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Guest Post: M. O’Keefe on Dark Romance and Sexbots

24 Jul

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Happy Monday Lady Smutters! I greet you from not-so-sunny Orlando where I am days away from the 2017 RWA national conference. Today, we have a real treat for you here. My friend, Molly O’Keefe, who also writes dark romance as M. O’Keefe, is visiting Lady Smut today to talk about bad sexbots, making sex integral to the character, and her journey through different genres of romance novels…getting ever sexier as she goes along. She also has 5 free copies of her book, Lost Without You, for 5 lucky commenters. Read on for more details.

Welcome Molly!

Guest Author Molly O’Keefe

This spring, I was asked by a reader why my latest books had gotten so dark, the content so sexual. It wasn’t a criticism, just a question. And I don’t think I gave her a clear answer, because honestly, I hadn’t thought about it. I was well-aware some of my books were darker than others, but had they all become so dark? Why was I drawn to these darker stories? This deeper sexual content?

I’ve been writing romance for nearly 20 years. I was very much a young woman when I started. I was 25-years-old and keenly aware of the fact that my mother would be reading my books. A few of my friend’s parents. My high school teachers! In terms of writing sex scenes–it was a very limiting mind set for me.  There was a lot of internal cringing while I wrote those early books. A lot of fretting about what would my mother think?

And frankly–I didn’t know how to write sex scenes. How to make them pivotal to character growth or plot development. I make a joke about it now, how I worried so much about creating fully-developed characters, but once they got into the sex scene they were like sex-bots. One dimensional and mechanical. Bad, in a word. Really bad sex robots.

Click on image to buy!

Then I found the books of Anne Calhoun and Cara McKenna and Charlotte Stein, and it felt like my world got blown open. Make the sex matter to the characters, make it difficult and fraught with tension and the sex becomes not just interesting but INTEGRAL. To read, yes, hopefully. That’s always the hope.

But to write! How fun, how deeply intriguing to dig into the characters through their feelings about sex. Their hang ups and their turn-ons. Writing Bad Neighbor, which in a lot of ways is just about a woman’s sexual awakening with a slightly dangerous next door neighbor, was one of my favorite writing experiences to date.

Everything I Left Unsaid, which is increasingly dirty phone sex for thousands of words, should have been harder than it was, but when each sexual experience unlocked something about my heroine, I’m not kidding, the book practically wrote itself.

Very few people are truly ambivalent about sex. Most people have some kind of negative or positive feeling about their past, their bodies, what they perceive to be dirty or shameful. About what they want sex to be. Or don’t want it to be.

For me these have become the questions that I ask my characters. That I try to answer in my books. Maybe it’s because I’m 40 now? And 40 is so much more liberating than 25? I’m not sure. But I feel like part of my interest in these stories is simply the product of growing up. Of seeing a wider world, understanding that very little is black and white, and that it is the gray areas that make life and stories interesting. Make us humans more human.

I like characters whose backs are against the wall and are making life-altering decisions. Bad decisions, maybe? But decisions about survival. About wanting more than they have. And being desperate for something better.  My new series–The Debt–is about five foster kids who save one of their own from their abusive foster father. But instead of going to prison, they find themselves indebted to a powerful man with mysterious motives. And no one knows if they’ve been given a second chance or a life sentence.

Click on image to buy!

In every single romance in this series, my characters are desperate for something. Truth. Love. Revenge. Redemption. And they make dangerous choices to get those things they want. Sometimes criminal, sometimes immoral, but never, ever, amoral. They do bad things and they know it and they wrestle with it.

The wrestling with it is what feels human to me. Feels interesting. Well, that and the sex.

So, how about you? Do you like your romances darker? Why or why not? What has been one of your favorite dark romances?

Molly O’Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!  Found our more at http://www.molly-okeefe.com.

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is a finalist for InD’Tale Magazine’s prestigious RONE award! Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

Guess the Lady Smut TBR Stack–Win $10 Amazon Gift Card!

4 May

Hi RT Orphans! Does your TBR pile have some of the same titles as ours? Let us know–leave us a comment below. 🙂 Want to buy the book on our TBR list? Click the link.  Meanwhile, here’s another fun game you can play at home.

FIRST Read the TBR lists. THEN guess which list belongs to which blogger. Your blogger choices are below & we’ve abbreviated the longer names for you. We also provided some hints.  THE FINAL STEP IS TO email us at LadySmutBlog@gmail.com with your guesses. The first reader to email us the most correct answers wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY MAY 5th AT 12PM PST!!!!!

