If you think you can't live without your devices now, just wait. Technology is already paving the way for a future filled with robot-derived pleasure.
In her recent blog for The Huffington Post, Dr. Helen Driscoll, a senior psychology lecturer and researcher at the University of Sunderland in the U.K., predicted that attitudes toward sexual relationships with robots will change as technologies that would enable it improve.
"As robotic sexual technology advances, it is also likely that social norms about sex and relationships will change in the future," Driscoll said. "Robophilia may be alien now, but could be normal in the near future as attitudes evolve with technology."
Fortunately, there are already a plethora of emerging technologies that could be harbingers of robot-enhanced good times to come. If robot sex is the future, here are a few reasons that the future may be coming sooner than you'd think.
Drones May Already Be Watching You Bone
"Surveillance" sounds scary, but "voyeurism" can be super-erotic. Just ask the creators of Drone Boning, a short film that captures couples getting carnal in the Northern California countryside.
Although it's mainly aimed at having a good time, the music video raises questions about privacy in the era of high-tech surveillance. It's also a fresh take on porn from an unexpected angle, using a technology that's quickly becoming commonplace. Eyes to the skies, lovers.
We Already Have Virtual Reality Porn
Only a few scant months ago, any mention of porn involving the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset immediately conjured images of dirty Japanese cartoons (more on that later). Not that there's anything wrong with hentai, but the way some porn production companies are now embracing the format is bound to have broader appeal.
Last month, HuffPost Weird News reporter David Moye got a chance to try out Naughty America's stereoscopic, point-of-view VR porn. He strapped on an Oculus Rift and assumed the role of both male and female actors in different movies.
"It was all right, but weird because it was POV and I was not used to having a vagina," Moye said. "They also had a male version and my body hasn’t looked that ripped or tattooed, well, ever."
A less open-minded correspondent for The Guardian also took a crack at VR porn. His awkward rendezvous with a tattooed man and a 3D anime partner are kind of hilarious, and definitely NSFW:
Robot Hand Jobs Aren't Just Coming ... They're Here
An earlier iteration of the immersive VR porn movie had a more hands-off approach to robot sex -- at least when it comes to the human hand. The "VR Tenga" debuted at an Oculus gaming jam in Japan in 2013.
The contraption is the marriage of a masturbation device (the "Tenga") and a haptic (touch-sensitive) controller. When synced with a pornographic movie viewed through a headset (in this case, the aforementioned cartoons), the VR Tenga simulates sex -- whether it's a handy, intercourse, or what have you.
Considering the advances made in immersive porn since the VR Tenga hit the scene, it's only a matter of time before the format goes fully interactive. Hopefully they'll be able to make the design a little less giggle-inducing. Although maybe that's just a primitive bias.
We're Building Sex Dolls With Naughty Minds
Sex dolls have been around for a long time, but it's just recently that they've started to bridge the "uncanny valley." Compared to old-school blow-up dolls, the new crop of synthetic sex partners already has an advantage in terms of looks. But nothing is sexier than a naughty mind.
The exciting news is that researchers are already working on building an AI that's smart enough to respond to a user's every desire. Inventor Matt McMullen, whose company makes posable, anatomically correct sex dolls called RealDolls, is looking to incorporate robotics and artificial intelligence into his product in the hopes of establishing an emotional connection between man and machine.
The AI is still under development, but the goal is to have the dolls have conversations with the users, and respond with facial expressions. For now, his team is focusing on the dolls' heads. But some futurists propose that fully functioning sex robots aren't far off -- and hopefully not the kind that run amok.
There's A Moral Case For Robot Sex Workers
In 2012, two New Zealand researchers at Victoria University of Wellington envisioned a scenario in which commercial sex robots would be in wide use by 2050.
In their study, Michelle Mars and Ian Yeoman argued that commercial sex robots would be free of disease and would reduce the trafficking of real people, solving two major problems with the human sex trade.
"In 2050, Amsterdam's red light district will all be about android prostitutes who are clean of sexual transmitted infections, not smuggled in from Eastern Europe and forced into slavery," they wrote.
The researchers proposed that the bots would be made with bacteria-resistant fiber and cleaned after each use to curtail the spread of disease. They also speculated that customers would "feel guilt-free" about having sex with a robot, and, since it's not a person, wouldn't have to lie to spouses about what they are doing -- a hypothesis that might require a futuristic level of honest communication.
However, it's probably worth noting that a 2014 poll revealed that one in five people in the U.K. said they'd have sex with a robot. A 2014 study by Pew Research on the role of robotics and AI in the future quoted one expert who surmised that "robotic sex partners will become commonplace," although it'd be a somewhat divisive issue, like selfies (yes, selfies).
Sex With Robots May Have Health Benefits
Disease-free robot sex is one thing. But mind-blowing orgasms that have the power to extend your life? Some futurists think it's on the horizon, and that the only lovers capable of giving humans longevity orgasms are robots.
In 2012, the futurist website Transhumanity argued that "shrieking, frothy, bug-eyed, amnesia-inducing orgasms" administered by sex robots were one key to extending human lifespans, and went into lurid detail about the kinds of sex acts that specialized robots would be able to perform on "meat bag" humans.
Although the article in question now appears to have been taken down, the claim has some merit. Researchers have found a correlation between having more orgasms and living longer, particularly for women. If every orgasm is a "longevity orgasm," and if the advantage of the robot lover is that it's never too tired for sex, then party on.