Sexbots are coming and experts say the results won’t be good

“Sexbots” are coming. They're supposed to fill in the gap for the career focused, help undermine sex trafficking and abuse, and even curb STI rates, but are these claims true?

Sex robot manufacturing plant.
Sex robot manufacturing plant. Image credit: Getty Images.

Healthy sex is good for the body and our psychology, too. It boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, and eases stress and anxiety, giving us an overwhelming sense of well-being. In today’s hectic world, it can be hard to find a suitable partner. This is truer for millennials. A 2016 study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, finds a surprising fact about the latest adult generation: they’re having less sex than the two previous ones, baby boomers and Gen Xers.


The reasons are manifold. Mostly, it’s that millennials are highly driven and focused on building their careers. They seek social recognition. Questions surrounding consent have also made the dating landscape more difficult to traverse. Lastly, widespread use of antidepressants may be decreasing millennial libidos. This generation dates in a different way, too. They are more likely to turn to a Tinder-like experience, for fear of getting tied into something that’s hard to get out of. They don’t want to “catch the feels.” But they forget that intimacy is a core human need.  

Purveyors of sex robots say, they can help people have safe sex and remove the thorny issue of consent, while at the same time, lessening exploitation and sex trafficking, decreasing instances of predatory behavior, and perhaps even curbing the spread of STI’s. Could sexbots be the answer to all of this, and millennial dating woes, too? A new British study gives us a hard no. In fact, pervasive sex robot use will probably make things worse, they find. Rather than giving us a healthy outlet with no downside, sexbots might actually increase instances of malicious sexual behavior.

Consistently using a sexbot might make it difficult for some to carry on a romantic relationship with an actual human. Image credit: Getty Images.

Virtual reality coupled with porn and many other, device-driven toys coming down the pike. Market watchers predict sex tech will quickly grow into a $30 billion industry. Four companies today sell adult, female sexbots, each costing anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000. Male sexbots are soon to follow. Sickeningly, one company even puts out “paedobots,” or child-like models. The idea is that pedophiles can enact their sick fantasies on them, instead of real victims.

Today, a sexbot is little more than an advanced real doll. Some can carry on simple conversations, but no one would mistake it for a real person. Experts say, they won’t remain this way for long. The Dickian days are coming, where A.I. and robotics are so advanced, it’ll be hard to tell who’s human and who isn’t.

A recent British study probed the health effects of widespread sexbot use. It was published in the journal, BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health. Its outlook is rather dim. Instead of instituting harm limitation or merely becoming a healthy outlet, researchers find that pervasive sexbot use would likely increase what they called, “misogynistic objectification.”

This is the idea that women are sex objects and should be constantly available for the pleasures of men. Researchers say such an outlook could lead to the further victimization of women and children. Professor of women’s health Susan Bewley, of Kings College London, co-authored the study, along with Dr. Chantal Cox-George.

Support group for former Filipina sex workers. Rather than lessening trafficking and other sex crimes, widespread use of sexbots might increase them. Image credit: Getty Images.

A search of scholarly journal databases brought up all the studies surrounding the health effects of sexbots. They evaluated “the arguments for and against the sex robot industry,” and assessed, “the potential health implications that may affect both patients and clinicians.” The researchers also wrote, “While a human may genuinely desire a sexbot, reciprocation can only be artificially mimicked.” Instead of lessening loneliness, these robots might make us crave human contact more. Researchers do admit however that sexbots may have their place. They could aid those who are extremely lonely or who want to be cured of some type of sexual dysfunction.

Eventually, those who use sex robots could find it difficult to navigate a romantic relationship with an actual human being. Researchers found absolutely no evidence that interaction with a sexbot would make children safer or decrease sex trafficking. It might, instead, normalize such acts to the predator themselves and therefore make such heinous incidents more common. There’s no evidence pervasive sexbot use will decrease other sex crimes, either.

On top of all that, there’s no guarantee it’ll stop the spread of STIs, as there’s no evidence users will care for it properly or even keep a sexbot to themselves. “The overwhelming predominant market for sexbots will be unrelated to healthcare,” researchers conclude in their study. “Thus the 'health' arguments made for their benefits, as with so many advertised products, are rather specious."

To see how far sexbots have come so far, click here:

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U.S. Navy ships

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7 most notorious and excessive Roman Emperors

These Roman Emperors were infamous for their debauchery and cruelty.

Nero's Torches. A group of early Christian martyrs about to be burned alive during the reign of emperor Nero in 64 AD.

