Culture Sandwich

from the so darn wondrous to the so darn weird

Caroline Hagood

Caroline Hagood
Brooklyn, New York,
November 23
I'm a writer living in Brooklyn. My articles have appeared in various publications, including The Guardian, Salon, the Huffington Post, and The Economist. My first book of poems, Lunatic Speaks, is available from FutureCycle Press and my second poetry book, Making Maxine's Baby, is available from Hanging Loose Press:


Caroline Hagood's Links

JANUARY 12, 2010 4:14PM

Goodbye, Wife; Hello, Sex Robot!

Rate: 22 Flag

Goodbye, Wife; Hello, Sex Robot! 
Paul Sakuma/AP Photo 

I’m still a little worked up about an article that I read yesterday on the new robot technology to hit the sexual scene. Now, don’t get me wrong; this isn’t an issue of prudery. It’s not so much the mechanics (pardon the pun) of humanoid sensuality that I find unsettling. So there’s a robot that can get a human off—fine. It’s more the implications about men and women, separately and together, that’s got my panties all in a bunch (again, pardon it).

Let’s start with the fact that customers can request  “a robot that looks and acts like an ideal mate.” Isn’t there something wrong with this sentence? (Did anyone see Lars and the Real Girl?) Isn’t this just what women have been worried about for centuries--that what men really want in a mate is a sex robot?

Perhaps foreseeing this concern, the article’s author, Ki Mae Heussner, assures us that, “Even though Roxxxy is ‘always on,’ her attraction isn't supposed to be about only sex.” Come again? (again, pardon the pun.) Have I missed something? Is Roxxxy also a lawyer who practices yoga and helps rear the kids? No, but according to the Truecompanion website, she "Can carry on a discussion and expresses her love to you and be your loving friend. She can talk to you, listen to you and feel your touch."

Okay, I see where this is going. She can talk, but she can’t nag you about the house or challenge your ideals. Of course she doesn’t mind if the seat’s up because, oh that’s right, when it comes to her nether regions, things can go in, but nothing comes out. Now, that’s the perfect woman. It certainly rules out “that time of the month” complications.

Also, why is there no mention of a sex robot for women? Do the makers of the robot honestly think that it’s only men who have needs that aren’t being met? Do they really think that wives are the only ones with headaches and deadlines when it’s time to do the marital deed? Do they know what percentage of women own vibrators? 

In order to correct stupidity and raise profit, the industry that serves carnal needs should stop overlooking women’s sexuality. Am I saying that I’m positive that women would run out and buy a sex robot? No. In fact, I’m not sure what percentage of the men that I know would either; but I do know that it’s being offered to them exclusively. It would just be nice to live in a world that recognized realistic female sexual desire. And no, I’m not referring to Roxxxy the Sex Robot’s perennially being “up for it.” Sheesh.

In the same vein, I find the arguments for the RealTouch (a contraption that provides "the authentic sexual experience they desire when a partner, for whatever reason, isn't available,” read: the wife won’t put out) more than a little unsettling. AEBN (Adult Entertainment Broadcasting Network) CEO Scott Coffman touts the device as a "relationship saver,” maintaining that, “if guys like Tiger Woods, Mark Sanford and Eliot Spitzer had a RealTouch, their marriages might not be in such turmoil today."  I find the whole Woods, Sanford, and Sptizer wouldn’t have cheated if they had just had them a RealTouch yarn to be a little obtuse because it overlooks the many psychological reasons why men cheat.

Finally, the RealTouch comes complete with the the cheeky tagline: "Will a New Gadget for Men Make Women Obsolete?" Am I offended by this? Yes. It's not because I am afraid of being rendered obsolete by sex technology; but the belief that women are only "useful" in so far as they please men sexually has caused a lot of damage over the years. 

Now, if haptic penis zaps can replace multidimensional relationships with women, I might have to just leave the human race right now. I've clearly gotten it all wrong with all this striving to become a more intellectually and emotionally whole person. If I had known this all along, I could have just worked on my night moves and called the whole thing off.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Welcome back, Caroline. Nice post. For a humorous take on the subject, check out:

Now where can I get one of those "true companions?"
I do not know what to say, Caroline. Could actual men actually want a sex robot?

Sadly, I think the answer is, yes. For a whole lot of screwed-up reasons that have to do not only with men, but also with the way we view sex in our society.