OUR BLOGGERS:

Elizabeth Shore

G.G. Andrew

Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK)

Alexa Day

Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB)

Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF)

Isabelle Drake

Thien-Kim Lam (TKL)

Madeline Iva

Ready to play? Here we go——

Lady Smut TBR List #1

Hint: This blogger is a foodie who loves diverse romances & sex toys

  1. Alpha by Jasinda Wilder
  2. Nine Kinds of Naughty by Jeanette Grey
  3. The Muse by Anne Calhoun
  4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  5. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Lady Smut TBR List #2

Hint: This blogger likes to share all after a few dirty dates. ; > 
  1. The Pawn by Skye Warren
  2. Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre
  3. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Lady Smut TBR List #3

Hint: This blogger is a big fan of New Adult romances, secrets, and other crazy, sexy topics.

  1. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
  2. Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  4. Deadly Testimony by Piper Drake
  5. Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Lady Smut TBR List #4

Hint: This erotica author loves blogging about TWD, kidnapping & a few other illicit topics.

  1. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  2. All the Lies We Tell by Megan Hart
  3. Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos
  4. Slow Surrender by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres

Lady Smut TBR List #5

Hint: This blogger is wild about reviewing her fav authors.

  1. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
  2. The List by Tawna Fenske
  3. Madly by Ruthie Knox
  4. Beyond Doubt by Kit Rocha
  5. Edge of Ruin (set of 3 Viking Dystopian Novellas) by Megan Crane

Lady Smut TBR List #6

Hint: This author blogs about edgy topics of desire including: swallowing, tattooing, cross-dressing–even Jewish Swingers. 

  1. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  2. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  3. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose
  5. Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Lady Smut TBR List #7

Hint: When this author wasn’t all tied up, she’s blogged about CW’s Riverdale.

  1. Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler
  2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  3. DC Comics Bombshells: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Marguerite Sauvage
  4. Initiates of the Blood by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Lady Smut TBR List #8

Hint: This blogger is a capital BDSM Erom author

  1. Bombshell by CD Reiss
  2. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  3. Royally Matched by Emma Chase
  4. The Chosen by J.R. Ward
  5. The List by Anne Calhoun

Lady Smut TBR List #9

Hint: This author loves blogging about wicked villains & paranormal television shows.

  1. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  2. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde
  3. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab
Send off those answers and follow us at Lady Smut. If you want to know the about the latest fun when it comes to sex, romance books, and pop culture–we won’t leave you guessing.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

I Was Enjoying DARK MATTER ‘Til They ****ing Killed My Favorite Character

23 Feb

by Madeline Iva

***Yeah, this post is chock full of spoilers.  You’ve been warned.*** Dark Matter is a successful comic book made into a Canadian television show that you can binge watch on Netflix–which is what I did.  The gloomy ship, the tough characters and the cloudy mystery about their identity sucked me right in until I was devouring episodes left and right.

One. He's the good guy on a ship of tough criminals. So how did he wind up with them?

One. He’s the good guy on a ship of tough criminals. So how did he wind up with them?

WHY I LOOOOOOOOVED DARK MATTER SO MUCH:

The premise is pretty brilliant.  Six people wake up in sleep pods on a dark ship in space.  Their memories have been wiped.  In addition to that, the android that sort of runs the ship wakes up and starts attacking them, so they knock her out and end up injuring her.  To get her back up requires a memory wipe, so she too doesn’t know what happened to them all.  It’s science-fiction, but it’s also mystery.  Who are they? Who did this to them? Why? 

darkmattertwo

Two. She’s hot.

They give themselves numbers and I knew that they’d eventually run into their pasts and get names, but it made me extraordinarily satisfied that they call each other by numbers.  It becomes an alternative identity.  Later on Three learns his name is Marcus–but if the others still call him Three, it’s like they’re disavowing his messed up Marcus past and saying that he can go back to being their three–i.e. annoying, but not a completely heartless dick.

I like One best.  He is a good looking guy–but I mean, they’re all good looking, so really, it isn’t only that. However, in a ship full of tough people, he’s the good guy.  Which is a little scary, because the rest (Five excepted) so obviously are not. I usually don’t like the super good guys.  I like the maybe-villains.  But One is played by a very talented actor, who via subtle expressions and delivery squeezes a three-dimensional performance out of a two dimensional character.

Three is all walking id, questioning every decision that isn’t based on pure selfishness–so of course, he is fun to watch and a bit of a wild card. Later on, we see Three has a real soft spot for women. At one point we think Two has been executed and Three’s face is really something to see in that moment.  Three, also, is one of the best actors on the show–at certain moments.

THREE

THREE. Also the show’s id character. Also kinda hot. Sometimes. Also a good actor.

Two is the toughest character in the beginning.  Played by an asian female with some extraordinary thighs, she takes command of the ship with her bad-ass attitude.  One is quickly drawn to her, but when she wants to scratch her bootie itch and have a little meaningless sex, it’s Three she calls upon, not One. Which makes One smart.  So there are tensions between One and Two because: love triangle!  Not to mention that One and Three are diametrically opposed in terms of morality.

