Fatal Error: A Ban on Robot Sex? Already?
By Alexa Day
Longtime visitors to this blog perhaps remember a post I wrote a while back about robot sex. I am, not surprisingly if you know me, very much in favor of robot sex, and I’m pretty excited about the possibilities emerging in the field.
So this Saturday, I found myself a little conflicted by the very first link in our Sexy Saturday Round Up. My esteemed colleague, Madeline Iva, directed me to a story about a call for a ban on robot sex.
A ban on robot sex. To my knowledge, no one is actually having robot sex at this particular time. But no matter. Someone still stands ready to deny you that pleasure.
I tried to keep an open mind. I popped open a frosty cold beverage and considered why a person might want to ban robot sex before it really got off the ground. Maybe we’re concerned about safety. That made sense. In the last post, I mentioned that Our Robot Sex Partners might be heavy and cold and pinchy. We’ve all heard the awful stories about how they don’t always know their own strength. And Westworld. Remember Westworld? Nobody planned for that fairly predictable brand of unpleasantness.
Safety matters. No one wants to start out in a cute little robo-romcom and end up in the latest Terminator movie. I get it.
Beverage in hand, I clicked on over to that news story, curious to see what people were doing about banning robot sex until a specific time in the future when it could be made safer.
Except that’s not what these folks are worried about. Robot ethicist Dr. Kathleen Richardson says she’s concerned that the new sex robots promote detrimental stereotypes about women and encourage potential users to think that relationships are just about sex.
Okay. I think I can see why she’s upset about this. And I love that we have robot ethicists now before Westworld and Terminator. So I’m not going to laugh this off. I just want to make a couple of observations.
First, I had not considered the possibility of promoting detrimental stereotypes about women. I’d been thinking of my own little heterosituation, for one thing, which does not involve female robots. I know this is awful. There’s no excuse.
Further, if we start banning everything that promotes detrimental stereotypes about women, there’s ’bout ta be a whole lotta bannin’ stuff. I hate to be that cynical, but what do we have right now that doesn’t promote these stereotypes? Anything?
I also have to admit that I’m confused by the idea that robot sex had to lead to a robot relationship. I will stand up right now and confess to all of you that I had absolutely planned to play Hit It and Quit It with the robot. That’s really what makes the robot sex so intriguing to me — not having to worry that my robo-booty call was going to catch feelings. All the robo-decadence with none of the robo-emotions. I know this is awful, too.
As for those of us with flesh-and-blood partners and a little hot robot action on the side, isn’t that a totally separate relationship issue? I mean, cheating on a partner with anybody, bot or not, is best addressed by those persons involved. I don’t see that banning robot sex is the best way to prevent adultery. What about those of us who might be trying to bring a robotic third into our coupled-up lives to spice things up a bit, in the most objective way possible?
Now, I’m all for protecting the civil rights of our special robot friends. After all, botsploitation is at the root of many a sci-fi dystopia. But I have faith that Our Robot Sex Partners are okay to look out for themselves. I think they would reject this paternalistic human ban on the exploration of robosexuality. How dare we presume that they can’t fend for themselves?
Mostly, I’m a little annoyed that someone wants to put a stop to my robotic good time before it even gets started. This is why we can’t have nice things.
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