Frequently Asked Questions: What do feminists think about lifelike “sex dolls”?
What do feminists think about lifelike “sex dolls”?
I don’t think much about them at all, frankly.
Many of the arguments I have heard advanced against ‘sex dolls’ or ‘sex bots’ is similar to the arguments against pornography, particularly violent or ‘kinky’ pornography. That experiencing such a thing will diminish men’s respect for real women, leading to an uptick in sexual violence and a cheapening of relationships.
In real life, there’s been no legitimate academic research that I’m aware of showing that pornography does anything of the kind. Now, I’m deliberately leaving the influence on children out of this. Children are still learning and developing their ideas of human relationships, and can be influenced in ways that adults aren’t nearly as susceptible to. I’m talking about adults.
Adults don’t suddenly decide that rape is OK just because they read some rape fantasies on the internet.
Adults aren’t going to suddenly decide that women are worthless as human beings because they get to have sex with a doll or robot instead.
Most adult human beings want more out of their relationship with another person than sex. If that weren’t the case, none of us would have friends, we’d just have sex partners. I don’t think that the presence of sex dolls/robots is likely to change our desire to have real human relationships with real people. Even if some people decide that the sex they have with their robot is better than the sex they can have with a person, and so don’t have sex with people… I’m honestly not clear on who that would actually hurt. The search for sex, and sexual variety, causes just as many problems, if not more, than it solves. How many people, after all, have had the same best friend for their entire adult life, but ten or twelve or twenty different girlfriends/boyfriends/significant others/sex partners in that time?
If we aren’t so hung up on sex, maybe more of the planet would get over the belief that men and women can’t be friends without having sex. It’s a silly belief that it’s more than time for us to put aside.
We’re not going to die out as a species. There are plenty of ways to procreate that don’t involve having unprotected sex with a human of the opposite sex. And they’re getting easier and cheaper and more reliable all the time.
The situation might change if we make the shift from “sex dolls” and “sex robots” to true androids with the capability of responding in a human way. At that point, we get into the realm of speculative science-fiction a la Blade Runner and Asimov’s work and even Star Trek: TNG, where the question truly becomes “what makes us human”? But that goes well beyond the scope of this posed question.