In any case, you're right to worked up.
Oh, lord this is gonna be a popular post (assuming I'm not even first here).

I gotta tell ya, I just don't get it either. This is obviously for those men, and there just simply are far too many of them, who prefer to think with their lower head and ignore their upper head

I would suggest that the men who are really interested in using one of these is just as brain dead as the robot themselves.
I have nothing to add. Rated.
How is this any different philosophically from the classic inflatable doll? It's still a creepy substitute for a human being. Dealing with mates of flesh, blood, and idiosyncrasies can be difficult, but the goal is true connection, not mechanical and electronic interface.
Can't say I ever worried about it, anybody that would be interested in one of those, I wouldn't be interested in and vice versa I am sure. Humorous.r
Speaking of 'Haptic Penis Zaps' , I think the same argument was made with regard to vibrators (or the same fears manifested anyway).
Its sad to think that any man would want one of these things. Im glad that they did overlook us women because I dont want to have a sex robot. The whole thing is just a MESS. a plain old mess. Ugh.
Strange indeed Caroline. Personally, it wouldn't work for me. But I would bet there are plenty of guys (maybe ones who can't catch the real thing, and who have too much discretionary income) that will buy these products.
Also as you noted, if there was a male version it would probably do pretty well too.
hehehee! I was thinking that women should be doing a dance in the streets! That this is available for men who would pursue such a thing, will keep them from potentially attemtpting to date real women and possibly procreate. xox
A sex robot just doesn't compute—for me...
I don't think that I could, Ah hem, function with a robot woman. Doesn't appeal to me at all. Really, if that's all I'm after, I have two hands that I got for free.
it is disturbing on so many levels
At first glance, the whole doll thing is a bit creepy. The fact that it’s being advertised as a suitable replacement for intimate female companionship is pure hyperbole. Objectively speaking, it’s an expensive masturbatory aid.

Men (and women) pleasure themselves many varied reasons. Some do so because they do not have a willing partner, others do not have a partner at all.

Everyone has their own preferred mode of personal sexual self satisfaction. Some read magazines, others watch porno. Some reflect upon past conquests or current fantasies. If dolls get you off, why not purchase the best thing on the market with all of the bells and whistles.

At the end of the day nothing beats the real thing. Oh, and if you are in a loving, committed relationship its even better.
Point taken, but I'm guessing the guys who buy these aren't exactly the kinds of guys that most women want to date. Perhaps it's best for us all if they hunker down with a sex doll.

And where did that picture come from!? Good Lord, it looks like creepy guy is getting ready to strangle her, and her face looks like a bad mask topped with a wig! Is the the best they can do?
Wow. That's about all I can say.
It's a very particular sort of dementia that would need to be in place to want this and then also buy it. And considering it is just another consumer product, what about the warranty? Do they get returned sometimes? " No,no, didn't use it. Just tried to start it and it uh , uh wouldn't's my receipt".
What will they come up with next?? I will say on thing, it might get all the psychos off the street and into their own homes, loving on their perfect mate. I liked when you said
"That what men really want is a sex robot." I always thought this about men, shallow, self centered, egoistical, sex craving cave men.
I'd just like to say that not all men would want one of these. So you remain the whole person you are, Caroline. Don't give up yet.
I notice Roxxxxy has teeth. And I wonder why? How useful can she be! Oh, I get it! The second generation Roxxxsoff, will have the No Teeth option.
Caroline, let's hope none of these ship with bad chips--otherwise some unforeseen consequences for the owners of these malfunctioning robotic lady friends!
God? What about the BOB?

I mean, this is so wrong on so many levels.
Like any product, this will probably make huge sales initially and then fades away. Welcome back, Caroline, rated.
Robert: just read your robot post. Very funny. That robot has a lot of pop cultural knowledge.

Frank: I think you're on to something that this all has something to do with the way we view sex in our society.

Placebostudman: ha, I like that. There certainly is a lot of thinking with the lower head going on.

Gwool: that's fair:)

Jeff: I think the only difference is that these ones can talk and move (a little). I guess that's what it boils down to. The robots are meant to avoid all the complications that come with a human being, but they also avoid a lot of what makes interaction interaction.

Rita: I think that's a very healthy attitude.

Lisbeth: hmmm, that's very interesting. I guess the only difference was that vibrators weren't being marketed as replacements for men that could render them obsolete (at least as far as I know).

