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Impacts of Robotic Sex (1997)

After reading Gizmodo's interview with a technosexual I thought it was as good a time as any to look at an article from the July-August, 1997 Futurist about sex with robots.

Joel C. Snell wrote a piece called, "Impacts of Robotic Sex," which describes many of the same reasons for wanting a robotic sex partner as Zoltan does in the Gizmodo article. Alimony, disease, and a sense of shifting cultural norms all lend themselves to a tone of inevitability in both pieces. The more tomorrow changes, the more it stays the same. The Futurist magazine article appears below in its entirety.

(The robot to the right is a painting my girlfriend, Malorie Shallcross, did for Valentine's Day.)

Robots that provide sexual companionship are likely to become common in the future. Prototype models have already been reported from Japan.


The future "sexbots" will have humanlike features and will be soft and pliant, like the latest dolls for children. Sexbots will contain vibrators to provided love talk.

Sexbots will be disease free; they won't judge one's sexual performance, and they won't say no. They will never have a headache or demand alimony.

They could certainly alter human relations. Here are a few potential impacts of sexbots:

Marriages may be destroyed by sexbots. A husband chooses sex with the sexbot, alienating his wife; the jealous wife destroys her sexbot rival and sues the manufacturer.

Individuals may change gender orientation. Heterosexual people may use a same-sex sexbot to experiment with homosexual relations. Or gay people might use other-sex sexbots to experiment with heterosexuality.

Robotic sex may become addictive. Sexbots would always be available and never say no, so addictions would be easy to feed. People may become obsessed by their ever faithful, ever pleasing sexbot lovers and rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions. Eventually, support groups will likely form.

Technovirgins will emerge. An entire class of humans may emerge who not only will never have sex with other humans, but won't even desire it.

Robotic sex may become "better" than human sex. Like many other technologies that have replaced human endeavors, robots may surpass human technique; because they would be programmable, sexbots would meet each individual user's needs.

Would electronic and robotic sex reduce teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, pedophilia, and prostitution? The jury is still out on these implications. However, boundaries, barriers, and beliefs will be challenged.

See also:
Civilized Adultery (1970)
Headlines of the Near Future (1972)


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Reader Comments (10)

I liked the educational film on this from the cartoon show "Futurama." Check it out here:" REL="nofollow">I dated a robot.

March 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScott Haley

like Mr. Universe in Serenity

March 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSwinebread

how many years have vibrators been around?

March 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous


Are they thinking that there will be child models?

This article does a good job of not judging whether sexbots are good or bad, but the inclusion of pedophilia leaves me scratching my head.

March 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdeven-science

Ew. The idea of a child-sexbot is seriously disturbing. As for getting rid of prostitution - isn't renting out sexbots still a form of prostitution?

March 29, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdeath-worm

It's also notable that the article mostly assumes men will use the sexbots.

"Sexbots will be disease free; they won't judge one's sexual performance, and they won't say no. They will never have a headache or demand alimony."

Yes, because having sex with real women is full of irritations like them saying no. How dare they! Whereas a man can make a fake woman do anything he wants.

Ugh. Mind you, I'd be happy to see people with that attitude remove themselves from the gene pool.

March 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Robots that provide sexual companionship are likely to become common in the future. Prototype models have already been reported from Japan.

Why am I not surprised.

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

"isn't renting out sexbots still a form of prostitution?"

Yes, but only if you rent; a lease to buy program is like marriage.

May 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

They did a flick 'Cherry 2000' with this in mind... and it's already here. See

If it's marketted right, robotic surrogates could end most sex crimes by preventing them from ever being perpetrated on real person victims. Physical stimulation would be achieved with a custom surrogate and the perpetrator would only have to clean and/or re-assemble his surrogate, not face legal repercussion for molesting or damaging another person. If the surrogate is only used when one's partner has a headache, it's a marriage saver.

In contrast, if the surrogate is always used even when the partner is willing, use of a surrogate becomes unethical adultery. Just as easy access to automobiles won't obsolete walking, surrogates won't obsolete a real fellow consenting adult partner.

So go ahead and have a robotic duplicate of your sex partner in the closet as a surrogate for when that mate is absent or unwilling. Market surrogates as 'legal substitutes' for otherwise illegal sex acts and partners. Just don't sell them as 'better than legal real sex' because they really won't be - until two partners can deposit egg and sperm in its robot womb and decant a child 9 months later. At that point the surrogate will come into its own and save us the problems of cæsarian births, bifurcated uterus, and other physical impediments to successful delivery of a child.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalikTous

Judging from the picture, I'll get a good night's sleep and my wife gets belly button intercourse so she can quit harassing me about it (see above to learn that I'm sleeping peacefully). This future seems to be all win.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertired

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