A History of Cyborg Sex, 2018–73

Cathy O’Neil in the Boston Review:

A lot of people don’t know this, but we once thought cyborg sex might be a bad idea. Back in the 2010s, serious concerns were raised by prominent scholars that sex robots were made by men, for men. The general consensus was that cyborg sex would further support the notion that women’s bodies were available for objectification, sexual gratification, and violence.

Indeed, in the dawn of sex robots and dolls, the evidence was concerning: we saw hordes of male customers, and the robots were typically created to mimic young, passive sex bimbos. Men were even losing the ability to differentiate between “real” and “robot” wives, and people feared that the advent of robot lovers would further create asymmetry in the “marriage market” for women—that women would be confined and pressured into settling for archaic, misogynistic, or even abusive romantic situations.

In short, the advent of cyborg sex was seen as destabilizing, and it was largely expected to tilt the power further toward men.

Now, more than fifty years later, that curious beginning is laughably remote from our current-day relationship with our cyborg lovers, and the evolution of cyborg sex warrants telling.

More here.