Moving beyond stereotypes and penetrative sex.
Over at Autostraddle, contributor Heather Davidson takes readers through their endeavor to build a lesbian sex robot. While the article is meant to be comical—and the project was ultimately unsuccessful— it brings up a persistent issue in sexbot development: a lack of variation beyond heteronormative sex.
“Despite the incredible potential for innovative, inclusive design, pretty much every sex robot on the market right now could be described as a glorified blow-up sex doll, built by and for straight, cis men looking for penetrative sex—with a robot. Even the very few companies marketing robots for women mould them in stereotypically male bodies and promote them on the strength of their bionic penises.”
Inspiration to create the lesbian sexbot hit Davidson after attending last year’s sex tech hackathon at Goldsmith’s University in London. They’d already bought a robotic arm on a whim, and now had something to do with it.
Davidson admits they mostly built it for a laugh. They also acknowledge their own sexbot, essentially made of the robotic arm and a dildo, didn’t buck any trends.
“In a world where money, time and my own utter lack of engineering skills were no object, I’d build something entirely removed from the dichotomy of penetration,” Davidson told me in an email.
Regardless of how the robot turned out, Davidson’s humorous story provides us with something deeper. It implicitly calls for more queer people to participate in sexbot development in order to overthrow gender stereotypes.
Davidson also told me why the sex toy market, in particular, has fared better, and pointed out the need for some unconventional investor to support different projects.
“We’ve only seen such innovation in the sex toy market because underserved groups have managed to carve out a space in the industry to create what they want to see. Sex robots require a much larger investment, so unless we can find an eccentric billionaire looking to fund experimental sexbot technology, sex robots may be stuck in their rut for a while yet.”
Read Davidson’s full article at Autostraddle.
Image source: Heather Davidson