No matter how advanced technology is, we have to know how to take care of ourselves, even from machines like sex robots.
Since technology has basically taken over our everyday life, it’s no surprise that it’s also changing how we experience sexuality. We’ve seen it in new innovative sex toys that make use of the latest advances to help us explore our desires. For instance, nowadays it's possible to have sex with your partner who is miles and miles away through gadgets and apps controlled from one spot to the other. How amazing is that? So, every time there’s a new gadget or any improvement to an existing sex technology, there seems to be a growing interest in the possibility of having access to sex robots and how this could change our human relationships for good.
A great example of this is definitely the evolution of the sex doll. Not only have they become more real, but also their popularity has risen in the past years. According to an article in Independent, there has been a huge increase in the number of men (especially) over fifty who resort to these dolls on a daily basis to fulfill their sexual needs. Not so long ago, the Internet went crazy over the news of a new brothel in Barcelona that only features sex dolls, and soon that new business model was replicated in different cities throughout the world.
Now, this apparently new craze over sex dolls has actually pushed way more boundaries that we could ever think of. In their paper “Robots, Men, and Sex Tourism” futurologist Ian Yeoman and sexologist Michelle Mars claim that we’re quite close to a fully developed sex robot with different settings that will make the sexual experience as realistic as possible. For instance, they’re foreseeing adaptable vaginas that will be able to get moist and even contract when reaching the orgasm. So, if the technology is so close to replicating a sexual experience, are we, in fact, in equal risk of getting an STI?
Somehow, we’ve come to believe that we’re only at risk of getting any STI when having intercourse with other people. Well, that’s not really true. You can also get infected by using shared sex toys that haven’t been properly cleaned after being used. In reality we shouldn't be that surprised at how many people don’t clean their toys, making them a hazard, not only for STIs but any other infection. So, while I was doing some research for this article, I came across very interesting facts that we don’t really get to think about and that we should be all aware of.
Most sex toys and dolls are made from the same materials: latex, silicone, some special plastics, and so on. Well, it turns out that the safest materials are nonporous (pure silicone, stainless steel, glass, ceramic, and medical plastic) because they keep everything on the surface. Contrary to these, porous materials (like jelly, latex, vinyl, rubber) are the most common ones, since they provide a more realistic sensation. However, viruses and bacteria can get into the pores of these artifacts, which increases their biological life, making of that artifact quite a dangerous thing. Moreover, porous materials are harder to clean, so your regular cleaning routine wouldn’t work that well.
If you think about it, some of the most advanced sexual toys, and the ones that are taking us way too closer to highly technological sex robots, are basically made from these materials, at least in a superficial level. It doesn't matter if they’re able to contract their muscles to recreate the same movements of our body; we’re still at risk of getting an STI, especially if it’s a toy that’s been used by many. I can't help but think about these brothels. If they don’t find better ways to prevent contagion, users will still have to use protection, no matter whom or what they’re having sex with.
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Photos from Ex Machina (2015)