Sex robots have been a thing for a few years now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a good thing, IFL Science is reporting.
As recently as a generation ago, lonely men would have had to go to a skeevy “adult store” on the bad side of town in order to buy a cheap, shall we say, “inflatable product” in order to satisfy their baser urges. Now that aspect of the industry has gone high-tech: convincingly lifelike robots, complete with natural-looking hair, skin, and facial features, as well as, er, other parts that create an authentic experience, are available on the market.
“Sex robots are realistic mannequins with variable ages, appearances and textures, and customizable oral, vaginal and anal openings.”
They aren’t cheap – an entry model will set you back five grand, with the more expensive models topping out at $15,000 or more.
Still, they’re flying off the shelves.
But that doesn’t necessarily bode well for society, says the BMJ Journal Of Sexual & Reproductive Health.
Here’s the issue: the sex-robot industry claims that one of the benefits of their products is that they give men (and sex-robot users are almost-exclusively men, says the industry) an outlet for sex that at least some users would otherwise achieve through illegal means. And “illegal means” here refers to prostitution, rape, or even sex with children (yes, at least one sex robot manufacturer produces childlike models).
And in case you were wondering, the sale and possession of child sex dolls are not illegal in the United States.
Nevertheless, the notion that these bots are a safe outlet for would-be sex criminals is not borne out by the facts, say researchers. That’s because the lifelike machines, some of which can be programmed to mimic non-consensual sex (that is, rape), blur the line between fantasy and reality, between legal and illegal, and between right and wrong.
“The report cites arguments that claim the devices could normalize sexual deviancy, escalate desires, further add to the objectification of women (or children), and even promote the control of vulnerable people.”
Meanwhile, governments are collectively scratching their heads over how to deal with the new technology that is only going to become cheaper and more widespread. As IFL Science reported earlier, some have already called for a ban on the devices.
However, as in all things that are new and only just beginning to be researched, more research will be needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn.