Interview with author of Love & Sex With Robots

David Levy, author of Love & Sex With Robots, was interviewed by Jeff Simmermon.

Simmerman: Would you personally use one of these robots?

Levy: I would certainly experiment with one, to find out what it was like – how much like the real thing.

Simmermon:Would your wife? Probably not – she is not interested in anything of a technological nature.

Simmermon:Would she mind if you used one? Surely you’ve talked about it by now …

Levy: Actually, no, because it is purely hypothetical since they do not yet exist.

Simmermon:I ask because I was talking about this with my girlfriend, who, had she found one of these in my closet in the early stages of our relationship, would have hailed a cab and never seen me again.

Levy: She says that, but why? Has she never used a vibrator? And if she has, why does she think that you shouldn’t have left her immediately you found out?



  1. This is funny:

    “She says that, but why?”

    though not for the reasons they might think. Some things never change, including male cluelessness. (is that a word?)

  2. Sex with bots seems to be an old theme. I guess if you make them self-cleaning that would be nice. Besides, think of all the child molesters that might be happy enough with a little boy or littl girl sex bot to play with. I wonder if it would be illegal to sell such a device?

  3. Sex with robots? Sounds like a possibility when sex is about something other than intimate human connection. And what would that other thing be? How would that best serve our humanity, or evolve us?

    If you consider that human nature is desiring to connect with each other in deep and meaningful ways; one possibility I see is a clear path to greater loneliness, and a new way to dehumanizing ourselves.

    Seems like it’s really no different than vibrators and blow-up dolls; getting sexual needs met while avoiding relationship. I’d like to know what others think.

  4. Sean, I think you’re right. But, avoiding the relationship is exactly what many people seem to want. They don’t want complication, or intimacy, they want fun and to be done. Sex can be as important or as un-important as you want to make it. I’m not sure this is anything new.

  5. He wonders why the girlfriend would leave…
    Most people do not form deep emotional attachments to a vibrator – it lacks any of the signifiers of humanity. But a sexbot would be made to seem as human-like as possible, which would lead to emotional connections; that’s the problem the girlfriend has with the idea – the loss of emotional connection with her boyfriend.

  6. @PostHuman … I sort of see your point. But actually, the problem that most people would have with the idea is that it’s just freaking creepy. Imagine, having a plastic corpse in your closet. How is that NOT a turnoff to most people?

  7. Jphilby thinks it’s sad. I understand why (I think), but for many, being able to use the sevices of a sex-bot might give them some enjoyment that they might not otherwise have have. Think of all the old spinsters that might just love to get-it-on with Rambot.

  8. Well the moral of the story is if you have a sex robot, at least be honest with your partner about it. If he/she cannot take it then perhaps they should be reminded of the Karmic Rule of Kink (KROK), “Dump the honest foot fetishist, and you will marry the dishonest necrophiliac.”

    Seriously, if your relationship is threatened by something silly like this, it’s time to re-evaluate.

  9. I’m in agreement with JPHILBY and am feeling sad. I also agree with you JEFF, that avoiding relationship is what people SEEM to want, however, I don’t think it’s what people truly desire on a deeper level. I think the “be fun and be done” is counter to our deeper natures. Maybe we’ve been taught that in the interest of preserving “domination” structures that benefit the wealthy and the powerful.

    Please consider that there’s a deep humanity in sharing with another person on that level, one that practically acts out a “power with” consciousness that opposes a “power over” (violent) consciousness. One problem is that feelings of loneliness and emptiness, and “power over” sensibilities create a dehumanizing kind of disconnection leading to situations like at Columbine and Virginia Tech, or sexual abuse, or attitudes like “America is best and fuck the rest”, etc.

    My question is, what DO we want, as a society?, in this case, in relation to choosing how to utilize our marvelously sophisticated technology. I don’t know if I personally believe that a Gigilo Joe (in A.I.) is really going to meet the potential completeness and depth of sexual human need. I don’t get how that serves us.

  10. Sean said, “I don’t know if I personally believe that a Gigilo Joe (in A.I.) is really going to meet the potential completeness and depth of sexual human need. I don’t get how that serves us.”

    I seem to know too many people that have been in real relationships with real people, but then discover that they don’t know their partner at all! From what I’ve been able to tell, the intimacy we feel, that we think we need to get from another human, is for the most part just a fantasy in our head. It can be a very nice feeling, but I’m not sure how much of that intimacy is “real.” We humans are very good at having relationships with all sorts of things.

  11. Howard Stern interviewed the author on his show. He actually sounded very normal and was just interested in the AI involved with it.

  12. I think the main reason for objecting to a partner’s use of it is exhaustion, not jealousy. If a girlfriend was oversexed and I couldn’t deal with it, I would actually be relieved that she was finding something to do in her spare time–as long as it didn’t interfere with our quality time.

  13. People have sex with Aspergians all the time, it’s nothing new.

    I agree with JPhilby: Sex with robots is a very sad idea.

  14. “Some things never change, including male cluelessness.”

    Heh, know what else never changes? Female insecurity.

  15. JEFF, I hear it’s your experience, and mine, that most of us, more often than not, don’t get what we need from one another and, that we frequently don’t ever get to know one another. Does that mean it doesn’t happen, or that it’s not possible?

