A few days ago, the following package showed up in front of my apartment:
Least discreet label ever. Also, who ships things in giant wooden crates?
Though I hadn't ordered a sex robot, without missing a beat I informed the UPS woman that yes, it was mine and I would happily sign for it.
"You don't understand," the woman said, "I'm not a UPS employee. I'm the one giving you this robot. May I come in for a moment?" Unable to imagine a scenario that would get the robot into my house while keeping her out of it, I begrudgingly agreed.
She stepped into my apartment in a form-fitting pantsuit and ass-spectacularizing pumps. The sex robot sat idly inside a box. Waiting for me.
"My name is Vanessa Goodwyn."
"Dan O'Brien: Investigative Sex Journalist."
I bought these cards six years ago and they finally make sense.
"Yes, we're well aware of you, Mr. O'Brien. I represent TrueCompanion, an innovative adult company on the cutting edge of technology regarding interactive sex dolls. According to our records, you've got a persistent habit of having sex with any inanimate objects you can find."
"… As a result, we've selected you to test the Beta model. Are you intere-"
My pants were already halfway off. "Yes, yep, completely, I am all about this, lady. I'd love to keep thanking you, but I want to bone this thing right this second, like five minutes ago, so you might want to clear out." I started opening the box and mentally going through the list of exciting and inventive mid-coital curses I was planning on using. "Really, give us, like, a full mile radius, I'm very interested in exploring the space on this one."
She left, probably, I hope, whatever, and it was time to start my review of TrueCompanion's as-yet-unreleased sex robot.
Roxxxy's been making a big splash lately among even America's most respected perverts. She's motorized, anatomically correct and, unlike other non-living things you can have sex with, Roxxxy boasts an advanced artificial intelligence. She costs around $7000 and has already been pre-ordered by over 4,000 men. It's possible some women purchased the robot, but in a broader way, no it isn't.
Nothing weird about this.
Though not able to move on her own, Roxxxy can be contorted into any shape, which is great news for the rarely acknowledged fetish group that likes to stick it to pretzels. Roxxxy also has a "motor in her chest [which] pumps heated air through a tube that winds through the robot's body, which … keeps her warm to the touch." My understanding of human anatomy is, at best, nonexistent, so for all I know, we're designed roughly the same way. Going forward, if you ever find a woman's touch to feel warm and comforting as she gently caresses your face, whisper: "I appreciate that the motor in your chest provides a steady flow of heated air." It'll impress her.
The inventor also claims that Roxxxy "even shudders to simulate orgasm," which seems like a fairly irrelevant inclusion. I'm pretty sure that the kind of guy who drops seven grand on a soulless sex receptacle is also the kind of guy who doesn't care if it orgasms.
I won't sugarcoat this: Roxxxy is hideous. Just God awful, shit-ugly. If someone asked me to design a statue honoring a face-transplant survivor who accidentally swallowed a hive of bees, it would be Roxxxy. She's a cross between a wax Sarah Jessica Parker and lower jaw Elephantiasis. She looks like a rubber sculpture of Miss Piggy that was microwaved. She's like a bloated Chrissie Hynde dipped in butterfat. She's the solution to the paradox of "Can God design a creature so hideous that even He Himself is incapable of loving it?"
She's a beast, is my point.
"So what did you want to do tonight? Because I was thinking-"
"DEATH TO ALL HUMANS."
"-Avatar... It's fine, though, we can stay in and... destroy the humans."
Roxxxy's speech recognition and advanced AI is what separates her from other fuckable household appliances. When you speak to her, your speech is converted to text, which her internal computers analyze using her unique pattern-recognition software. She then comes up with an appropriate response from her database of hundreds of prerecorded responses, and her answer is played through a loudspeaker hidden under her wig. You can actually carry on full conversations with Roxxxy in what her creator believes is a near-perfect simulation of emotional companionship.
This is by far the most interesting development in the field of machines you can put your wiener in. I'd always imagined that the popularity of Real Dolls and other competing titles in the doll-pork market was due to lonely guys who enjoyed the act of having sex with a woman but either didn't have time for or couldn't navigate around the tricky aspects like "emotional connection" and "human interaction." As someone whose study of sex dolls was purely academic, I assumed that the inhumanness of these sex dolls was part of the hook: There's no shame for a poor performance, there's no guilt for infidelity and there's no struggle with commitment or communication, because she is a silicone-covered robot that you legally own.
But Roxxxy means we've entered a new world that I don't quite understand; one where the goal is to make these things as close to human as possible. If Roxxxy outsells Real Dolls, it means consumers prefer lifelike dolls, which means a doll even more lifelike than Roxxxy will be even more successful, until we get sex robots that seem to have total autonomy. Sex robots that form ideas and have opinions and, if my primitive understanding of women is to be believed, judge you relentlessly. Roxxxy's AI even comes with different personalities, where "Wild" is on one end of the spectrum and "Frigid" is on the other. Frigid, as in, cold, as in a sex robot that doesn't want you to have sex with it. This means the market isn't made up of just horny guys. It's guys who want to have sex with a robot but also understand that their clumsy pawing and arrhythmic hump techniques repulse their robot into celibacy. That is a market I hope to never meet under any circumstances whatsoever.
Also, attention guys who are spending a bunch of money on a sex robot that you still have to entertain and convince to have sex with you: that's just real life. You haven't found a loophole, and you're not making anything easier on yourself. That is exactly what the rest of us do.But Can I Have Sex With It?
You can, brother, and how. Sure, there are motors constantly running inside her body, but if you can get over the persistent sound of blender-esque whirring (which you can't, by any means), you are in for quite a wild ride. And if you're looking for a crazy night that lasts no more than three hours (because of the battery), well then lock your doors and prop Roxxxy up against something, buddy, because this just got real. And if you want more than three hours of passion, you can always plug her into a standard wall socket while you're plowing away, but holy shit please don't do that. And if you feel that today's women are lacking the unsettling "uncanny valley" effect that plagues modern computer generated humans, then Roxxxy is the girl-bot for you, because there is nothing but darkness and horror in her eyes.
She also, according to TrueCompanion, "talks in her sleep and snores," because if you're designing an ideal woman, why not include some of the most objectively irritating qualities you can find?
Zealot though I may be for the culture of thing-fucking, I can't really recommend this product for a number of reasons that should be fairly obvious if you've read this article and understand what words like "Elephantiasis" and "blender-esque" and "Sarah Jessica Parker" mean. I like my women like I like my Mormons: covered in sweat and disgusted by my filthy mouth. Roxxxy just doesn't cut it. She's not human enough to replace sex with a human, and it's too human to accommodate my unsettling robot fetish.
Additionally, and this might be a minor point, but the sex robot that also simulates emotional connection is kind of a tricky issue. Even if it's set on "frigid" and would rather talk about robot things than have sex, at the end of the day, you're in charge of this robot, and it's your call if you're going to have sex with it or not. At what point does flipping the switch from Talk to Bone become rape? Ten years from now, will robots weep metallic tears after what would be, by definition, sexual robo-assault? Will 2023 find the debut of a strong and honest Atticus Finchbot who bravely fights for robot rights on the floor of the courthouse? Will there be strong, independent, no-nonsense sexy lady lawyer-bots? Can I have sex with them?
These are the questions I have, Roxxxy. I eagerly await your cold, pre-programmed answer based on complex pattern recognition.
Daniel O'Brien is a professor of Pervert Robotics at MIT.