Thursday, April 14, 2011
Hey, Where’s My Robot Girlfriend?
The Orgasmatron from Barbarella (1968)
How has technology served and been in service to sex? This was the subject of another great talk at the Observatory: Hey, Where’s My Robot Girlfriend? An Exploration of Sexual Robotics, Teledildonics and Carnal Technology by sexual health researcher, educator and writer Laura G. Duncan. There was a lot to think about.
What is natural about sex? Everything and nothing. From The Future Eve (1886) to teledildonics “the mechanical in service of the libidinal is rooted deeply in our cultural consciousness.”
We have always had sexual relationships with technology (the VCR, webcams, sexting on smart phones). Duncan makes the excellent point that what constitutes “natural” sex isn't necessarily clear. There have been dildos since there have been human beings, vibrators have been in existence since 1870 (it was steam powered), Viagra and lube all enhance what the body does anyway just on our own terms. We have always used machines to enhance our sexual experiences and mimic human functions.
Which brings us to the sex robot and fucking machines. There was much discussion on the desire for the sex robot to look and act exactly like a human being, if not better. But they aren't human and never will be. Fucking machines do things human beings can not do. They are stronger, faster, and last longer. There is an element of dominance over the person, submission to the machine. Or machines can be the tools they are and exist in service to the user.
Gigolo Joe from A.I. (2001)
I think I'm more interested in a robot that looks like a robot. Why not embrace the fact that you're fucking a machine for all of the benefits of that machine. A Hitachi isn't a replacement for a person, it's something all together different.
Sex Machines by Timothy Archibald
On a side note, there is a very low representation of queer robots and robots of color in the sex robot world.