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November 03, 2019 2 min read

Robotics is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice, which is also relevant to sexuality because of the possibilities offered by human-machine interactions. In the case of human-robot interaction, the emerging role of sex robots has piqued public interest. In the therapeutic debate about sex robots, it is important how psychologists and therapists define robot sex. The term technosexuality describes sexual activities that are combined with technology. There are technosexual behaviors, such as internet pornography, that occur more frequently than others In the context of psychology, sexual activities with robots have mostly been described as objectophilia or robotic fetishism so far, whereby this definition is a rather pathologizing limitation. This is defined as a fetish attraction to humanoid or nonhumanoid robots, to people behaving like robots, or to people dressed in robot costumes. In the most general and descriptive definition of robot sex, it can be defined as sexual use of the robot. This definition includes the use of special sex robots and the sexual use of other types of robots that are not specifically developed and marketed for sexual purposes.

Sex robots have triggered discussions in professional circles about robot design, social norms, and the status of human-robot sex in connection with human relationships as well as the possible benefits of sex robots  For example, one benefit is in terms of using sex robots as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of sexual disorders. Different types of assistance and therapy robots have already been used for health care applications, for example, by people who are suffering from a stroke, dementia, autism, or physical disability. A robotic assistant for health care applications can support users with training and rehabilitation programs that enable independent living. Although sex toys are used in sex therapy for the treatment of orgasm problems, there is no information about the opinion of sex therapists regarding sex robots as a tool in sex therapy. A robot designed for sex may have a different impact than other sex aids. Some sex therapists already have suggested a range of options that robots could help them with, including a variety of problems such as erectile dysfunction, ejaculatio praecox and social anxiety about having their first sexual encounter.

In his book Love and Sex with Robots, David Levy expressed a similar view when it comes to the potential psychosocial value of sex robots: “Many who would otherwise have become social misfits, social outcasts, or even worse will instead be better-balanced human beings.” Levy suggests that robotic sexual assistance contributes to health and well-being if it mitigates the exclusion of solo and partner sexuality associated with the impairment. Döring adds that it would also be possible to use educational and therapeutic sex robots that allow certain exercise programs discreetly and without feelings of shame or guilt (eg, practice of safer sex techniques, treatment of orgasm disorders, and prevention of sexual assault). The statements quoted above are based on first considerations, but no therapists have been asked about their attitudes toward the therapeutic benefits of sex robots yet.  We will see what the future holds!  Come try it for yourself.


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