Advertisement
News by VICE

Doctors tackle age-old question: Is having sex with a robot good for your health?

Sex robots might be fun, but are they healthy? Interesting you should ask — a group of doctors, having pondered the question, don’t seem to think so.

by Rex Santus
Jun 5 2018, 7:08pm

Sex robots might be fun, but are they healthy? Interesting you should ask — a pair of doctors, having pondered the question, don’t seem to think so.

Citing a rise in inquiries to doctors about the health benefits of robotic sex companions, a pair of doctors — Chantal Cox-George and Susan Bewley — set out to find an answer to the age-old (well, at least a few years old) question: What, if any, are the medical benefits to having sex with robots? In a paper published Monday, titled “I, Sex Robot: the health implications of the sex robot industry,” the researchers ultimately concluded that there's just not a lot of information currently available relating to the effects of having sex with a robot.

But from what they could find, there's absolutely no evidence that sex robots are beneficial to their users’ health.

“We advise that sexbots shouldn’t be used in medical practice,” Cox-George, a doctor at St. George’s University Hospitals in Britain, told the Washington Post.

There were four categories of potential sex robot benefits that the researchers looked into:

  • Safer sex

  • Therapeutic potential

  • Potential to treat paedophiles and sex offenders

  • Changing societal norms.

But the researchers ultimately found concerns in these areas, as opposed to benefits, like the fact that sex robots are usually female-presenting, and their bodies conform to airbrushed, normalized beauty standards; that the robots can simulate scenarios of rape, introducing a host of problems about their users; and the concern that robots could trigger assaults against actual human beings.

Whether these concerns are purely theoretical remains to be seen, though we may not have to wait much longer. The sex robot industry is a burgeoning one, with manufacturers building ever-more-sophisticated models that can tell jokes and even quote Shakespeare. Another prototype, dubbed “Samantha” by its creator, requires “seduction” before sex can take place.

Cover image: A service robot stands at SCO Qingdao Summit Media Center on June 5, 2018 in Qingdao, China. Photo by Hu Yaojie/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images.