value of a woman has fallen so far that she can be easily outsourced by an animatronic piece of latex.

It's also hilarious that women are going "YAY DILDOS!" and "BOOO SEX TOYS FOR MEN!!!" Hypocrisy much? As an aside, there is a huge controversy among lesbian women over using vibrators on more than one partner, because women develop emotional attachments to each other through the use of dildos. So, women using dildos as a penis substitute is "Hooray empowerment!" but Men using sex dolls as a vagina substitute is "OMG PERVERT ABUSERS!!!"

You people are ridiculous.

Amanda said...

Anonymous,

The value of a woman is not purely in sex. The value of a sex robot or other masturbatory aid is purely sex. Surely you don't think the value of a man is solely in his penis, so why would the value of a woman be solely in her vagina?

Also, did you actually read my post? It is in favor of sex toys for men.

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Anonymous said...

Truth is that men really are only interested in women for sex and reproduction. Everything else is just window dressing.

Imagine an android that is programmed to "appreciate" its owner (appreciation is the primary male emotional need) and provides incredible sex every night.

Combine that with parenting subroutines, on-demand human cloning/surrogacy and half the human race could be made redundant.

I doubt every man out there would go for the sexbot. You are likely to see guys who have money but not celebrity money go for them because the sexbot won't rape him in divorce court.

A lot of men are likely to drop out of the dating market and it will leave a lot of women competing for fewer men.