Reflecting on male robotic companions and gay men
In case you haven’t heard, there are several companies offering consumers the chance to purchase male sex robots. Apparently, some can be customized with giant “bionic” peens.
So evolved are these robots that some are equipped with penile appendages that are warm to touch, simulating the real thing. Last May, GPB explored this topic in detail in a post that asked gay men if they would consider buying a hairy-chested robot.
A poll was included.
To our surprise, the majority of readers preferred ordering a mate that was equipped with a “massive” yum-yum and body hair. We say “surprise” we didn’t think folks would really consider buying one in the first place.
In another article, we explored how some of these silicone companions could be tweaked for gay men to include features like facial hair, a deep voice, and even a peen size preference (See link).
Recently, our blogging staff had an informal conversation about this topic. In short, we asked one another:
Would you really want a male sex robot as a companion?
Many of us felt that for kicks and fetishes, such a toy might be fun – if not novel. After all, who are we to judge?
Plus, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that as the robots become more human-like, the more attractive they will be to consumers (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, 2012).
As a result, they could fill an emotional and/or physical void for those who are socially awkward.
David Levy, author of Love and Sex with Robots, predicts that as robots become more sophisticated, growing numbers of adventurous humans will enter into intimate relationships with these intelligent “bots”.
An android partner could act as the perfect mate, never showing boredom or being inattentive, suggests Levy. You never need worry about their being unfaithful or going astray, because loyalty and being faithful are embedded in their programming.
Still, we can’t help but wonder about the negative impact of these life-like Ken Dolls. For example, how might these robots act as a barrier to someone who struggles with forming human relationships? Would they act as surrogates or might people become dependent on them?
For that matter, what effect would these robots have on gay men who may be relationship challenged? Might some think it’s easier to cozy up with an electronic mate instead of trying to meet a live human?
Finally, since some of these dolls can be ordered with massive dongs, would owning one create false expectations when meeting someone new?
Already, we live in a world that is digitally dependent. Over the years, we’ve seen a slow migration away from face to face interactions to electronic.
Perhaps this is why so many gay bars are vanishing; once an institution in gaydom. Today, it’s all about the apps. Will male robots one day make Grindr and Tinder obsolete?
Fully customized, some of these dolls can cost north of $15,000. One must wonder if that money would be better spent on other forms of self-care that promote human relationships instead of electronic ones.
We’re not knocking the idea of male sex robots. But we do worry that some may develop a dependence on them, thereby letting man on man relationships go atrophy.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Can you identify any pros or cons?
Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. (2012, April 29). Tomorrow's romantic robots could capture our hearts. Retrieved from https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/5706