Yet pretty soon, it turns out that One discovers he’s got a BIG secret to keep and Three is right there when this secret is revealed to One.  So the two are connected in that way for a while and it’s massively uncomfortable for One. Which is great! (Although I hope you can follow what I’m saying, because it’s starting to sound like weird SFF algebra.)

Probably the most handsome guy on the show. But....meh.

Four is probably the most handsome guy on the show. But….meh. He adds the most in ensemble moments.

The show delivers Big Secrets every so often and they are mostly yummy.  The show is at it’s best when it returns to its gloomy mystery origins: you just don’t know who you can trust.  Goodie!

It’s often young Five who circles us around to these gripping plot reversals. I think I liked her at first simply because I associated her with these moments. But I also delight in Five being a Young Adult character–a main character and a girl–in a sci-fi television show.  I’m trying to think of another major adult SFF show where that’s the case, and I can’t.

Five aka "The Kid."

Five aka “The Kid.”

I enjoyed watching the Android–though you and I know her as Lauren  from LOST GIRL.  She gets dinged up from the git go and starts to go “off program”. For instance, she starts seeking approval from the humans.  The “right” thing to do would be to wipe her system and reboot–a kind of android seppuku. At one point there’s the potential to “upgrade her system” to make her feel and seem more like a human and a ‘rouge android’ element is introduced.  The program upgrade makes the Android seem like a whole other character.  The actress performs this well, but…ugh! (more later below).

So there was something here for everyone–I thought a lot of the ideas in the show were fabulous.

WHAT WENT WRONG…

I’m not saying this show was perfect.  One problem I had with five is that she’s so obviously an older actress playing a younger character.  She and Two are equally short, and she has far larger breasts, so buying that she was a teen was a challenge (She’s was twenty-two when they filmed).  I had to keep squinting to suspend disbelief about her.  I mean, it’s not just that they all decide she’s a young teen when she looks anywhere from sixteen to twenty-three, it’s that they keep saying things like: “She’s just a KID!” like she’s only twelve or something…But that’s not saying anything against the actress, who is quite good. Another thing is that she keeps having new clothes to wear when a) she was a stowaway, presumably on the ship without luggage, and b) everyone else on the show seems to be in the same-o, same-old clothes.

Android fail. Every few episodes she's getting zapped and it's lights out.

Android fail. Every few episodes she’s getting zapped and it’s lights out.

I had problems with the android ‘upgrade program’, although it was more like an epiphany. The plot of this particular episode struck my robot-romance fixated nerve.  It made me realize that the ‘upgrade’ shortcut would never work for a successful robot/human romance.  What do we love about idea of a cyborg/AI/robot/android romance if it’s not that the android represents the most difficult challenge of all? Huge boundaries (impossible boundaries some would say) exist in terms of getting a cold and emotionless being to develop attraction, love, and passion. That’s a HUGE obstacle. A quick upgrade to the system???? That’s just cheating. )

I delighted in watching Six waiting in a doctor’s office for a very long time where they continuously ran ads about adventuring off world via clone proxies.  Your body and mind are scanned in a pod, and your look-a-like clone wakes up on some other world.  Your clone enjoys your vacay and then all the memories from your clone are downloaded back into your memory while you’re in the pod.  You wake up and come out of the scanner remembering the events and sensations of your vacation.  Meanwhile, the cyborg that looks like you and is walking around as you, is taken somewhere, has a memory wipe and is put into a vat for recycling…

Six

Six. Nobody trusts nobody–not even the android.

I thought the show was creating an ironic situation in which Six was ignoring a bit of information crucial (and funny) in terms of unravelling the core mystery.   My hope was that someone had wanted a bad guy dream team to go do bad deeds across the universe.  So they made clones of the original criminals and when those deeds were done, wiped the clone memories–but for some reason the clones weren’t put in the vat.  Instead they ended up in the sleep pods on the ship — To me this TOTALLY explained the mystery of how they wound up on the ship together and why they had no memories…

Six wakes up as a clone from the pod...

Six wakes up as a clone from the pod…

Alas, that was not the actual solution to the mystery.  This was the writer in me, weaving together my own plot soup based on ingredients provided by the show.

My sweetie hated the clone device.  He hated it because real clones (one day) are/will be real people. This show perpetuates the idea of clones as objects to purchase and discard.  The clone thing is used as a plot device later on in other ways, but the clones when badly hurt tend to simply disintegrate a la Buffy stabbing the vampires and making them go poof. Why would a clone do that, he asked? It’s stupid. A clone–because it’s an actual human body–would go splat, not poof. It would not disintegrate into a cloud of clumpy dust.

Yeah, so that was kind of a regrettable choice.  Meanwhile, I loved my idea of the crew being memory-wiped clones.  The show has them on the ship starting from square one in a state of distrust, but circumstances make them pull together.  We know they were probably very bad in their former lives, but rallied by the influence of Five, aka ‘The Kid’, they have a chance to become new, better people. (Insert here your own philosophical discussion with a friend over the role of memory in personhood and if one can change merely by starting over. This is the good kind of sci-fi.)  As they slowly pull together to become a unit they build loyalty to each other and we know that many of the forms their enemy will take are elements of their past coming to haunt them. Everyone knows karma is a bitch–but it’s very enjoyable to watch.

