UBC prof: the sex robots are coming to save your marriage. No, really
With the rapid evolution of technology, it seems every day something new is stepping from the pages of science fiction into everyday life.
Sex robots could very well be making that leap soon.
While the idea of physical intimacy with a machine will no doubt be uncomfortable to some and repellent to others, there are those who argue the introduction of sex robots into our lives could be an agent for positive change.
Among those proponents is Marina Adshade, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics professor, who argues bringing robots into the bedroom could be the best thing that ever happened to your marriage.
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Adshade has penned a chapter in the new book Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications, and says introducing sex robots into a marriage wouldn’t necessarily be about replacing a spouse.
Rather than substitutes for human companionship, she argues they could work to complement it.
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“Just because we might enjoy the company of robots doesn’t mean that we cannot also enjoy the company of humans, or that having robots won’t enhance our relationships with humans,” she said in a UBC media release.
“I see them as very different things— just as one woman (or one man) is not a perfect substitute for another woman (or man).”
In fact, she argues, de-linking sex and marriage could actually work instead to take pressure off modern relationships.
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“I predict [sex robots’] availability will give couples greater opportunity to define their own types of marriages,” she said.
“One example might be that more couples could choose ‘companionship marriages’ that do not involve sex, but focus solely on the creation of a family.”
Adshade argues that the very definition of a marriage has change radically in the past half century.
Where the role of a man was once to bring home an income while a wife was expected to raise a family, she says expectations and responsibilities within a marriage have proliferated.
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Now a marriage includes lasting sexual compatibility, intense romance and the expectation of quality co-parenting — a full plate for both partners in a marriage, she argues.
“Sex robots, I think, will help move us away from thinking that we need to get everything from one person and allow us to focus on other qualities in a marriage partner, free of the requirement of sexual compatibility.”
Even if sex robots aren’t widely adopted by society, they provide a valuable way to open the conversation around what marriage is and how it will evolve as society and technology advances, Adshade added.
Either way, it will likely be some time yet before sex robots could become common household tech.
While some are advanced enough to perform multiple sex acts and respond to verbal and physical stimulus, they remain both controversial and expensive — retailing for between $5,000 and $15,000.
Adshade will be reading from her chapter in the book at the UBC bookstore on Wednesday.
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