Sex robots are being promoted in a big way due to their purported health benefits. Some claims made include providing a “safe outlet” for paedophiles for their sexual desires and some state their benefits in terms of eliminating prostitution. Now researchers state this may be an overstatement and there may not be any true benefits with these robots.
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At present thousands of dollars are being spent on anthropomorphic dolls that have several orifices and modifiable physical features that can provide sexual pleasure. Most of these female forms have large and modifiable breasts, small waists and impossible to achieve features. Some of these can move and talk and some come with artificial intelligence, lubrication facilities and other features.
Susan Bewley, professor of women’s health at Kings College London and co-author of the new research says that there are several health claims that are made and none of these are supported by any evidence. Bewley says that this new study just urges researchers to not make false claims but study it more deeply to understand if there are any real benefits and study it appropriately and properly before making such claims.
This is one of the several studies that sex robots and their utility. A report last year from the Foundation for Responsible Robotics spoke about the harms it could be doing including the mention of sex-doll brothels in Asia and similar issues.
In this new study that was published in the latest issue of the BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, Bewly and her colleague Dr Chantal Cox-George looked at studies and journals to see if there were any conclusive evidence showing the health benefits of these sex robots. Claims were made that these could provide companionship to lonely and marginalized individuals and also help treat sexual offenders and paedophiles. None of the claims were substantiated though say the authors of the study. They note that these could create rifts among partners and lack of human emotions from the robots could give rise to more problems in the future. They write, “While a human may genuinely desire a sexbot, reciprocation can only be artificially mimicked.”
Bewley said that there are companies that produce childlike dolls for paedophiles. She said that it could normalize the acts of sexual assault in children and women and make them more vulnerable. It could also set unnaturally high standards of physical appearance that could be detrimental to women and teenage girls they add. Since these robots allow sex without consent they could also increase the culture of rape.
The article concludes, “There is a social responsibility to protect the public from harm, unless findings emerge to show no harm.”