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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Is Sex With Robots Good For Your Health?

sex robot

Many proponents of sex robots claim that sex robots will contribute to the sexual health of individuals and therefore might be also beneficial to societies all over the globe. Scientists though say that there should be much more research and studies before such a claim could be made.

In 2012 Science Direct published a study boldly predicting that by 2050 the oldest trade in the world would be taken over by robots. It said: »Amsterdam’s red light district will all be about android prostitutes who are clean of sexually transmitted infections, not smuggled in from Eastern Europe and forced into slavery, [and] the city council will have direct control over android sex workers controlling prices, hours of operations and sexual services.
Now a new study has been published in BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health. The authors are Susan Bewley and Chantal Cox-George and they studied general data about the effects of having sex with robots on human health.

Apparently their study remained inconclusive though. Bewley and Cox-George said: »We found no reports of primary data relating to health aspects of the use of sex robots. The overwhelmingly predominant market for sexbots will be unrelated to healthcare. Thus the ‘health’ arguments made for their benefits, as with so many advertised products, are rather specious. Currently, the ‘precautionary principle’ should reject the clinical use of sexbots until their postulated benefits, namely ‘harm limitation’ and ‘therapy’, have been tested empirically.«

The authors found several ideas and claims that sex robots might be beneficial to human health but no data supporting them. The areas they found ideas about were for one that sex with robots might be safer sex, they also found claims about the robots’ therapeutic potential, additional claims that they might have the potential to treat pedophiles and sex offenders, and more broadly that having sex with robots might change »societal norms«.

It seems kind of logical that the lack of studies and clinical experiments makes it impossible at this point to deduct anything else from that than the lack of evidence itself. The claims can not be proven nor completely be dismissed. That seems to be the reason why the authors became rather philosophically in the end and speculated about questions concerning consent and androids. They raised the question if the consumer’s motivation could be discounted in determining moral questions of consent. In other words: Would it be ethical to sell sex robots to rapists?

While that sounds like a question the people running the fictional HBO series Westworld ask themselves the researchers remain relatively vague. Despite that, they strongly recommend that pedophiles and sex offenders should not be treated with sex robots as long as there were no »scientifically and ethically acceptable research trials«.

In a blow to that other study’s bold idea of an Amsterdam with android prostitutes and a world of safer sex, the authors raise legal questions: »There may be legal liability ramifications should the engineering of sexbots fail, leading to injury or infection and with unclear responsibility for condoms and cleaning protocols.« So who would be to blame if a customer of a sex robot gets infected with an STD?

If you are interested in the study you can get it here.


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