Sometimes a random article grabs my eyes and I can’t help it, I start to read, and I can’t stop until I’m done. I read this article about the subject of sex robots being a bad thing because they promote objectification and such, clearly some of the points had merit, but I wondered, is that the whole story?
There were a few angles I thought were rather neglected in their considerations. Yes, big boobed lady robots that fulfil men’s every desire have a great potential to wreak havoc on normal male/female relationships. Pornography already sets unrealistic expectations for what men should see when a woman is nude, not to mention how sex should be performed and what constitutes normal activity that is acceptable to request. Perfectly made sex robots just take that to a manufactured extreme and add that magical touch of the Stepford wife music for good measure.
There’s also this dichotomy between having androids servicing these male clients and putting sex workers out of a job, perhaps bad if you’re a sex worker who doesn’t actually mind the work – I hear some aren’t actually victims, under age and coerced. On the contrary side, human trafficking and the coercion of young women into prostitution and sexual servitude might be much reduced if a bunch of manufactured robots could more cheaply do the job.
Yet all this is from an angle of the seamy underbelly of society. It addresses the world in terms of dysfunctional people who seek pleasure but not love, warmth and not intimacy. A prostitute’s client is never going to come away feeling that there is a deep emotional bond between them that just became deeper because they shared pleasure. The client will just come away satisfied that he’s had his pleasure and perhaps has been given the impression that she felt something.
There are other groups to consider. Not everyone is able to participate in normal interpersonal relationships. There comes a time when it becomes difficult. It might be because of medical problems, or emotional problems. It isn’t that these people just need a sexual partner either, but for some it might be a nice option.
Consider the elderly. Some hale elderly people go right on having fun and more power to them. But some withdraw and such robots, especially if they could provide companionship along with some kind of intimacy (not just sex) might really make a difference in people’s lives.
I think of people who find themselves undesirable as sex partners for a variety of reasons. Too big, too small, something just weird about their bodies or personalities. Maybe this lets them find something too.
I don’t think that the article was wrong about sex robots as currently conceived, but I do think there’s room to use imagination and insight to help those that really do need help with something a bit more real and a bit more therapeutic than a doll with large breasts.