Harvey: psychiatry may be more expensive at this point:)

BPGirl: I think they were designed to avoid mess, but the psychological mess rages on.

Trig: who buys them is a good question. You're right that it's probably rich guys or ones who have been feeding that piggy bank for years.

Robin: how very Darwinian of you. love it.

Chuck: oh, Chuck, even your comments have witty puns in them. gotta appreciate that.

bobbot: true. the old fashioned way is much cheaper--and at least it involves contact with flesh.

Spin Doctor: exactly. that they are trying to market it as something that can take the place of women rather than a male dildo is what's disturbing about it.

fins2theleft: I just found the picture on the internet. I know! Isn't it funny looking? It looks like you could buy Roxxxy at the dollar store. Also, I she kind of looks like Chelsea Clinton. Not that Ms. Clinton is ugly in any way, but she certainly doesn't conjure fantasies of a no-intellectual-woman zone.

Gwendolyn: yup, yup.

alsoknownas: hee hee. I'd like to see a candid camera where someone tries to return one of these things after...ahem..having used it.

fireeyes24: it will cut down on neighborhood watch needs, that's for sure.

AtHomePilgrim: I will do just that.

Rainee174: ha, I guess some men like it rough.

designanator: I picture guys calling customer service at 1 in the morning because Roxxxy is foaming at the mouth and chewing up their furniture.

Nick: ah, the BOB--a simpler time.

Sparking: true, true.

Thoth: actually, it would be really interesting to trace its sales patterns. I'd like to know who's buying it, how much, and for how long. I just find these kinds of studies interesting.
PS: I tried to visit the site and got the following error message:

"Service Temporarily Unavailable

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later."

It doesn't seem like they've quite worked out all the bugs in these sexbots yet. Maybe v2.0. I'm waiting for Apple to come out with a sexbot called Eve.
That's so funny. Maybe the site is down because they've had too much traffic from men whose wives won't put out. JK. Oh and I would think that Apple should come out with a sexbot called Adam. He's the one who really bit:)
I wonder if rich guys with sex robots make their maids clean them up?
Rated but w/o comment.

(Psst, btw, what was that website again? do they have an "installment" plan?)
Good post about something so gross. CAN YOU IMAGINE if you were married and you didn't have the time right now or weren't in the mood, if your husband said that's okay I'll just use Roxxxy. Or if your son told you he wanted Roxxxy for Christmas. So stupid. Glad you have these words, because I just don't. It's too much.
Trig: can you imagine? It's like: "Oh Jeeves, we have a jiz situation on our hands."

Trudge: actually, there isn't, but I heard there is a special Trudge plan:)

latethink: or if catching your daughter with Roxxxy could save you the coming out of the closet conversation.
Personally, I think sales will soar, and I'm saddened by the thought.
Sharona: I may try to invent one myself:)

Scupper: yeah, I'm pretty sure they will sell like hot cakes.
After seeing "Blade Runner" again & again, an android wouldn't be bad. They were the stars of the flick--male & female.
Lou: I enjoyed them in Blade Runner, but think I'd prefer them on screen.
Good to see you are back Caroline. I haven't got much to add other than to agree that the guys who would spend money on such a thing would probably be better to spend their money on therapy.
You know what's really sick? A few month's ago Salon ran a story on this very thing. When they talked to the manufacturer, they mention that they get robots back for repairs. The majority of the reapirs are due to mutiliated vaginas, breasts, faces. Makes you wonder who's buying these 'toys'.
Ted: it's good to be back.

Trudge: Okay, that disturbs me more than I can say. The only thing I can say about it is that I would much rather men like that act out on robots than real women. Good god.
A hot Barbie, humm? I agree with you, they should come out with a hot Ken, then tired, estranged, disinterested couples could let their robots go at it and go to bed early… *rated*
NOVAcatmando: they could sell them as a pair and call them the "Catch up on your sleep" duo. hee hee.
You wrote "... I would much rather men like that act out on robots than real women ..." This point was brought up in the article, but the article also raised the issue that maybe the men who did this to the robots were practicing before they tried it out on real women. Sacry.
was gonna blog on this but you beat me to it. so to speak.
fyi to everyone interested in the subject, theres a very wild scifi writer "rudy rucker" who has a bunch of books on the topic.... trippy
Caracalla: Crumb disturbs me for that reason. I truly don't understand it. If I were a nerdy guy who couldn't get laid, I would want a woman, not want to cut her head off...but that's just me. I can't get behind that.