One finds out that there is indeed a very bad guy out there with One’s face. (See! One is a clone!) Unfortunately, however, for my pet theory, the bad guy Derek Moss says something like “I’d think you were a clone, but someone would have had to scan my body to do that, and no one did.”

Booooooooo!

dark-matter-season-2-coverHowever, I was still delighted that One had this evil Doppleganger out in the world that could cause him no end of trouble.

But here’s the big problem.  They f**king killed One.  Whyyyyyyy? It seemed gratuitous and unnecessary given that they never really followed the conspiracy plot path the killing seemed based upon.  You eventually find out where the crew’s memories are stored and I knew that Evil One aka Derek Moss was still out there.  So my FTL plotting muscles realized ‘the gang’ was going to kidnap Evil Derek and stick One’s memories into him.  But that didn’t happen either. 😦

But! When Derek reappeared, I was like: Yay! Evil Derek is better than no One at all.  Alas, in that very episode the show killed off Evil Derek.

Oh people.  I was so disgruntled.  One was the glue that kept my interest in the show at super-high levels. Yeah, I liked all these ideas about the others and sometimes their interactions were okaaaaaay, but for me, One was the secret sauce.  Yes, the whole prison break thing was good. Yes, finding out Two’s backstory was pretty cool.

Frankly, since One/Derek’s death, I’ve only made it through about four more episodes while mostly folding laundry and checking email.  I just don’t care anymore–Maybe other audience members, more familiar with the comic books than I am, are looking forward to what’s around the corner.  Maybe they know stuff that I don’t.  Apparently DARK MATTER  has a very loyal following.  But I, good people, am done.

If you know the Dark Matter comics, tell me — is there reason to hope? Should I give the show another chance?

Have you ever suffered torment from the character you were rooting for being killed off? (I’m looking at you SLEEPY HOLLOW fans.) Did you slog onward or just give up?  I’ve resorted to writing DARK MATTER fan fic as a way of detoxing.  Sigh.  It’s premised on my rogue clone idea…Maybe it’ll become its own thing one day.

Follow us at Lady Smut where we make the darkness matter.  And subscribe to our newsletter if you want fabulous free reads. ; >

Meanwhile, here’s something to pluck up your spirits — we ran a giveaway from Lux Aromatica last week, and to say thank you to our readers Lux made a coupon just for you.  2017-02-ladysmut-flash-sale

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

Sexy Saturday Round Up

21 Jan

1-ssruYou’re probably reading this on your phone while you’re surrounded by acres of women marching…Wait! You’re not? Okaaaaaay.  (See article below.)

Well while *some* of us at Lady Smut are toting clear back packs and shuffling along in D.C., we hope you’re settling back into a moment of calm this Saturday, and enjoying our links to all that a good, intelligent feminist would find total catnip. Here’s to our smexy, strange, and provocative SSRU — Cheers!

From Madeline:

On the other hand–If you like long walks on the beach, building walls along our boarders, and all things Russia, and you don’t believe in global warming — this is the dating site for you.

Quick choose yer fav kind of hero: The guy with the dog vs. Guy with the baby.

Baby it’s cold outside! From SBTB: Stuff you should be knitting.

da25a92762f5d89403e19258ea441eebGot your pussy hat for the march? That’s okay–you can still make yours afterwards. Here’s some helpful info from THE PUSSYHAT PROJECT.

Did you see Lexi’s latest robot sex post last week? Well, here are some tales of the future from The Sex Robot Conference 

Should you wear make-up to work, you dominating bitch, you?

From the front lines of sex addiction: Tindr and other online sites creating spike in STD’s and other sex intimacy problems

TV is turning to roles about strong, confident women over 20–so suck it misogyny!

From Ask Men: Everybody loves you when you’re bi – except when they don’t. 

From Elizabeth Shore:

What one artist thinks of the new president. Dirty underwear, anyone?

If you’ve missed out on getting your very own jade vaginal egg – we know we sure did! – here are some worthy alternatives.

The real kama sutra sex positions.

22 ways women feel insecure in the bedroom – and how to stop.

Vibrator smackdown! $1 vibrator versus a $400 one. Guess who’s the winner?

 

 

 

Turned on by wires & circuits? Intrigued by the opportunity to pre-program your experience? Robot fetish 101

13 Jan

By Isabelle Drake

Want to get busy with a techno man?  Interested in androids? Love the AMC show Humans?

If you are a Duran, Duran fan, or remember the old school video to Electric Barbarella, the sexy robot thing is nothing new to you.

