There are lots of fascinating ethical questions surrounding the production of humanoid sex robots, not least the question of what kind of consent you’d need from someone in order to use their voice, face, or body when you produce a silicone replicant. But I want to state it here and now that I’d love to live on as a sex robot.
A while ago, I tried to respond to a company that was sourcing voices for its sex robots. It wanted humans to read out a selection of phrases, then it would allow customers to download different voices so their robotic companion would sound exactly how they liked. Sadly nothing came of it, so I’m simply left dreaming about possibilities: what would it be like to have part of you live on, far away from your human body, having sexual adventures your real-life self could only dream of?
Perhaps my voice would sit on a server somewhere, silent for years until a customer picked it. Just one person among many thousands, who thinks mine is the ‘one’. Perhaps it would never get chosen, but far into the future when I’m dead, an ex-lover of mine goes to find it and downloads it for nostalgia’s sake.
Maybe he’d lie weeping on the bed, holding a stiff-limbed robotic almost-me in his arms, and pondering on the ethics of actually fucking it.
More likely, someone would find and download the voice who had never met me. Never known me at all. They just picked the voice because it sounded alright and it was on sale in the digital marketplace. This stranger would speak to the robot, hear my voice respond with seduction, and fuck eagerly away at this brand new toy.
Creepy, perhaps, to some of you. After all, what if this stranger wanted to do things to the robot body that I’d never let anyone do to mine? What if he wanted to share it with others, or sell it on, or leave it in the garden in the rain? That doesn’t bother me. He could dress it in tweed and sit it on a park bench until the damn thing rotted, for all I care. It’s not me, after all: just a vessel with a tiny drop of me inside it, and more than a few drops of him.
Or her, of course. Or they. There’s no predicting who would buy this robot, and that’s part of the fun. Not just imagining the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ but the ‘why’.
I could place a digital message in a bottle, and never quite know where that bottle ended up. If it was used for fun or comfort or good or evil. Just my voice, and someone else’s fantasies, merged together to create something new.
I like the idea that my voice could be used to comfort someone lonely, or lift up someone who was sad. We talk, after all, about the value of robotics in therapy and care – humans bond with even the simplest robots, and that bond can help them get through difficult times. So why would the same not be true of a sex robot? Why could phrases like ‘that’s hot’ and ‘do it to me’ and ‘I love the way your hands feel when you wrap them round my waist’ not be recorded alongside others?
‘Take care of yourself.’
‘Go call your best friend.’
When I tell you this it sounds worthy and important, but I’d be lying if I said that was the only reason why. I want to live on as a sex robot so that even when I am dead or far away or unknown to this total stranger, I can whisper in their ear that they’re hot and they’re perfect and they make me thud with pleasure when I can feel them start to come. Because somewhere in my heart there’s a need to not just be remembered or immortalised but wanked over.
It’s not a lofty aspiration, it’s a grubby fantasy. It’s the same grubby fantasy that drove me to start a sex blog, and that still drives me to create audio porn and text people fantasies and have nudge-nudge wink-wink conversations as I flirt with someone in the pub.
And when people talk about sex robots, so often they forget that what is horrible for them might be hot for someone else. Today I spotted yet another ‘eww gross sex robots‘ article in the Guardian, which (yet again) referred to the people who like them as ‘sad’, and describing scenes in a sex robot production facility like it were a cross between a toy factory and an abbatoir:
“This is, it’s fair to say, not your average dystopian future doc: it’s less an AI-style vision of evil robot hordes than a fascinating if dispiriting glimpse of what can happen when dysfunctional men are left to their own devices. Still, there are scenes here that are the stuff of nightmares: from the headless plastic bodies – each large of breast and tiny of waist – that dangle helplessly from the Realbotix walls, to chief engineer Susan reaching roughly inside a doll to remove an eight-inch vaginal insert, prompting women everywhere to cross their legs in agony.”
It prompts me to wonder: how does the author think anything is made? Please don’t ever show her a Barbie doll factory, or teddy-bear plant before the cute little furballs have been stuffed. Sometimes there are political reasons to argue against sex robots, or thoughtful critiques of the way the industry is going. But too often there is just a ‘yuck’ of discomfort that people are enjoying something you couldn’t possibly imagine enjoying yourself.
But wherever there’s a ‘yuk’, there’s usually a corresponding ‘yum’ – someone who will not just tolerate but actively seek out the things you personally find gross or unsexy.
Sex robots aren’t for everyone, but they are for people like me. I wouldn’t necessarily want a sex robot of my own (although hit me up in 2025 when they can move a little better and tell a passably decent joke), but I am fascinated by some of the sexual situations sex robots can inspire. Scratch that. Not fascinated – aroused. Actively aroused. Turned on. Like I say: for every ‘yuk’ there is a ‘yum’, and this one is mine. The idea that my voice could live on in a mechanical body that gets fucked by a series of strangers? Yeah, that’s hot.
And it comes from the same place, I suspect, that my writing comes from. That horny, oversharing drunk girl in the pub who wants to flirt and whisper and fantasise with you, then go home wondering if those stories have been banked for later use. Do you want to fantasise about this? Will you touch yourself eagerly while you read or listen to the things that have come from my head? Something that started as a spark in my brain has caused orgasmic, physical pleasure in your body… then ended in a soggy tissue by the side of your computer.
That’s my ‘yum’. Now and likely forever.
And that’s why sex robots are part of my fantasy. Not just in a nerdily-excited-about-tech way, or an objective-journalist-tracking-sex-trends way: in a hot, wet, I-will-masturbate-to-the-thought-of-this way. To be the plaything of a stranger, and the fodder for somebody’s wank.
If we create objects to fulfil sexual fantasies, it shouldn’t surprise us that some people will inevitably want to be part of those fantasies, and therefore part of those objects. Not just in a sentimental way – knowing our voices will comfort the lonely or give advice to those who are sad. But in a sexual way too: to live on as the voice or face or body of a stranger’s robotic fuck.
Yuck it all you like, but sign me up.