Of course secretly having sex with a robot counts as cheating
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
Today I learned that 40% of British people wouldn’t consider having sex with a robot while in a relationship with a human to be cheating.
Oh, and while previous research has suggested that only 10% of us would be up for banging a robot, that figure goes up to 36% when the robots are more human-like, like the ones in Humans or Westworld.
That bit of information has rattled me to my core.
Of course having sex with a robot that’s been designed to look and behave like a human is cheating. And if you don’t get why, I’m honestly a little concerned.
Cheating is not as simple as ‘this person that is in a committed relationship had full-on sex with someone outside of their relationship’.
Kissing someone else can be cheating.
Having deep meaningful chats can be cheating.
Spending the night in someone’s bed, snuggling for hours, can be cheating.
Cheating, in my opinion, is anything that you wouldn’t want your partner to know about – and something that you’ve deliberately kept secret because you know it’d hurt them if they found out.
Cheating is about betrayal.
And when it comes to banging a sex robot, if you’re keeping it secret, that’s a betrayal.
Let me explain.
Humans are strange creatures. We do things that don’t make a lot of sense, and that often don’t make us happy. This is because of a fun mix of our evolutionary impulses blending with our modern needs and the society we’ve created, which demands that we do things that are productive and responsible instead of hedonistic.
Our huge lifespans have made it pretty difficult to stay with the same person forever and ever – but most of us haven’t adapted by saying ‘cool, let’s be in open relationships’ or making second, third, and fourth marriages okay. Instead, we’ve clung on to our evolutionary drives, which tell us to have babies and settle down, while also sticking to our longheld traditions of believing in romantic love and longterm commitment.
That all goes a bit tits up when we start feeling desire for other people.
While the more enlightened among us may open out their relationship and explore polyamory, with open communication and honesty as absolute essentials, the rest of us are so filled with shame at fancying other people (because, we’re told, if you really love one person you’ll never find anyone else attractive) that we either bottle it up and feel a bit miserable, or we cheat in secret, hoping we can have the satisfaction of getting with people we find physically attractive while also getting the nice longterm relationship side of things.*
*Or we deal with fancying someone as a standard thing, don’t act on it, and continue happily in our relationship. That’s the secret third option.
The person who gets cheated on is devastated, because it taps into all our classic human insecurities about not being good enough, or our partners leaving us, or unending loneliness.
(Picture: Erin Aniker for Metro.co.uk)
In terms of pure happiness and joy, would it be easier if we all just accepted that sometimes humans find each other attractive, and gave into our desires without judgement? Absolutely.
But we’re human beings. We can’t do the easiest, most pleasurable things, because we are neurotic messes who read into every act and every word and place our value in longterm relationships.
That is the way we work. We’re hurt when people give into sexual desire, because we’ve agreed that love can only be between two people, and if anyone strays outside that, it must mean something terrible about our relationship and ourselves.
That’s not me bashing the general concept of monogamy, by the way. Monogamy’s great – it’s comforting, stable, and it’s brilliant to feel like someone’s chosen you as their one favourite person.
I’m just saying that that’s the current societal situation. Cheating isn’t read as just ‘this person wanted to have sex with this person’. It’s always read to have greater meaning.
So when it comes to sex with a robot – and, more specifically, one that’s made to look and feel like a real person – that has meaning, too.
A hyper-realistic robot or sex doll is not the same as a jumped up vibrator.
It’s been designed specifically to imitate a real human body – and as technology progresses, the more desirable sex dolls will become more and more humanlike.
If you were to have sex with a robot designed to look and feel like a human, then, it’ll get read into the exact way that cheating would with a regular person.
It’s basically as though you’ve said to yourself ‘I would like to have sex with a human, but I’d like one tiny reason I can use to justify it as not “real” sex – how about a lack of consciousness?’
If the person I were dating were to have sex with a robot, I’d have a lot of questions.
Does this person actually love me? Do they find me attractive? Will they leave me and run off to live with their BabeBot 3000? Do they wish I looked exactly like this bot? What is our relationship not giving them if they feel the need to rub their genitals on a robot instead of my bits?
The only reason it’d be a little less worrying than if they’d cheated with an actual human is the removal of intention on the other side. If the robot-f***er ends it, the robot isn’t going to pursue a relationship and try to steal them away.
(Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler)
But it’d still hurt. It’d be incredibly upsetting to know that your partner had needs that could be filled not by a regular sex toy, but something that’s got the appearance of a human without all the annoying human bits, like insecurity, self-doubt, or being too tired to bang.
Any time your partner cheats on you, it’s going to put a bit of a dent in your self-esteem. But there’s no way you can compete with a robot when it comes to being perfectly sculpted and toned, having perfect genitals, and always being ready to please. The robot’s been made to do all of these things. You’re just a human. You’ll never measure up, and the idea that perfection with no personality/consciousness might be what your partner wants is enough for a full on meltdown.
Plus, there’s the secrecy factor.
Your partner going ahead and ordering a sex robot without consulting you, then going ahead and having secret sex with that sex robot, is bound to break the trust in your relationship. You’ll feel excluded, like you have no idea what your partner’s actually in to.
And when we place so much value in our romantic relationships being all-knowing (we have so much in common, I tell him everything), the idea of your partner secretly fancying the pants off a bot is a deep cut.
(Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler/metro.co.uk)
Any kind of secret sexual desire in a monogomous relationship is startling. It doesn’t matter that the robot isn’t going to steal your partner away or try to compete with you for attention – it’s the very idea that your partner secretly wants them that’s going to put fear in your heart.
You’ll notice that I’ve said ‘secretly’ a lot. There’s a reason for that.
There are circumstances in which having sex with a robot would not be cheating – but it’s all down to that idea of secrecy.
If your partner’s chatted with you about having a sex robot, explained that it’s basically just a more realistic sex doll, and you’ve agreed certain boundaries and limits, that’s not cheating. It’s ethical nonmonogomy, but with robots involved. Or a more elaborate masturbation routine.
Maybe those boundaries and limits will establish that the sex robot is only for sex, and that there’s no chatting or snuggling allowed.
Maybe the sex robot will only be used in a group sex scenario, so one human in the relationship doesn’t feel left out.
Whatever. There needs to be open communication and established comfort zones for getting intimate with a robot not to be considered cheating.
If there’s any secrecy involved, it’s betrayal, and if it’s a sexual betrayal, it’s cheating.
It’s only not cheating if both parties have agreed that something is okay.
If you’re keen to cum in a robot, chat with your partner, explain why, and make sure they’re not filled with self-doubt and despair as a result of your technosexual desires.
Oh, and get saving. Sex robots are pricey.