Trudge: now that's just horrifying.

vzn: guess I beat you to it. it's an odd topic, though, and I'm sure there's a lot to say, so knock yourself out.
It's really creepy! Wouldn't they be afraid of being electrocuted right there? ;-p But don't be too hard on them, some people don't need intimacy with someone else or don't want it, others cannot find anyone else that is compatible with them to have sex. For those, it's better to have a robot than to invade gyms to shoot every single women they cannot have sex with. Rated.
austinstranger: You make some good points. I don't mean to be hard on them. I am glad that it will prevent some anger and aggression towards women. If anything, I have the most problem with how they are being marketed.
at least masturbating is still free..............but my eyesight keeps getting worse and worse............
I guess the whole thing that parents used to tell little kids about masturbation and blindness is true:)
Unless there are minors or incompetents involved...

...why in the name of creation does anyone give a rat's ass what turns someone else on??????

Or how often they have to be turned on?


If a man gets turned on by a Volkswagen…or a woman by a pinecone…

...why would anyone give a shit?

If a person…male or female…wants to have five orgasms a day, every day…why would anyone else give a shit about it?

There are people who are bothered by individuals who are turned on by same sex partners. Many of the thought processes being shared here in this thread are almost identical to the thought processes those people have.

Just sayin’!
I think you're right that what turns people on is their own business and shouldn't be judged. I also think you're right that the judgment of people's sexual/lifestyle choices has caused a lot of damage.

My point in my post is not that I have a problem with the physical fact of a man sleeping with a robot (I even ask why there was no discussion in the article about a robot for women), but that I have a problem with the company marketing these technologies with the tagline: "Will a New Gadget for Men Make Women Obsolete?"

My issue is not with the use of the robots, but with the way they are being marketed: 1) only to men (so far, there may be ones for women on the horizon) and 2) with the implication that a robot that can provide sex could replace all the other things that women contribute to society aside from sex.
Caroline…my guess is we are on the same page of the same book…but hear me out.

My issue is not with the use of the robots, but with the way they are being marketed: 1) only to men (so far, there may be ones for women on the horizon) and 2) with the implication that a robot that can provide sex could replace all the other things that women contribute to society aside from sex.

I’ve re-read your comments…and I think I may have captured the spirit of your post better than you.

But rather than dwell on that, let me agree with your comment that “…the implication that a robot that can provide sex could replace all the other things that women contribute to society aside from sex…” would be absurd (perhaps “disgusting” would be a better word)…but is that truly the trust of the line "Will a New Gadget for Men Make Women Obsolete?"

In fact, is that line from the manufacturer…or from a commentator looking for a “catch their eye” heading for an article? (Where does it originate?)
And even if the piece of merchandise were marketed with a slogan like that…is it not the right of a manufacturer to…exaggerate…in order to market a product in a consumer oriented market such as we have here?

It is a piece of equipment not unlike a vibrator…which I’ve seen offered as a “preferable” substitute to a man…”pleasure without the idiot to fuck things up with his incompetence.”

I must say that I have seen more suggestions that men could easily be replaced…or have their numbers cut by 95% at no real cost to humanity. Take a look at a dairy farm: Mostly cows…very few bulls!

I’ve been on a rampage lately against all the judgments of people because of their sexuality. I’m straight…but I despise what gays are going through as they get closer to the prize of equality…which we all should champion.

I reacted strongly to the implications, as I saw them, of your piece.

I stand by my comments.

No good comes to any of us with men inventing ways to denigrate women…and, Caroline, no good comes to any of us with women inventing ways to denigrating men.

By the way, if the porn industry is correct…there are probably fifty devices of this sort for women for every one for men. Maybe not robots…but devices.

If your main point is that nobody should be judged or punished for their sexuality, then we are on the same page.

This is the quote from the article that I am referencing: "In the meantime, AEBN is marketing RealTouch with the question: 'Will a New Gadget for Men Make Women Obsolete?' "

And, no, I don't think it would be any better to imply that men will be made obsolete by vibrators. I just don't like that line of thinking.
Disgusting. Need I say more?
I'm not sure what Frank is up to these days but his reasoning seems pretty skewed.
Darryl, it's so nice to see you back! Thanks for reading.