Everyone has their own opinions on sex robots, but I bet you’ve never thought about this aspect of them. Could they actually benefit relationships in general?
Dr. Marina Adshade from the University of British Columbia has been speaking out a lot recently about how sex robots could potentially become a very important part of living the married life. You might end up somewhere in the future finding them to be as common as your average household appliances. No, I’m not joking.
Adshade wrote an article on Slate that really puts things into perspective and shows a more positive side to these sex robots. She wrote that in the sex-oriented society we live in they could strengthen marriages and cut down on cheating. While she says it will disentangle the association between sexual intimacy and marriage it will lead to higher quality marriages as a whole.
Those who fear that sexbot technology will have a negative impact on marriage rates see sexbot technology as a substitute to sexual access in marriage. If they are correct, a decrease in the price of sexual access outside of marriage will decrease the demand for sexual access in marriage, and marriage rates will fall. It could just as easily be argued, however, that within marriage sexual access and household production are complements in consumption—in other words, goods or services that are often consumed together, like tea and sugar, or cellular data and phone apps. If that is the case, then, consumer theory predicts that easy access to sexbot technology will actually increase the rate of lifetime marriage, since a fall in the price of a good increases the demand for complements in consumption, just as a fall in the price of cellular data would likely increase demand for phone streaming services. Moreover, if sexual access through sexbot technology is a complement to household production, then we could observe an increase in the quality of marriages and, as a result, a reduction in rates of divorce.
There is an economic principle—named after French chemist Henry Louis Le Châtelier—that says that whenever a constraint on individual decision-making is removed, the outcome of that decision can be no worse than the outcome that would have existed with that constraint imposed. The need to find someone with whom you are mutually sexually compatible necessarily imposes a constraint on the decision of whom to marry. Removing that constraint on the choice of a marital partner cannot, by Le Châtelier’s principle, lead to marriages of lower quality, but it could very well make marriages that are of a higher quality.
Access to sexbot technology will not change the biological imperative of individuals to want to share their lives, and raise their children, with another human being. But it would make it possible for individuals to choose that human being based on characteristics other than mutual sexual desire—to disentangle the association of sexual intimacy and life as a family. For example, it is not hard to imagine two heterosexual women seeing the value in forming a household and raising children together as a married couple, but with their needs for sexual companionship met by sexbot technology. Nor is it hard to imagine a homosexual man seeing the value in forming a household and raising children with a woman since that arrangement could significantly reduce expenses associated with reproductive technologies. By disentangling the association between sexual intimacy and marriage, marriage may not end up as what we imagine it to be today. But that new form of marriage would be a socially optimal arrangement in the sense that it would encourage efficient household formation and, as a result, lead to marriages that are more likely to stand the test of time.
And once we disentangle the association between sexual intimacy and marriage, it is not hard to imagine the removal of barriers that currently prevent married individuals from forming arrangements in which one, or both, seek sexual gratification with other, nonrobotic, individuals outside of their marriage.
She believes that it could be very possible that access to sexbot technology will encourage the creation of more marriages without people being forced to find someone they are sexually compatible with or someone willing to try all their new tricks with. It would shift the focus to elsewhere. Sure, some marriages would continue to be sexually monogamous but as time evolves this would become a very normal addition to most households. Being able to get that sexual gratification outside of their partner could really make a difference as odd as it may sound to some.
With that being said, it does seem that the lines of nonmonogamy would become quite blurred in this aspect. What do you think? Could sex robots benefit the married couple or would it cause more problems than they would be worth? I for one am on the fence.