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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Friends, Lovers or Nothing: Men and Women Differ in Their Perceptions of Sex Robots and Platonic Love Robots

M. Nordmo, J. O. Naess, M. and others
Front. Psychol., 13 March 2020


Physical and emotional intimacy between humans and robots may become commonplace over the next decades, as technology improves at a rapid rate. This development provides new questions pertaining to how people perceive robots designed for different kinds of intimacy, both as companions and potentially as competitors. We performed a randomized experiment where participants read of either a robot that could only perform sexual acts, or only engage in non-sexual platonic love relationships. The results of the current study show that females have less positive views of robots, and especially of sex robots, compared to men. Contrary to the expectation rooted in evolutionary psychology, females expected to feel more jealousy if their partner got a sex robot, rather than a platonic love robot. The results further suggests that people project their own feelings about robots onto their partner, erroneously expecting their partner to react as they would to the thought of ones’ partner having a robot.

From the Discussion

The results of the analysis confirms previous findings that males are more positive toward the advent of robots than females (Scheutz and Arnold, 2016). Females who had read about the sex robot reported particularly elevated levels of jealousy, less favorable attitudes, more dislike and more predicted partner’s dislike. This pattern was not found in the male sample, whose feelings were largely unaffected by the type of robot they were made to envision.

One possible explanation for the gender difference could be a combination of differences in how males and females frame the concept of human-robot sexual relations, as well as different attitudes toward masturbation and the use of artificial stimulants for masturbatory purposes.

The research is here.