Will we all be replacing our human partners for machines, that can not only stimulate our sexual needs and help us reach orgasm, but also teach us how to improve our skills in the bedroom? Science fiction? Hardly. Welcome to a future that is just around the corner.

Have steamy dreams about Terminator? Feel the blood rushing to your privates when you think of C3PO? Chances are you can count yourself as one of the people in this world who are hot for robots. Technosexuals, also known as ASFRians (where ASFR stands for alt.sex.fetish.robots) are sexually attracted to robots, where the term "robot" can refer to both machine-like devices as well as androids (robots made to resemble humans), or, as Robotdoll of www.asfr.com, a website dedicated to ASFRians, described it: "the concept of sex with or sexual attraction to robots and robot-like beings. This can range from metallic, non-humanoid machines to humanoid androids."

Photo: ManuelSagra (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Gynoid by Hajime Sorayama

With definitions out of the way, is robot sex the future? Will we all be replacing our human partners with a machine? Maybe and maybe not, but it's far from being a new concept. Almost 30 years ago, Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama published his work Sexy Robot, which gained international attention and quickly became popular amongst technosexuals. Dating even further back, German couple Fritz and Thea Lang wrote and directed the movie Metropolis, whose female heroine Maria was a robot, and doing a quick online search on "sexy robots", it quickly becomes evident that Maria the robot places herself on many top ten lists on the web. And this movie came out in 1927. So, hot robots are not a new thing. But robot fetishism does not necessarily end there, as it can stretch further than just finding a fembot "hot", to wanting - and sometimes actually having - sex with one. So what is it that is so sexual, and, how would one go about de facto having intercourse with a robot?

As with everything else, there is naturally a spectrum of people who like different things, but to give a rough idea of what turns a technosexual on, WinterRose mentions six areas: start-up and shut-down, the voice of a robot, its mental state, motion and immobility, its malfunction and appearance. So the attraction can stem from numerous places, just like one might find oneself attracted to, for example, the physique, intelligence, humour or beauty of a man or woman. 


The story of robot sex doesn't end here, with technosexuals and ASFR and finding robots attractive. In fact, it is not an alien idea that within a few decades, robots might be married to humans, at least if you ask David Levy, author of Robots Unlimited: Life in a Virtual age and Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships. In his work, he elaborates on the idea that by 2050, not only will sex be common, but fully-fledged relationships - marriages, even - between humans and robots will be a reality.

"Yes - I most definitely believe that sexbots will be able to extend the human experience of sexuality... Robots could teach us and help us practise."
Photo: Johnson Cameraface (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Fancy a robotic threesome?

In an About.com interview, Levy says: "Yes - I most definitely believe that sexbots will be able to extend the human experience of sexuality." Drawing on his knowledge of how computer programmes work, Levy says "If such a program were to be developed, incorporating all the knowledge contained in all of the world's sex manuals, and with some basic knowledge of human anatomy, the result could be a plethora of new ideas for lovemaking, new sexual positions, that robots could teach us and help us practice if we wish." So robots would not simply be advanced, sci-fi versions of the vibrators and other sex toys that are available today, but, according to Levy, could actually teach us a thing or two about the art of love-making. If Levy is right, and that does turn out to be true and computers teach people how to have better sex, would the world be a better place? Levy argues that it would. He believes that there are socially marginalised people who have a hard time finding someone to love and who loves them back, difficulties getting their need for sex, love - and even companionship, tended to, and that "in many ways robots represent a very good way out of this problem, just as the Japanese and American governments are now looking at the possibility of using robots as carers for the elderly. I firmly believe that in time robots will not only become carers, sensitive to the emotional and practical needs of the elderly, but that they will also become our friends if we want them to, and our companions, lovers and marriage partners."

Ok. So sex, love and potentially even marriage with a robot. Let's scrutinise the first of these further: how exactly would sex with a robot work?

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