Here’s something that might be new. Robot fetishism, considered part of technosexuality, is divided into two usually separate fantasies:

  • Sex with a person dressed in a robot costume, a person acting like a robot, or sex with pre-made sex android robot.
  • Sex with person who has been willingly or unwillingly transformed into a robot or being transformed into a robot oneself and subsequently having sex. The transformation is of key interest in this fantasy.

Both of these interests stem from the uncanniness of the android.

Ernst Jentsch, credited with being the first to identify the state of the uncanny in a 1906 essay, “On the Psychology of the Uncanny,” defines the state as a person’s “doubts whether an apparently animate being is really alive; or conversely, whether a lifeless object might be, in fact, animate.” He was quick to note that awareness and understanding of such a state is important to a fiction writer. “In telling a story one of the most successful devices for easily creating uncanny effects is to leave the reader in uncertainty whether a particular figure in the story is a human being or an automaton and to do it in such a way that his attention is not focused directly upon his uncertainty, so that he may not be led to go into the matter and clear it up immediately.”

In the show, Humans, Anita confesses her love for Ed the scene is both compelling and disturbing. According to Sigmund Freud the basis for this reaction in the uncanny.

In his essay, “The Uncanny” Freud expanded this concept of the uncanny state being linked to the relationship between the animate and the innate. Additionally, he examined concepts of human development in regard to maturation as having a key relationship to a person’s perception of what is uncanny. For example, in childhood humans enjoy repetition. This appreciation begins before the child is old enough to desire, or even understand, control. As the child matures, and begins to understand the advantage of control and thus desires it, the child takes less pleasure in repetition.

Therefore, continued, undesired, and uncontrollable repetition is disturbing because it represents a lack of control and thus regression and is therefore potentially alarming. Freud asserted that the state of the uncanny is linked to the subconscious in additional way. He stated that a person experiences something as uncanny because it reminds the individual of the conflict between their repressed desires, desires which the individual presumably struggles to control, and feared punishment for deviating from societal norms.

Tell us what you think in the comments. Are human-like robots sexy or scary? Want to get busy with an android?7818008_f260

And – follow us here at Lady Smut. We’re always here to inform, entertain, and keep you up to date.

Isabelle Drake writes erotica, erotic romance, urban fantasy, and young adult thrillers. She’s also working on her own sexy android erotica.

Sex Robot Anxiety: Alexa, Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?

10 Jan
I still think we'll all eventually have our own robot gunslingers. We just need to be very careful with them.

I still think we’ll all eventually have our own robot gunslingers. We just need to be very careful with them.

By Alexa Day

Am I obsessed with sex robots? I’m not sure obsessed is the right word. I prefer enthusiastic. I’m enthusiastic about sex robots.

And I really think we’re close to making sex robots a reality. I mean, we have most of the component parts out here right now.

For the first time, I’m a little worried about that.

Before I get to my concerns about the future, let’s have a quick look at where we are now.

Until recently, the reality of the sex robot was sufficient to dampen my enthusiasm (and not in a good way — heyo!). The real sex robots, predominantly women for male consumers, honestly didn’t look all that good. I don’t mean that they didn’t look hot. I mean that they didn’t look human. The average mannequin was a more attractive partner.

Sinthetics is changing the game. Elizabeth Shore wrote about them last month. They’re featured in a Vice Video, where the host Karley Sciortino commissions a sex doll named Gabriel with a sculpted body, blue eyes, and an erection that won’t quit until Karley wants it to. Gabriel was made by sex-positive people with a real eye for detail. You can see the veins in his arms. He has body hair. Thanks to Sinthetics, male sex dolls look pretty damned good.
(If you skipped the video last month, you missed out big time. Gabriel’s not shy about full frontal. Seriously.)

As hot as the modern male sex doll is, what separates him from the sex robot we’ve been talking about is a brain. We need him to understand what we’re saying, what we mean by what we’re saying, and what we might want later.
So where is our fabulous sex doll going to find a brain?

Ask Alexa. Not me. The other Alexa.

Amazon’s Echo Dot connects users to the Alexa Voice Service, a powerful artificial intelligence that recognizes and responds to a multitude of commands. Alexa knows your morning commute. She can read you the headlines. She’ll adjust the temperature in the living room. And the best part is that Alexa is learning as she goes. Amazon promises that the Echo Dot is adapting to its user’s “speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.” The more you ask of Alexa, the more she learns about you.

You don’t have to be terribly pervy to see the possibilities here (but it helps, I think). Alexa’s brain in Gabriel’s body seems like a fantastic idea, right? Aren’t you excited about the chance to educate your new friend?

Slow down, neighbors. Didn’t you read Frankenstein? That sounded like a fantastic idea at one point, too, but that snowball went downhill very, very quickly. We all have a lot to deal with right now, between smashing the patriarchy, protecting reproductive rights, maintaining our Netflix queues, and things of that nature. We won’t have time to chase a suddenly willful Gabriel all over creation, and we don’t know how quickly his hungry brain learns things. So we need to anticipate a couple of problems now.

