For those of you who have a problem in a public restroom with what the genitals of the person in the stall next to yours might look like—that’s soooooo yesterday. Get with it, people! If you must torture yourself about the sexual identity of your fellow homo-sapiens and how they “do it” then this essay will truly freak you out.
The sexual preference identity continuum is about to be extended in a way that most of us may find unsettling. Let’s begin with a few fundamental definitions. People who have an identity that involves human-android romance and sex are called “digisexuals.” Hang on to your hat, we are not finished yet.
Neil McArthur, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Manitoba and Mark Twist, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Wisconsin-stout published a paper in 2017 called “The Rise of Digisexuality.” “The authors delineated between ‘first wave’ digisexuality (online pornography, hookup apps, sexting and electronic sex toys), where the tech is simply a delivery system for sexual fulfillment, and ‘second wave’ digisexuality. Those practitioners form deeper relationships through immersive technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and A.I.-equipped sex robots, sometimes obviating the need for a human partner altogether.”
And now to the “or not” part of our essay title. Are members of our species “opting out” of a fundamental biological drive (necessary for our very survival)? Dr. Twist, who has a clinical practice in family and sex therapy answers our question citing several patients in their 20s and 30s who qualify as digisexuals. “What they’ve been into is sex tech toys they can control with their tech devices, that attach to their penis or their vulva. They haven’t had contact with humans, and really don’t have any interest in sex with people. This is what they want to be doing, and if they could afford a sex robot, they would.” The robots can start at $12,000 and are designed to provide companionship as well as sex.
Is this the future or an aberration? Byrony Cole, the founder of Future of Sex, a media company in New York that produces podcasts, seminars and research on contemporary sexuality may have our answer. “In the future, the term ‘digisexual’ will not be relevant. Subsequent generations will have never known a distinction between their online and offline lives.”
Insight # 82: [We] have stone-age emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. –E. O. Wilson
- “Big Brother to Big Bots,” in this blog and also in the print version Science and Philosophy: The Failure of Reason in the Human Community (2015), by Roy Charles Henry, pages 60-62.
- Williams, Alex. “Love, Android Style, Sexy and Confusing.” The New York Times. January 20, 2019, page 8.