    So I ask; Why is that our experience? Is it because people are not capable? Is it that we’re unwilling? Is it that we don’t have the necessary skills? What’s missing in our experience of human relationships?

    Why not ask and answer these basic questions?, before conceding; “People are clearly inadequate, I’ll just go to a machine.”

  16. Teresa, how come my anonymous comments are always eaten? They’re on-topic and non-flamebait. The short comment that I tried to post here is the third or fourth victim in a row.

    The couple of times before this, I’d written pretty long comments which never appeared, so I thought about writing to you. But then I figured you probably weren’t monitoring comments 24/7 and they were swallowed up in the backlog. And I started having doubts about how interesting they were and whether I really had something to say.

    I mean, it’s nice that BB allows anonymous comments, but it’s awful that mine almost never appear. I just want to know whether you’re receiving them or if something’s preventing me from submitting them (I’m pretty cautious with allowing scripts from other websites, so ‘fmpub’ and ‘hittail’, whatever they are, are usually blocked)

    [You don’t have to post this one, naturally, but I think it’d be pretty ironic if it makes it through.]

  17. If you want to really wallow in the creepiness and sadness of attachment to inanimate objects, there’s a documentary about Realdoll owners and their relationship to their “girls.” It’s so weird I don’t even have a proper description for it. Parts of it are NSFW, obviously. Watch it like a trainwreck, and try to imagine a sunny day in our bright, transhuman future.

  18. Sean said, “Why not ask and answer these basic questions?, before conceding; “People are clearly inadequate, I’ll just go to a machine.””

    I fell short of getting my PhD in clinical Pychology. You’ve asked some questions for which there are probably hundreds of books and tens of thousands of articles written to address these human concerns. I’m sure people can get to know each other. And personally, I would ask the same questions you did. I would not seek a relationship (sexual) with a being where there was no chance of intimacy. I’m sure just having a good f-ck with your fav sex bot from time to time might mean as much as wanking off does. And for most guys, it has no meaning at all. Just a means to an end. Sexuality is a very complex subject and I’m sure it will just get more complex as we learn to love our “anthrobotic” creations. If there was an AI in a realistic human body (life like every way), and I fell in love with that AI’s personality, heck, maybe I could have a relationshp.

  19. Jeff (8):

    Think of all the old spinsters that might just love to get-it-on with Rambot.

    Greetings, traveller from the nineteenth century! Thank you for enlivening our conversations with your archaic yet colorful remarks!

    Anonymous (18), I don’t have Aspberger’s Syndrome. Is it okay with you if I resent that remark on behalf of the people I know that do?

    JDack (19), you don’t make me feel insecure at all.

    Anonymous (21), do you mean to tell me that the notice that says anonymous comments aren’t guaranteed to be released promptly, or released at all, is no longer being displayed when you post? If so, let me know ASAP so I can tell Tech Support about the problem.

  20. #10: Robots are fetished for their total submissiveness, one they are uniquely suited to; they can’t (for the moment) think or feel the repercussions of a totally dominating relationship, or offer any resistance unless they are programmed to. Thus they are prefect (sex)slaves, even in the sense that they were purpose built to be slaves! You might say that in a healthy interhuman relationship desires like this can be be fulfilled, but without compromise (except in extreme 24/7 BDSM relationships) they come at the cost of respect within the relationship.

    I actually don’t really know what I’m getting at besides the point that sex robots can fill a definite human gap, but as to whether whether the inevitable dominant/submissive human dichotomy is a good characteristic is debatable… I’m pretty sure we are stuck with it until we either achieve perfect human equality(the exact antithesis of our current state) or a certain variant of the singularity, which might actually be a prerequisite.

  21. To Jerd @ 25, I’m not sure I understand why you assume there’s a dom/sub relationship between someone and their sex toy. While that’s certainly a possibility, I can see where someone would treat them as more of an imaginary friend – providing both sides of the relational/sexual dialog if you will.

    You can argue that the requirement to manipulate the sex doll requires dominance. The problem with that viewpoint is that it extends to any imaginary relationship – including kids with stuffed animals .

    I suspect that those who see such a thing as problematic are uneasy with the whole idea of sex with dolls/robots. To compensate, they’d like to assume that anyone who does is inherently unhealthy.

    I’m not sitting from on-high with that observation by the way. It took me decades to come to terms with being gay. A major rationalization was that it was inherently unhealthy.

    To #12 and #20, you raise excellent points. I believe that the majority of us seek relationship for relationship’s sake – not because we truly know the other person. The divorce rate certainly seems to support that.

    I think there are a very few people who’s self knowledge, inner strength and maturity can lead to relationships where they do know each other AND are compatible enough for romantic relationship. I just think it’s damned few.



  22. Chris @ 26:
    I only meant it in the sense that the human end of the relationship has total power and that may be some of the appeal. Also, I was thinking of robots in the classical sense, and as to exactly why they are fetishised. I guess I was working under the assumption that everyone who would own one would be aware of the robot’s limitations and the reality of the “relationship”.

    You make a pretty good point though. Usually people stop having imaginary friends or stuffed animals after a certain age; the ability to suspend disbelief and empathize with an inanimate object decreases with age, and increases with the reality of the simulation. So the more animate and reactive they are the more likely an emotional relationship could form. This would be an altogether different kind of user/owner to one who is just using it because it is a robot.

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