Who would use a sex robot? Study identifies personality types more open to ‘artificial love’

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MONTREAL — For some they may sound silly, while others find them dreamy. Sex robots are still very much a niche field at the moment. Yet these life-size, life-like machines powered by artificial intelligence are only going to become more and more realistic. Who on Earth would open to using a sex robot? New research out of Concordia University investigates the specific personality traits of people who say they are (and are not) willing to engage with these erotic technologies.

The study finds two traits, erotophilia and sexual sensation-seeking, best predict openness to such erotic technologies. Erotophilia refers to the association sex with positive feelings.

According to lead researcher Simon Dubé, if the sex robot market is going to expand and become more commonplace, it’s essential for involved stakeholders to better understand their target audience. What makes someone interested in artificial love? Conversely, which personality traits are associated with avoiding such technologies?

“It’s extremely important to understand who the first users are and where the initial demand is coming from,” Dubé, a former Concordia Public Scholar who completed his PhD this summer, says in a university release. “The companies that make them need to know in order to adjust and develop these technologies.”

These findings are based on data collected among nearly 500 adults via an online survey that asked about views toward sex robots. To start, respondents’ personalities were assessed using a validated measure of the Big Five, which is a standard model including the overarching traits openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and extraversion.

“Personality assessments help us predict people’s likely thoughts, emotions and behaviors 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,” adds Dubé, who will be pursuing his studies as a postdoctoral fellow at the Kinsey Institute in Indiana this fall.

However, Dubé and his team also recognized that these categories may be too broad. So, they added a model addressing respondents’ attitudes toward sex and technology. This model also featured an important value that measured both positive attitudes toward newness and a desire to have new erotic experiences. This allowed study authors to assess traits related to erotophilia/phobia, or positive/negative attitudes regarding sex, traits linked to technophilia/phobia, or positive/negative attitudes regarding technology, and traits linked to sexual sensation–seeking.

Men more prone to using sex robots

Results indicate the Big Five are only minimally correlated with willingness to engage with a sex robot. Dubé notes this was expected, considering the wide breadth of each category. That being said, when researchers focused on traits more closely linked to the specific subject of sex robots, the story changed. “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 explains. “Technophilia and non-sexual sensation–seeking were also correlated, but only weakly.”

It’s also worth noting that across the board, men appear more interested in sex robots than women. Meanwhile, subjects who identified as gender nonconforming or nonbinary exhibited similar patterns of interest as cis-identifying males. Participants were not asked to reveal their sexual orientation for this study.

Moreover, the current sex robot market caters heavily to heterosexual men. Female erotic robots, called gynoids, are seen much more often in media, advertising, and websites. A high-end gynoid can cost up to $15,000 dollars. Dubé believes females represent an untapped market for sex robots, especially considering women currently constitute the majority of sex toy consumers.

“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,” he concludes.

The study is published in Computers in Human Behavior.

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John Anderer

Born blue in the face, John has been writing professionally for over a decade and covering the latest scientific research for StudyFinds since 2019. His work has been featured by Business Insider, Eat This Not That!, MSN, Ladders, and Yahoo!

Studies and abstracts can be confusing and awkwardly worded. He prides himself on making such content easy to read, understand, and apply to one’s everyday life.

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  1. I asked my Sexbot the other night for sex. She told me No, I have a headache ; and then she rolled over and went to sleep.

    I tell ya I get no respect.

  2. Find a woman who does not own a sex toy, be it a vibrator or dildo. Men are just stupid enough to pay a lot of money for sex where women just want the important part to take care of them

  3. I believe in most if not all freedoms as long as you’re not (physically) hurting a person. With the planetary population decrease, what are we to do with robots? Like I stated I believe if you want to have sex with your wall, fine. But what about our population in the future? Are we living in the Behavioral Sink?

    1. Well, the world is pretty much overpopulated at this point. We could stand to lose a couple billion in the future.

  4. Why is it that academics always ask the wrong questions? No surprise then that they come up with the wrong answers.
    Humans will purchase artificial humans for reasons other than sex.
    Three that come immediately to mind: social status, loneliness, and a power trip.
    At the point where an artificial woman become difficult to distinguish from the real thing, all bets are off. It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to conclude that female celebrities will license their appearance to robot manufactures. The Kardashian sisters are prime candidates. A guy shows up to an event with a Kim Kardashian model on his arm. Whoa! How about a Cardi B? An AOC? A Meghan Markle? The mind boggles.
    The second reason is companionship. Much the same as buying a dog. Except you can’t hold a conversation with a dog.
    The third reason is basically slavery. This is where women come into the picture. An artificial human will wait on a human hand and foot…for free. Both men and women would love this. All the domestic chores done immediately and with no talking back.

  5. Question: “Who would use a sex robot?”
    Answer: The guy who just divorced his 3rd wife, is paying alimony and child support….LOL!

  6. My Sex robot left me for the sex robot next door. Who knew she was a lesbot? Oh well…time to go shopping.

  7. As twisted as sex-robots are—at least it isn’t men pretending to be women and visa-versa.
    This world is backwards today!

  8. As long as the sex robot is waist-high, can’t talk, and has a flat head to set your beer on, I’m all for this new technology.

  9. High porn viewership had a lot to do with incentivizing the competition to improve the general quality of websites, file downloading, etc. I wonder if sex bots sales will have a similar driving influence toward accelerating the development of far more lifelike and responsive robots. Version 1.0 of Sally starts out as a hot little tart, but by version 6.3 she is also capable of serving as a nanny. Or maybe a nanny AND a sexbot if you’re into nannies that way.

  10. Soooo how does a male sex robot work exactly? A bit more action is needed, no? Unless the female has to do all the “work”…

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