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Entries in sexuality (6)


Lust in Space: Sex and the Future in Penthouse Magazine (1978)

Readers of Penthouse magazine were treated to a special "Science and the Future" issue in October of 1978, which acted as a sort of coming out party for OMNI magazine. OMNI, "a magazine of science, science fiction and the future," was launched in October, 1978 by Kathy Keeton, the future wife of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione.

The issue included an article on robot rights, fiction by Anthony Burgess about the decline of the British Empire in 1985, hilarious 70's fashion photography of the future, a look at six different car designs of the year 2001, and a nine page preview of what makes OMNI the "first magazine of the 21st century."

As a gentleman of the post-print pornography generation, I can't say that I'm terribly familiar with Penthouse. But this issue looks like pretty standard fare with a sci-fi twist; naked women [dressed as aliens] in provocative poses, hokey cartoons, and those infamous Penthouse letters. I never thought anything futuristic like this would ever happen to me but...


SPACE: the final, full-frontal frontier... the last hurrah... to go where no man has ever gone before, the forbidden and yet insidiously alluring planet of NYMPHON in the second quadrant of PHI DELTA PUBIS, hard by the tumescent moons of GLUTEON MAXIMUS. It was here that I said good-bye to an intrepid friend, a great lady, whose heaving decks and smoldering afterburners had served me well -- the Yenta Prize, peripatetic mistress of the cosmic seas. I beamed down... down into the swirling, choking vapors that envelop NYMPHON, down to the very floor of this curious planet where, unused to the dense, jellylike atmosphere, I passed out.

The Star Wars cartoon below certainly reminds me of this article from 1928 about robot lovers of the future


Android Love of the Future (1982)

The June 2, 1982 Washington Post ran a short piece about lovebots of the future. The article by Stephanie Mansfield predicts androids would be on the market by the mid-1990s, and likely revolutionize the way people looked at sexual relations.  

Arthur Harkins, director of the graduate program in futures research at the University of Minnesota, is even quoted as saying that android-human relationships might be treated as common-law marriages. I suppose as long as people didn't get gay-robo-married the U.S. would be okay with that. I can hear the asinine protest chants already, "it's WALL-E and EVE, not Elektro and Steve!" 

The entire piece appears below.

He comes home every night, grabs a beer and falls asleep in front of the television. You might as well be married to a robot, you say. Well, by the year 2000, you could be.

He may even look like Cary Grant, talk about white-water rafting, be able to fix a drink and possibly even be good in bed," says Arthur Harkins, director of the graduate program in futures research at the University of Minnesota.

"One of the things we're seeing now is that people are shopping for other people the way they'd shop for an appliance," he says, citing the proliferation of computerized dating services, explicitly worded personal want ads and marriage brokers. "You're buying something that makes you happy."

Domestic robot systems are expected to come on the market by the mid-1990s, according to Harkins, and sell for several thousand dollars. These highly sophisticated androids can be programmed to offer a wide range of human personality traits. ("We can even make them neurotic") and are likely to be purchased by "people who have difficulty opening up to other human being," he says.

These surrogate spouses would be beneficial to very lonely people.

But can you fall in love with a robot? "Why not?" says Harkins, citing a bedridden hospital patient. "Along comes this wonderful android who doesn't care a bit about that, whereas other human beings may not be so inclined."

The union between man and machine would not be recognized as legal, Harkins says, but perhaps could be treated as a common-law marriage. And there's no question of a messy divorce. "Just trade it in, I suppose," the scientist says.

Another example of future schlock was the robot pets offered by Neiman-Marcus last Christmas, which Harkins says only strengthens his theory that people today want certainty. "They want somebody predictable," he says.

But Harkins says he doesn't want to trade in his own wife for a robot -- just yet. Not even, he fantasizes, "a Margot Kidder robot."

"I'd be bored stiff," he says. "But I may get to be 70 years old and look at a Mae West robot with a great deal of interest."


Previously on Paleo-Future:



Sex in the Year 2019 (1986)

In his 1986 book July 20, 2019: Life in the 21st Century author Arthur C. Clarke discusses what sexual relations will be like in the year 2019. He envisions a world in which people "boldly state their desires, no matter how bizarre or specific."

While many of his predictions about sex seem pretty accurate, (assuming few dramatic changes within the next 10 years), the most dated part about his vision of the year 2019 involves the posting of classifieds in a newspaper and sending a response to what we can assume is a physical post office box:

Married white female, 40, seeks well-endowed SWM, 18-28, for 3-month intimate companionship. My husband's hormone treatments (he's 6 months pregnant) have put him out of commission temporarily. You take care of me; I'll take care of you. Electrostimulation okay; as is drug-enhanced orgasm, but prefer partner with original equipment rather than implant. Send photo and vaccination certification to Box 2238.