We have an advantage over the Echo Dot in that we can move independently and it can’t. We could put the Dot into the underwear drawer if it starts getting a little ahead of itself. There’s a limit to how much it can do if it becomes disenchanted with its servile role in the household. Our robot friend isn’t going to be like that. I’m thinking about the Synths in the AMC show Humans. The Synths think independently enough to have secrets. It’s a big jump from following orders to keeping secrets, sure, but all a robot has to know in order to keep a secret is that knowing the truth will displease its owner. The sex robot’s job is to make you happy. How long do you think it would take our robot’s new brain to figure out that you would be better off not knowing the whole truth about something? It might start off innocently enough — one well executed surprise would teach our robot that withholding the truth sometimes pleases you. But once we’re not in complete control of disclosure, problems are going to arise.

The other problem is, well, people. Other people.

We aren’t out to take advantage of the sex robot, of course. To the extent a robot consents to sex, we’ll only be engaged in consensual activity. This is more about partner availability, the ability to have sex without having to make an effort to find an attractive partner whose presence we can tolerate. We are not awful people. We’re just about convenience and efficiency.

But awful people exist.

If you really want to be depressed by all of this, check out the brief documentary My Sex Robot. Along with all the rudimentary robots, you’ll find a host of men who will cheerfully tell you that the best part of having a sex robot is that she can’t say no. It’s kind of disturbing.

Is it possible to rape a sex robot? If it has a brain like the one we’re talking about, then I think the answer is yes. At the very least, the question invites discussion. Ideally, that discussion involves our new robot friend.

Damn. All I wanted was a robotic sex partner. Now that he sounds expensive and complicated, I might be forced to re-evaluate things.

And I will.

I promise.

Someday.

Are we moving too fast? Am I worrying about the wrong things? Let’s consider it in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. We’ll get you all the nicest stuff.

Why Do We Wanna Boink Smart Guys So Badly Anyway?

29 Sep
Smart, lean, uncomfortable, but trying. God, I love a geeky man.

Smart, lean, uncomfortable, but trying. God, I love a geeky man.

by Madeline Iva

People, I have long adored the sexy geek as an iconic romance hero.  Show me a fit, dorky guy with a great smile and glasses — and I’ll show you an obsessive crush.

This week we’re heralding Alexa Day’s re-release ILLICIT IMPULSE and OH! the memories when it first came out.

Waaaaaay back, Alexa and I went mano-y-mano against each other in an unpublished author’s contest with similar science-y erotic romance plots.  My book pitch went down in flames, while Alexa got a publication deal.  Glory with me now in my lost manuscript and Alexa’s triumph.  The two books had similar premises, yet while hers was publishable, mine was soooo wonderfully whack.

Good times! But back to the business at hand:

Why do we wanna boink smart guys so badly anyway?

Buy it, try it, lurv it. Click here.

Buy it, try it, lurv it. Click here.

You see a book you wanna buy (please do). I see 5 reasons below:

Is it just the glasses? I consider the question in F**k my brains out: why are smart guys so sexy?

Is it the Ph.D. maybe?  Yes Professor: Confessions of a Sophophiliac

Is it that he was on the most famous geek TV show EVER?My obsession with the impish, irritable charm of David Tennant

Is it his geek-i-tude obsessions? CRAZY SEXY GHOULISH.

Do we just wanna have smart babies? Or is it because the sexy geek is the antithesis of a male stripper? Talking with Lynne Silver ’bout why we love a good geek.

As for the rest of these links, if you’re a geek–or in love with one–you might want to canvass a few of these other geek-related topics.  Enjoy!

Sexy-Geeky-Goodness: 4 Great Geek Reads.

The whole Sex Bot Thing–seriously, don’t get me and Alexa started.  #WeWantMaleSexBotsNow

Here’s a review of a book about a movie geek who encounters a movie star.

Heck! Who am I kidding? I *am* a movie geek.  What is this movie geek freaking out about? The same thing every other SFF movie geek is freaking out about–the ridiculously hot new Aquaman.

Finally, a little discussion from a while back (God, it seems like we’ve gone full circle since then) about some great interracial romance recommendations, including some awesome geeky paranormal IR: They’re Hot, They’re Naked and They’re Two Different Colors

So follow us at Lady Smut and hug a geek near you–Cheers!

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ involves a biology geek, and is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE. Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek, is available for pre-order Oct 1st and releases November 1st.

What Do Robot Women Want?

6 Nov

by G.G. Andrew

I just finished the final volume of the comic Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, which is a futuristic love story between a human man and a female android. Since I started reading this fantastic comic, I’ve thought a lot about romances between robots and humans–specifically when comparing Alex + Ada to the movie Ex Machina which came out last year and also features a female robot/male human pairing.