1876. Painted by Henryk Siemiradzki.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Roman Emperors were known for their excesses and violent behavior.
  • From Caligula to Elagabalus, the emperors exercised total power in the service of their often-strange desires.
  • Most of these emperors met violent ends themselves.

We rightfully complain about many of our politicians and leaders today, but historically speaking, humanity has seen much worse. Arguably no set of rulers has been as debauched, ingenious in their cruelty, and prone to excess as the Roman Emperors.

While this list is certainly not exhaustive, here are seven Roman rulers who were perhaps the worst of the worst in what was one of the largest empires that ever existed, lasting for over a thousand years.

1. Caligula

Officially known as Gaius (Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus), Caligula was the third Roman Emperor, ruling from 37 to 41 AD. He acquired the nickname "Caligula" (meaning "little [soldier's] boot") from his father's soldiers during a campaign.

While recognized for some positive measures in the early days of his rule, he became famous throughout the ages as an absolutely insane emperor, who killed anyone when it pleased him, spent exorbitantly, was obsessed with perverse sex, and proclaimed himself to be a living god.

Caligula gives his horse Incitatus a drink during a banquet. Credit: An engraving by Persichini from a drawing by Pinelli, from "The History of the Roman Emperors" from Augustus to Constantine, by Jean Baptiste Louis Crevier. 1836.

Among his litany of misdeeds, according to the accounts of Caligula's contemporaries Philo of Alexandria and Seneca the Younger, he slept with whomever he wanted, brazenly taking other men's wives (even on their wedding nights) and publicly talking about it.

He also had an insatiable blood thirst, killing for mere amusement. Once, as reports historian Suetonius, when the bridge across the sea at Puteoli was being blessed, he had a number of spectators who were there to inspect it thrown off into the water. When some tried to cling to the ships' rudders, Caligula had them dislodged with hooks and oars so they would drown. On another occasion, he got so bored that he had his guards throw a whole section of the audience into the arena during the intermission so they would be eaten by wild beasts. He also allegedly executed two consuls who forgot his birthday.

Suetonius relayed further atrocities of the mad emperor's character, writing that Caligula "frequently had trials by torture held in his presence while he was eating or otherwise enjoying himself; and kept an expert headsman in readiness to decapitate the prisoners brought in from gaol." One particular form of torture associated with Caligula involved having people sawed in half.

He caused mass starvation and purposefully wasted money and resources, like making his troops stage fake battles just for theater. If that wasn't enough, he turned his palace into a brothel and was accused of incest with his sisters, Agrippina the Younger, Drusilla, and Livilla, whom he also prostituted to other men. Perhaps most famously, he was planning to appoint his favorite horse Incitatus a consul and went as far as making the horse into a priest.

In early 41 AD, Caligula was assassinated by a conspiracy of Praetorian Guard officers, senators, and other members of the court.

2. Nero

Fully named Nero Claudius Caesar, Nero ruled from 54 to 68 AD and was arguably an even worse madman than his uncle Caligula. He had his step-brother Britannicus killed, his wife Octavia executed, and his mother Agrippina stabbed and murdered. He personally kicked to death his lover Poppeaea while she was pregnant with his child — a horrific action the Roman historian Tacitus depicted as "a casual outburst of rage."

He spent exorbitantly and built a 100-foot-tall bronze statue of himself called the Colossus Neronis.

He is also remembered for being strangely obsessed with music. He sang and played the lyre, although it's not likely he really fiddled as Rome burned in what is a popular myth about this crazed tyrant. As misplaced retribution for the fire which burned down a sizable portion of Rome in the year 64, he executed scores of early Christians, some of them outfitted in animal skins and brutalized by dogs, with others burned at the stake.

He died by suicide.

Roman Emperor Nero in the burning ruins of Rome. July 64 AD.Credit: From an original painting by S.J. Ferris. (Photo by Kean Collection / Getty Images)

3. Commodus

Like some of his counterparts, Commodus (a.k.a. Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus) thought he was a god — in his case, a reincarnation of the Greek demigod Hercules. Ruling from 176 to 192 AD, he was also known for his debauched ways and strange stunts that seemed designed to affirm his divine status. Numerous statues around the empire showed him as Hercules, a warrior who fought both men and beasts. He fought hundreds of exotic animals in an arena like a gladiator, confusing and terrifying his subjects. Once, he killed 100 lions in a single day.

Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) questions the loyalty of his sister Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) In Dreamworks Pictures' and Universal Pictures' Oscar-winning drama "Gladiator," directed by Ridley Scott.Credit: Photo By Getty Images

The burning desire to kill living creatures as a gladiator for the New Year's Day celebrations in 193 AD brought about his demise. After Commodus shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning as part of the Plebeian Games leading up to New Year's, his fitness coach (aptly named Narcissus), choked the emperor to death in his bath.

