Is making love to a robot in your future? According to David N.L. Levy, author of Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relations, people will not only fulfill their every fantasy with sexbots someday, but may fall in love with their personal sex slaves, too. With computer power set to mimic humans in every way -- from movements to muscles to emotions to personality to voice -- Levy holds that the day will come when we will be unable to distinguish humanoid from human. He further predicts that many will eventually deem robot sex as better than sex with humans, given this virtual person's superior sexual techniques and ability to satisfy.
Seem too far fetched? Consider that Axis, a Japanese company, is already producing Honeydolls, life-size sexbots for men, making a hefty $7,000 per figurine. South Korean and Japanese rent-a-sex-doll services have, too, been successful thus far, acting as evidence that there will be a demand for such products.
So why do sexbots have such an all-the-rage potential? Levy will tell you that it's because:
* These robots offer "great sex on tap 24/7."
* Sexbots will light your sexual fire, combating boredom and guaranteeing adventure and opportunity.
* Robots make for great sex tutors.
* You no longer have to go to a prostitute for sexual pleasure and satisfaction. A robot will be more convincing than a sex worker at expressing virtual affection and other emotions affiliated with paid sex.
* You don't have to deal with the economic transaction of sex -- in other words, you can have sex without the "complications" of a relationship.
* You can engage in your every sexual desire, trying new practices and techniques.
* You don't have to worry about sexually transmitted infections.
Fair enough. Even if you don't agree that sexbots could eradicate diseases, snuff out the sex workers industry, fix sexual desire issues, etc., you have to admit that some of the aforementioned is conceivable if -- and this is a big IF -- humans eventually:
* Are able to get past the mental block that's going to arise during sex for many over the mere fact that they're getting busy with an android.
* No longer get turned on by the power dynamic and joy of degrading another human in paying for sex.
* Become satisfied with having soulless sex 100% of the time.
* Aren't concerned over how sexbots will impact their ability to be intimate on a number of levels with fellow humans.
* Don't get bored of their sexbots too.
I could keep poking holes in Levy's arguments...but what really irked me about Levy's sexbot vision is how "off" he is in how the genders will embrace these new lovers. If you read Levy's synthesis of his doctoral pursuits (his Ph.D. is in gender studies and artificial intelligence), he plays up on the old and tiring Mars/Venus attitudes of stark gender differences when it comes to motivations for sex, love, and intimacy. He holds that men will embrace sex with robots for the pure physical pleasure. On the other hand, women, motivated by the need for love when it comes to sex, will "want not only a personal demonstration of the robot's virtuoso lovemaking skills but also to feel the robot's virtual love for them." Levy also sees sex robots as encouraging men to explore their feelings of emotional attraction on a deeper level, while ladies could be taught how to achieve greater physical sexual pleasures.
With millions of women appreciating their vibrators as never before, Levy sees this as "sufficient proof that women will welcome malebots with open arms." (Or should he have said legs?) Apparently, gals will love their robot-induced Os even more than those derived from their vibrators because of their sexbot's love-making skills. I'm sure that my girlfriends would beg to differ...
Perhaps most amusing is Levy's belief that there will be very little social stigma in purchasing a sex robot. Given these gadgets will wipe out the commercial sex industry, including the health risks involved, he sees them as coveted as owning a Beamer. Furthermore, he finds it quite conceivable that we'll all turn into a bunch of nymphomaniacs, having more sex than we can ever imagine. He makes the claim that people will physically enjoy sex with androids since the "delight of orgasm will be the same." Ask practically anybody who has had amazing sex with another, and they will rarely tell you that their sex toy trumps lovemaking. I'm just not buying any of it.