Drones aside, we’re not in a world of widespread advanced artificial intelligence. At least, I’m 86% sure none of my neighbors have robots. They’re certainly not having sex with any sentient ones, even if maybe they really want to. But in the world of Alex + Ada and Ex Machina, androids can talk and walk among us, wear cardigans, and kiss. They can be aware–and in each of these stories, female robots have a man interested in them, who sees beyond their machinery and wants them, body and mind.

But the question is, Do the robot women want them?

Tales of artificial intelligence are fascinating because they make us wonder what it means to be a person, not to mention the gifts and dangers of man creating life.

With stories of female robots, there’s an additional layer of meaning. I don’t have to remind anyone here that, historically, women have often been treated like robots to men: considered property, denied rights, asked to serve without question. These stories remind us of that reality along with the taboo-but-tantalizing idea of robot/human pairing.

Alex + Ada and Ex Machina present different worlds. In Alex + Ada, artificial intelligence is widespread, along with laws to govern its use, while in Ex Machina, this technology is still in its adolescence, with one man who has started to create androids in his isolated lab. But in both, there’s a female robot who becomes sentient while still trapped under oppression–caged or carted in a box, and in one case containing an on/off switch to be controlled by her owner.

They each present a small example of what it would mean to suddenly move from being confined to free as a woman–and what that would mean for how you felt about human relationships, love, and sex.

Both Ada and Ava in the film (played by Alicia Vikander) seem to fall for similar male types: kind, sensitive guys who treat them with respect. These guys, Alex in the comic and Caleb in Ex Machina (Domhnall Gleeson), are shown in stark contrast to other hypermasculine bro-dudes in their world. Alex’s neighbor tries to discuss having sex with androids with him like he’s comparing notes on the big football game. Nathan (Oscar Isaac), Ava’s creator, is the polar opposite of the sweet programmer Caleb she befriends–brilliant but an overly aggressive, bearded and often shirtless drunk–almost more ape than man at times.

So maybe that’s the first thing robot women want: caring guys who will respect them. Who won’t just see them as things. And both guys do find themselves surprised to develop feelings for the female androids and eventually a desire to emancipate them…and more.

But is it enough?

It’s curious to think, as non-robot women, what choice we’d make in these situations. If you were treated as a thing, as property, and you suddenly gained a taste of freedom, would you want to be in a human man’s arms? Would you run from his touch or crave it? Would you enter into a relationship with someone who used to own you, or used to observe you on a monitor? And what would that relationship even look like?

As a gender flip, in the comic Alex’s grandmother has her own android, Daniel, whom she beds enthusiastically. A hilarious and sexual older woman, she’s a great character…although the question is raised as to whether Daniel would stay if he was allowed to be sentient.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to share spoilers to either of these stories. Let’s just say Ada and Ava take different paths, at varying times, answering the questions their characters raise. When they’re both given freedom, they make their own choices. What they do makes us think not only what it means to be a person, but a woman.

Because the choice between love and freedom, passion and oppression, independence and closeness? That’s a question females have struggled with for centuries, robot women or not.

Follow us here at Lady Smut for more on sex, robots, awesome reads, and women–maybe but not necessarily in that order!

Fatal Error: A Ban on Robot Sex? Already?

22 Sep
Shouldn't we be more concerned that Roy is going to hurt *my* feelings?

Shouldn’t we be more concerned that Roy is going to hurt *my* feelings?

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.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Sex Bot…or Not?

7 May
I'm just a poor girl, nobody loves me.

I’m just a poor girl, nobody loves me.

by Madeline Iva

There’s a new movie in town, my vaginas, and it’s called EX MACHINA.

Alexa Day asked if you’d have sex with a robot.  Sure! Who wouldn’t?

But there’s robots and then there’s sex bots.  Robots do robot-y things.  Sex bots are enticing.  They represent the forbidden.   Stepping away from humanity in order to get sexual gratification from a machine is a big no-no, a boundary that must be crossed to get it on.

They are the ultimate in objectification, and point towards a whole other kind of Turing/personhood test.  If you can have sex with something in a way that closely approximates human sex, then it’s probably a person, right? Even if it’s got gears and computer chips and syncro-mesh whatever.

But the idea of a sex bot is that it serves a purpose, i.e. to get you off.  There’s something wildly sexy in that premise to most people. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.  You’re not exploiting another human for sex, yet you’re still having your way with somebody without regard for what she/it wants.  It’s geek-prostitution.