4. Elagabalus

Officially named Marcus Aurelius Antoninus II, Elagabalus's nickname comes from his priesthood in the cult of the Syrian god Elagabal. Ruling as emperor from 218 to 222 AD, he was so devoted to the cult, which he tried to spread in Rome, that he had himself circumcised to prove his dedication. He further offended the religious sensitivities of his compatriots by essentially replacing the main Roman god Jupiter with Elagabal as the chief deity. In another nod to his convictions, he installed on Palatine Hill a cone-like fetish made of black stone as a symbol of the Syrian sun god Sol Invictus Elagabalus.

His sexual proclivities were also not well received at the time. He was likely transgender (wearing makeup and wigs), had five marriages, and was quite open about his male lovers. According to the Roman historian (and the emperor's contemporary) Cassius Dio, Elagabalus prostituted himself in brothels and taverns and was one of the first historical figures on record to be looking for sex reassignment surgery.

He was eventually murdered in 222 in an assassination plot engineered by his own grandmother Julia Maesa.

5. Vitellius

Emperor for just eight months, from April 19th to December 20th of the year 69 AD, Vitellius made some key administrative contributions to the empire but is ultimately remembered as a cruel glutton. He was described by Suetonius as overly fond of eating and drinking, to the point where he would eat at banquets four times a day while sending out the Roman navy to get him rare foods. He also had little social grace, inviting himself over to the houses of different noblemen to eat at their banquets, too.

Vitellius dragged through the streets of Rome.Credit: Georges Rochegrosse. 1883.

He was also quite vicious and reportedly either had his own mother starved to death or approved a poison with which she committed suicide.

Vitellius was ultimately murdered in brutal fashion by supporters of the rival emperor Vespasian, who dragged him through Rome's streets, then likely beheaded him and threw his body into the Tiber river. "Yet I was once your emperor," were supposedly his last words, wrote historian Cassius Dio.

6. Caracalla

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus I ruled Rome from 211 to 217 AD on his own (while previously co-ruling with his father Septimius Severus from 198). "Caracalla"' was his nickname, referencing a hooded coat from Gaul that he brought into Roman fashion.

He started off his rise to individual power by murdering his younger brother Geta, who was named co-heir by their father. Caracalla's bloodthirsty tyranny didn't stop there. He wiped out Geta's supporters and was known to execute any opponents to his or Roman rule. For instance, he slaughtered up to 20,000 citizens of Alexandria after a local theatrical satire dared to mock him.

Geta Dying in His Mother's Arms.Credit: Jacques Pajou (1766-1828)

One of the positive outcomes of his rule was the Edict of Caracalla, which gave Roman citizenship to all free men in the empire. He was also known for building gigantic baths.

Like others on this list, Caracalla met a brutal end, being assassinated by army officers, including the Praetorian prefect Opellius Macrinus, who installed himself as the next emperor.

7. Tiberius

As the second emperor, Tiberius (ruling from 42 BC to 16 AD) is known for a number of accomplishments, especially his military exploits. He was one of the Roman Empire's most successful generals, conquering Pannonia, Dalmatia, Raetia, and parts of Germania.

He was also remembered by his contemporaries as a rather sullen, perverse, and angry man. In the chapter on his life from The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by the historian Suetonius, Tiberius is said to have been disliked from an early age for his personality by even his family. Suetonius wrote that his mother Antonia often called him "an abortion of a man, that had been only begun, but never finished, by nature."

"Orgy of the Times of Tiberius on Capri".Painting by Henryk Siemiradzki. 1881.

Suetonius also paints a damning picture of Tiberius after he retreated from public life to the island of Capri. His years on the island would put Jeffrey Epstein to shame. A horrendous pedophile, Tiberius had a reputation for "depravities that one can hardly bear to tell or be told, let alone believe," Suetonius wrote, describing how "in Capri's woods and groves he arranged a number of nooks of venery where boys and girls got up as Pans and nymphs solicited outside bowers and grottoes: people openly called this 'the old goat's garden,' punning on the island's name."

There's much, much more — far too salacious and, frankly, disgusting to repeat here. For the intrepid or morbidly curious reader, here's a link for more information.

After he died, Tiberius was fittingly succeeded in emperorship by his grandnephew and adopted grandson Caligula.

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Entangled drumheads.

Credit: Aalto University.
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