Scientists want ‘robust research’ into sex with robots, as they find ‘no evidence’ it’s healthy
The emerging sex-robot industry may actually do more harm than good if the machines are used in the “treatment” of various sex-related issues, according to a report that was published on Monday.
“The medical profession needs to be prepared for inevitable questions about the impact of sex robots on health,” warned the report in the BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health magazine.
Currently, the main argument for the machines is the so-called “harm limitation” principle, meaning that people suffering from (or enjoying) perversions, might divert their potentially criminal inclinations away from living people and towards sex robots. Opponents, however, claim that the availability of the life-like sex machines might actually promote “the pervasive idea that living women too are sex objects that should be constantly available,” the report reads.
Neither arguments for or against the sex robots, however, are based on any real research; and no “primary data relating to health aspects of the use of sex robots” has been produced, the study says.
While claims that the sex bots “might provide ‘companionship’ for the lonely, mentally and physically disabled, the elderly” have yet to be proven, such a phenomenon has the potential to change what “companionship” means. It could also damage the ability of people to socialize. In addition, it is unclear whether endeavors with bots would satisfy the “intimacy need,” or merely further distress people who are already anxious.
Further claims that robots would promote safer sex are also still unproven. Hypothetical red-light districts, where living prostitutes are replaced with bots “made of bacteria-resistant fiber, flushed for human fluids after use,” are still a concept of the future.
In the meantime, sex robots are already available for purchase or lease, and aspects of their usage are still based on shaky legal grounds, the report warns. It also remains unclear whether widespread use of the objects would improve or actually worsen the conditions for the human sex workers.
The idea that sex robots might help in the “treatment” of violent sex offenders, pedophiles and other perverts also remains controversial. While the researchers have not yet reached a consensus on the effects of such a well-established industry as pornography, the new sex bots field is even less-well explored, the study warns. Companies that produce regular and “child-like” sex dolls argue that their products help perverse individuals to “redirect dark desires,” but there’s no scientific data on the matter.
Given “the lack of evidence of effective treatments of sexual offenders against children, we would strongly caution against the use of pedobots as putative ‘treatment’ unless as part of robust, scientifically and ethically acceptable research trials,” the report reads.
While the quest to identify the health benefits of robot sex effectively yielded no conclusive results, the researchers warned against their usage in clinics. “Currently, the ‘precautionary principle’ should reject the clinical use of sex bots until their postulated benefits, namely ‘harm limitation’ and ‘therapy,’ have been tested empirically,” the study concludes.
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