Becoming Bots: The Rise of Android Fetishism
The other side of sexbot popularity: the desire to become one!
Ever since Pygmalion, the fable of a sculptor falling for his creation, was first performed, a sizable portion of the audience fantasized themselves as the statue instead of the artist wielding the chisel.
Replace marble with plastic and metal, and thousands of years later, nothing’s changed.
If anything, the growing acceptance of robots as sexual playmates and artificial companions has made it the desire to become artificial more popular than ever before.
This leads us to ponder a pair of fascinating questions. The first, naturally, is what are the social, psychological, and sexual roots of android fetishism?
And the second—as this is Future of Sex, after all—pondering where role-playing as something made rather than someone might take us in the coming years.
‘I am programmed in multiple techniques—’
Though there’s no consensus over why people are attracted to the fantasy of becoming artificial, as sexual desires vary widely from individual to individual, the ASFR community has been quite open regarding the allure of these kinds of android fantasies.
Named after the long-since extinct Usenet group, alt.sex.fetish.robots, ASFR, frequently use the term “transformation” to describe being consensually turned into something artificial or, with an obvious connection to BDSM power exchange dynamics, against their will as part of a role-play scenario.
The site Maid-Bots, another term used for these sexual desires, describes it this way:
“An important fantasy for some individuals is being transformed into the preferred object (such as a maid-bot) and experiencing an associated state of immobility, loss-of-control or paralysis. “
Giving us an extra-added boost toward the idea of android fetishism, at least partly, walking hand in hand with kink: bondage in particular, which often focuses on the sexual excitement of relinquishing control of one’s body.
There’s also the psychological side.
On the surface, it could be all about the cosplay: fans getting off on dressing up and pretending to a robot or android they have an erotic affinity for.
For instance, Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, from whose dialogue about being sexually proficient, is this article’s subheadings.
Sticking with Data, for those struggling with conditions like depression or anxiety, there’s also the appeal of swapping out all those noisy, frustrating neurons for a smoothly-running positronic brain via mental transformation along with a physical one.
‘A broad variety of pleasuring—’
Whether enjoying them as a sexual playmate, an emotional support companion, or a combination of a two—or more, sexbot fanciers deserve all the well-intentioned attention they’ve been getting.
But what with all this positive exposure regarding that side of ASFR culture, the transformation side might, at first glance, appear to be in the minority.
As measuring this kind of thing is problematic, to put it mildly, a good indication that wanting to play as instead of play with a robot has a large and getting larger fanbase.
Visit any rave, any Burning Man styled free-spirit shindig, or send a few minutes searching cyborg, android, robot, or similar terms on Etsy, and you’ll see how in vogue android fetish-styled accouterments have gotten.
But what does all this mean in the grand scheme of things? If the sexual desire to be made into something else has been around since the Parthenon, if not older, and shows no sign of going away anytime soon, where could it go from here?
‘If you prick me, do I not… leak?’
By now, we should be familiar with the well-documented fact that adult entertainment has been, and will continue to be, a major driving force of technological innovation.
Or, you could say, if you lust after it, then they’ll build it. Sexbots are proof of that, as is virtual and augmented reality, various media formats, the Internet—the list goes on and on.
That in mind, let’s begin with sexbot manufacturing jumping from where it is now, at impulse, to—keeping our Star Trek theme going—warp speed. This proliferation eventually mainstreams robot eroticism, with brothels featuring them now commonplace—while the well-off walk hand-in-hand with their very own synthetic lovers.
Needless to say, this sexbot boom would equal an explosion of android fetishism. Ironically, here the idea of sexbots furthering women’s objectification might go from a nightmare scenario to a sexually liberating dream-come-true when it’s a consensual choice instead of rising from misogyny. Food for thought, at any rate.
Back to wanting to cash in on things, human sexworkers might cosplay as androids, offering simulated artificial erotic experiences for those unable to afford—and here’s where more irony kicks in—the real thing.
Sextech will also rise to the occasion by selling more and more ways to flesh-out our transformative fantasies.
Take VR, for instance: imagine looking down at your body and seeing that modular components, circuits, and wires steadily replacing your human anatomy? Meanwhile, fans of the immobility aspect to android fetishism will delight in having their freedom-of-movement ticked away in a robotic BDSM play session.
Jumping farther in the future, as artificial enhancements move from replacing damaged limbs and organs to enhancing human abilities and from there to a fashion statement, what was once a fetish fantasy morphs into a cybernetic reality.
Then there’ll be the time when “synthetic” and “biological” lose all meaning: a day when, to use one final Trek callback, humanity will achieve the best of both worlds.
‘I could be pursuing an untamed ornithoid without cause—’
Will any of this happen?
No one knows, which is what makes these kinds of games so fun: just look at what’s happened, what’s happening, and what might, or might not, be the end result—for better or worse, depending on if you’re optimistic or cynical.
We do know, though, that android fetishism, the sexual desire to transform into an artificial construct, is here to stay and, considering how things in sexbot-land are perking along, will no doubt gain momentum as time goes on.
But, more than accuracy, what’s important to take away from this is every fantasy, as long as they remain a source of pleasure, is a good one—especially when they help us change, no matter how that is, for the better.
Image sources: Grisha Levit, WikiCommons