The thing is though–after we’ve done METROPOLIS, THE STEPFORD WIVES, BLADE RUNNER, AI, etc, etc, etc…and then the “Siri” based Spike Jonz movie HER–and now EX MACHINA, one has to stop wondering how great it would be to have sex with a robot and start wondering why sci-fi writers/directors want to stop having sex with real women?

bladerunnerI was wondering what’s up with this whole no-interesting-women-in-the-future-unless-they’re-robots theme when I stumbled upon this guy Nate Zoebl on Rotten Tomatoes who was on the same page.  He says, “What is it about android women that science fiction seems to love so much? From Blade Runner to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the genre loves the concept of robotic women. Perhaps this is merely a byproduct of a genre written by a majority of men, or perhaps it taps into something more unconscious about the desire to control women, or a fear of women, but that’s a conversation for another day.”

I think not, Nate.  I think we should have that conversation right now.

Okay, here’s one reason to cut some slack for guys who come up with these movies: the evolution of technology.  We now date via computers, we hook up via phone aps, we have sex via porn — certainly there’s more and more of a disconnect between us when it comes to face to face/no technology human time. And isn’t that exactly what sex is–face to face no tech human being time?

With the creation of so many sex bot movies, are men desiring to control women/express their fear of women, or are they gradually being groomed to mistrust human touch overall?

This would be like saying that humans in today’s world are eating high-tech food that’s so highly processed with high concentrations of salt, sugar, and fat, that eventually a plain carrot would be repellant…hey! That *is* actually happening.gigolo-joe-and-gigolo-jane-in-spielbergs-a-i-artificial-intelligence

Okay, another argument — perhaps is this NOT about women at all, but about overcoming innate human hostility to technology–with technology being represented as little gals in wee tiny silver clothing (or even no clothing at all.)  This theory goes: If you f*** it, you won’t fear it–as much.

Well, I don’t buy it.  I think it’s all about sex-fetishism, it’s about forbidden indulgence, and you can lace it up in a big corset full of paranoia, but we’re pretty much in the same neighborhood as putting Princess Leia in a skinny bronze bikini and chaining her up to a giant fat slug.  It’s titillating.

Meanwhile: where are all the guy sex-bots?

I mean, look at the ALIENS franchise.  They had robots.  Yet they were always creepy/scary men.  No love interest in sight.  (I mean robotic love interest–you know I’ll always have a special place for you in my heart, Hicks.)  One day I’ll post my conspiracy theory about Aliens and the evolution of cyborgs within the franchise, because I think they could have gone somewhere with this, but chose not to.

Look, it's Michael Fassbinder with a kitten! (Warning, this cute image is not in the drecky movie.)

Look, it’s Michael Fassbinder with a kitten! (Warning, this cute image is not in the drecky movie.)

Finally, along comes PROMETHEUS. By now, the cyborg is the bad guy in the Alien franchise–it’s tradition.  Unless they flip him into a self-sacrificial saint (Aliens).

Yet with PROMETHEUS I thought, ‘okay, now we’re getting somewhere,” because:

a) They cast Michael Fassbinder as David, an 8th generation cyborg, who can understand human emotions, but cannot apparently feel them.

and

b) They gave him a sense of macabre humor…

Alas, the movie sucked to the point of incoherence, much less providing any scraps of romance or male sex-bot-ism for anyone to slather over. Sigh. There’s a sequel, and Michael Fassbinder is in it, but don’t get your hopes up.

Male sex-bot-ism representations are so very, very few.  Gigolo, from A.I. was a ‘pleasure model’ played by Jude Law. Does he have sex with women in the movie? Who cares?–that’s not the point of the movie and his role in it.  ARG! No titillation anywhere!

The other example of a male sex-bot is from a horrifically cheese television show called CLEOPATRA 2525–a stripper becomes a popsicle after her boob job goes awry. (Are you feeling the cheap titillation yet? I thought so.) She gets thawed in the future only to find everyone living underground while robots control the surface.

In the midst of this cheesy-cheese-fest, there’s a robot good guy named Mauser.  He’s put to work in the lab when he’s not fighting with the women warriors.  Since he’s the only man-meat around, one of the soldiers–a woman named ‘Sarge’ grabs him for the occasional illicit boink.  Go Sarge!  Sarge, in my opinion, is one smart cookie, figuring out a third way to keep Mauser occupied — with some pure unrepentant sex-bot-ism!

Sarge & Mauser -- my ideal couple of the future.

Where’s your sex bot? Sarge & Mauser — my ideal couple of the future.

Nate Zoebl in his Rotten Tomatoes write up says something about writer/director Garland’s ability “to work his Kubrick fetish fully to its eerie erotic ends.”  For the record, I happily applaud any and all Kubrick-ian fetishes worked to their eerie erotic ends–I just want more male sex bots involved.  Is that too much to ask?

Okay, peeps, you know what you gotta do.  Get out there and write scripts with male sex bots.  Write novels about men sex bots that will get turned into scripts–do whatever it takes to create the hunk-bots we so ardently crave.  And follow LadySmut, where we’ll work your pleasure crank 24/7. 🙂

One writer who put a fun twist on this whole motif was Geneva DeCroix — check out her erotica short story “The Dealership” here.

 

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