50 out of 100 People Believe Sex with a Robot Is Cheating
New research from the Kinsey Institute reveals a divide in public perception of human-robot relationships.
Every day, we get closer to having robots as relationship partners. But, as we get closer, we also approach the point that robots might exist alongside our human partners.
This creates an important question: if someone in a relationship has sex with a robot, would that be considered cheating? According to researchers at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, about 50% of people say it is.
‘Sex robots and digital infidelity'
These findings were presented by Ellen Kaufman in her talk, “Sex Robots and Digital Infidelity: Attitudes toward Technology-mediated Extradyadic Sexual Behavior” at the 2021 Congress on Love and Sex with Robots.
A panel of judges awarded the research Best Rapid Talk for its contribution to the field.
In a study of over 7,000 respondents, participants answered questions about whether they might consider a variety of physical behaviors, such as sex with another person, and digital behaviors, such as watching pornography, as infidelity.
Virtual sexual experiences may be perceived as cheating
The first findings suggested that watching pornography alone was not considered a cheating behavior. Online sexual behavior, such as sending and receiving sexual chats or videos, was closer to cheating, but was less like cheating than sex with another person.
Oral sex and penetrative sex with human partners were both viewed equally as cheating.
Humanoid robots and monogamous relationships
In the second set of findings, the researchers found that about 50% of people believed that sex with a humanoid robot was cheating, while the other 50% believed that sex with a humanoid robot was not cheating.
Women were more sensitive to cheating than men. However, both men and women reported that they would be less upset with a partner cheating if they also viewed sex with a robot as not cheating.
Similarly, both men and women who believe sex with a robot is cheating would also be upset if their partner cheated with another human.
Lastly, there were similar findings for both heterosexual and queer participants.
Heterosexual participants were more likely to be upset if their partner cheated compared to queer participants.
Both heterosexual and queer participants were also more sensitive to cheating if they believed sex with a robot was infidelity.
Physical sexual experiences most considered as cheating
Overall, the findings from this study suggest that there may be a digital/physical divide in cheating, with people being more sensitive to physical versus digital cheating.
While this is an early study with some important considerations in the future, it gives us important information on how our society views robots.
The current research for the SIA researchers is focusing on long-distance and video dating in the year 2020. For more information or to participate, you can visit their website Singles in America.