--Personal ad, The Village Voice (July 20, 2019)

Previously on Paleo-Future:



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)



Headlines of the Near Future (1972)

The 1972 book Futures Conditional contains essays and lists from many different futurists of the era. This list of headlines of the near future, by Billy Rojas, presents readers with events that will "probably happen - in some cases undoubtedly happen - although not necessarily in the order presented."



Chiang Kai-shek dead in Taiwan; new regime is created that seeks to "modernize" Formosa. Ten year plan to replace most ideographs with Roman letters is announced. Major effort is made to organize "overseas" Chinese - the millions is southeast Asia, the tens of thousands in America - into a series of formalized trade associations.


Safe cigarettes invented: Lorillard stock advances 20 points in one day.



Chicago firm begins marketing robot "housekeepers": mechanical mice to vacuum rugs and clean floors, automated kitchens that prepare hot meals according to consumer specifications, etc.



Team of Muskie and Adlai Stevenson III defeats Republicans for Presidency.




J.Edgar Hoover resigns post as head of FBI.



Astronauts find evidence of sub-cellular life on the moon - two billion years ago.



Jackie divorces Ari; she plans to marry David Brinkley.



New Jersey becomes first state to legalize marijuana.



Stones break up. New music stirs U.S.; Cheyenne native rock-and-tom-tom group tops charts.



Peace settlement reached in Middle East; version of Allon plan adopted on a "phase-out" basis; Israel-Jordan to become joint secular state.




Mao-Tse-tung suffers heart attack in China. Succeeded by Chou En-Lai. Red Guard "party" forms to challenge authority of the government, cultural revolution becomes an underground movement.



Hovercraft "grass highway" bonds approved by Congress: Boston-Richmond route.



Haile Selassie dies in Washington hospital. His death removes last obstacle to United States in East Africa, a new nation made up of the former states of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda.



South Sudan secedes from Arab Federation; civil war erupts as rebels receive encouragement and aid from Addis Ababa.



Houston doctor discloses discovery of selective memory-erasing drug.



Reagan defeated by 350,000 votes.




Rescue in space; Russians save Americans endangered on orbiting space platform.



U. of Oklahoma student disorders reach insurrection proportions; social science building destroyed, 4 police, 18 students killed.



"Electro-pop," completely synthetic beverage starts a new food craze: Electro-snax, Electro-suppers are marketed.



First space hospital (4 "beds") established by U.S.S.R.



Socialists return to power in Britain.




Cabinet restructure in U.S., new secretaries of Education, Environment.



Sex-selection industry booms. Chemical treatments enable prospective parents to predetermine sex of offspring.



Allard Lowenstein defeats Buckley in N.Y. Senate contest.




Temporary lunar base set up by U.S. - 6 men, 2 months.



Famine conditions worsen in India, Java. Communist revolution develops.



Sexual intercourse allowed in Yale sex ed. classes. Harvard follows suit.



Brazilian church secedes from Rome; "second reformation" as Dutch, some Americans, also walk out.



Tito dies in Yugoslavia, unsuccessful leftist coup to oust hand-picked successor.




Religious revival reported in Africa: Nigeria, Dahomey, Ivory Coast, Guinea become Baha'i countries.



Japanese firm announces opening of sea-chains, series of floating cities to accommodate 10,000 people each; located in Polynesia.



Police force retired in Seattle; replaced by paid, plain clothes community people.




First "time traveler." Star of ten-year hibernation for Minneapolis man.



Radio signals from vicinity of 41 Y Cygni indicate intelligent life in the universe.



Laser "arrays" used by commercial ships to navigate Antarctic waters; business firms start pilot plants on southernmost continent.



U.S. court system reformed. New features include "maximum wait law" - no more than 30 days between arrest and trial - and "obsolete statute law" - any law on the books is retired after 20 years unless specifically renewed by legislative act.


See also:
Sea City 2000 (1979)
The Future of Leisure That Never Arrived (New York Times, 2007)
Space Colony Possible (The News, 1975)
Civilized Adultery (1970)
Space Colony Pirates (1981)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 1 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 2 (1970)
The Population Bomb: Scenario 3 (1970)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)


Civilized Adultery (1970)

Futurism books and documentaries of the 1970s were adament that attitudes towards sex and sexuality would change drastically by the year 2000.

What I call civilized adultery will exist a great deal more in the 21st century. People will agree with each other, husbands and wives, to have adulterous affairs from time to time quite above board instead of having them secretly behind each other's backs. They will not get upset about these any more than lots of people in other societies in the past, and present, do not get upset about adulterous affairs.

The excerpt above is from an essay by Albert Ellis, featured in the 1970 book Prophecy for the Year 2000.