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Sex Robots: Erotophilia and Sexual Sensation Seeking Good Predictors of Engagement

Author: Concordia University
Author Contact: concordia.ca
Published: 13th Sep 2022 - Updated: 5th Jan 2023
Peer-Reviewed Publication: Yes
Additional References: Entertainment Publications

Summary: Study examines the personality traits of people who are more willing to experiment with erobotics or sex robots.

Definition

Erotophilia

Erotophilia is a personality trait that assesses an individual's disposition to respond to sexual cues positively or negatively. It is measured on a continuous scale, ranging from erotophobia to erotophilia. Erotophobes tend to score higher on authoritarianism and need for achievement, have more traditional sex roles, experience more sex guilt, and have more negative reactions to masturbation and homosexuality than erotophiles. Erotophilic individuals tend to masturbate and fantasize more frequently, think about sex more often, have sexual intercourse for the first time at an earlier age, have more past sexual experiences, and have a more significant number of intercourse partners than erotophobic individuals. In other words; those who feel that sex is absolutely natural and associate positive feelings with sex can be called erotophilics, while those who harbor negative feelings about sex could be called erotophobics.

Main Document

Erotophilia and sexual sensation-seeking are good predictors of engagement with sex robots, according to new research.

Advances in technology, in particular artificial intelligence (AI), are impacting our everyday lives in ever more ways - including our sex lives. Sex robots - life-size, lifelike machines powered by AI and used for sexual purposes - are one such emerging technological system. While they remain very niche, those who make, use and study them believe the market offers room for growth.

But to see if and how demand for sex robots grows, stakeholders must first understand who is interested in using them and why. In a new study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, Simon Dubé examines the personality traits of people who say they are (and are not) willing to engage with these technologies. Dubé is a former Concordia Public Scholar who completed his PhD this summer.

"It's extremely important to understand who the first users are and where the initial demand is coming from," he says. "The companies that make them need to know in order to adjust and develop these technologies."

Building Profiles

The results are based on data from almost 500 adults who completed an online survey examining their attitudes toward sex robots. First, the researchers assessed the respondents' personalities using a validated measure of the Big Five, a standard model that includes the overarching traits openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and extraversion.

"Personality assessments help us predict people's likely thoughts, emotions and behaviours across all kinds of situations, including those regarding their sexuality - and in this case, their willingness to engage with new erotic technologies such as sex robots," says Dubé, who will be pursuing his studies as a postdoctoral fellow at the Kinsey Institute in Indiana this fall.

Realizing that these categories may be overly broad, Dubé and his colleagues added a model that addressed respondents' attitudes toward sex and technology. The model also included an important value measuring positive attitudes toward newness and a desire to try new erotic experiences.

They were then able to assess traits relating to erotophilia/phobia - positive or negative attitudes toward sexuality - technophilia/phobia and sexual sensation-seeking.

According to the results, the Big Five were only weakly correlated to willingness to engage with sex robots. Dubé says that was to be expected, given the breadth of each category. But when it came to traits that were more closely related to the specific subject of sex robots, results were much stronger.

"We found that erotophilia and sexual sensation - seeking, as well as an enthusiasm for new, diverse or more intense erotic experiences, were the primary drivers behind people's willingness to engage with these new technologies," Dubé notes. "Technophilia and non-sexual sensation - seeking were also correlated, but only weakly."

Dubé adds that systematically, across multiple studies he consulted and this one, men were more interested in sex robots than women. However, he adds that respondents who identified as gender nonconforming or nonbinary exhibited similar patterns of interest as cis-identifying males. Respondents did not reveal their sexual orientation in this study.

A Product Oriented Toward Men, For Now

The sex robot market currently caters heavily toward heterosexual men. Female robots - known as gynoids - feature much more prominently in media, advertising and websites, and high-end units can cost up to $15,000 US. Dubé points out that heterosexual women constitute the majority of sex toy consumers and believes there is an opportunity for manufacturers to cater to a female customer base in the future as the technology improves and becomes more affordable.

"Right now, women probably do not feel that the product meets their own preferences or needs, or it is just too expensive for something that does not have to be particularly complex or interesting."

Read the cited paper: "Sex robots and personality: It is more about sex than robots." (sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0747563222002254)

References and Source(s):

Sex Robots: Erotophilia and Sexual Sensation Seeking Good Predictors of Engagement | Concordia University (concordia.ca). SexualDiversity.org makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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• (APA): Concordia University. (2022, September 13). Sex Robots: Erotophilia and Sexual Sensation Seeking Good Predictors of Engagement. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved April 19, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/life/1021.php


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