Robot Brothel

Robot sex brothels: good or bad?

Federico Germani

Federico Germani

Federico is a bioethicist and molecular biologist at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. His research focuses on the influence of misinformation on public health. He explores strategies to enhance public resilience against misinformation, with a strong emphasis on risk and crisis communication, trust-building, information and media literacy. Federico is the founder and director of Culturico.

Two years ago, the first sex doll-based brothel was opened in Spain. At the current time, is the growing fame and success of these brothels something to worry about? Are robot sex workers great tools to replace prostitution, or will they be the cause of further societal damage?

In 2017, Lumidolls, the first Robot sex brothel, opened in Barcelona, Spain. Following its success, the company expanded and opened new brothels in Turin (Italy), Moscow (Russia) and Nagoya (Japan).
The company produces and sells robot sex dolls, built to make the customers almost believe they are interacting with a real person. Lumidolls also provides customers with an additional option, to rent a sex doll. The price is currently around 100 Euros per hour.

This is a revolutionary idea, at least for a society that hasn’t been able to successfully fight against prostitution and sexual exploitation.
The advocates of the idea support the move by saying it is a progressive one, as it should help to reduce the demand for sex workers, thus tackling the business of both illegal and legal prostitution.
But is the opening of robot sex brothels really a positive innovation, or is it something bad for our society?
Starting from the positive end of our argumentation, robot brothels – in addition to reducing the request for prostitutes – may allow people with dangerous sexual perversions to find an acceptable solution to their problems.
However, it appears that this is a prime example of “objectification” of the woman’s body.
The woman, from being a figurative object in a patriarchal society, becomes an actual object, something to be used and abused.
In order to counteract this kind of criticism, Lumidolls has made male robot dolls available as well. Although this may render the two genders equal, it does so by objectifying them both.

Robot Brothel
Robot Brothels. Dan Salinas for Culturico. Copyright @ Culturico.

This is however not simply a moral issue, but rather a practical one.
It has been demonstrated that frequent users of pornography develop “unrealistic” sexual needs that may constitute, in some cases, a societal danger.
A constant use of pornography has been linked to a decreased ability of feeling empathic towards potential sexual partners. Further, it also encourages the worsening of compulsive sexual behaviours, causes altered sexual taste (1), addiction and, eventually, decreased satisfaction when in a relationship (1).
It is obvious that what we have just discussed for pornography can be easily translated to sex robots.
The robot object-woman can easily become the real object-woman.
As consuming porn is by itself an “escalating behaviour” that tends to more and more violent forms, sex robots may similarly become a vector to encourage people to believe that sexual violence is somewhat acceptable.

The real issue comes with the number of those who would have sex with robot dolls. In the United States, 15 to 20% of adult men have had sex at least once with a prostitute. Regarding pornography, at least 56% of men in the UK watches porn occasionally, and 15% of them regularly. Although pornography features real people performing sexual acts in videos, it is still perceived as an “abstract” entity. Porn users do not have the perception of being confronted with real people when they watch online adult videos. Basically, actors or amateurs are perceived as “technological entities”.
The demand for sex robots would probably lie somewhere between that of prostitution and of pornography. Although the sexual act resembles a real one, robots are still inanimate objects.
We could therefore expect the number of men having sex with robots being somewhere in between these numbers. In other words, this type of sex business could attract more people towards prostitution than real prostitution does.
And although customers won’t deal with real people, the psychological effects would be long lasting and would inevitably also affect those real people that are part of their lives.

These addictions could therefore bleed into society”, normalising sexual violence, and, similar to pornography, may contribute to sexual dissatisfaction within a relationship, leading to increased stress and anxiety.
Indeed, perceived addiction to pornography has been demonstrated to cause psychological distress (2).

In the western world, successful and happy relationships are becoming a mirage (3). Also, psychological distress in the form of depression and anxiety is an increasing problem (4,5).
Has the advent of pornography contributed to these issues? Are robot sex workers going to worsen these problems? As sexual health actively and strongly contributes to our mental stability, sex robots could represent a major burden for our already fragile modern gender relations. In terms of sexuality, we live in a rapidly changing society and our nature, our deep beliefs, are not keeping up the pace. In this time, men are most fragile they have ever been, also as a consequence of the large availability of free and easily accessible pornography and cheap prostitution. Our patriarchal society gives men the freedom to experience sexuality in a way that does not correspond to reality, to the will of their female counterparts.
Sex robots are therefore just another step further in the process of technological separation between the sexual expectations of men and women.


Federico Germani



  1. Morgan, E.M., “Associations between young adults’ use of sexually explicit materials and their sexual preferences, behaviours, and satisfaction”, J Sex Res, 2011.
  2. Grubbs, J.B. et al., “Perceived addiction to Internet pornography and psychological distress: examining relationships concurrently and over time.”, Psychol Addict Behav, 2015.
  3. Härkönen, J., “Divorce: trends, patterns, causes, consequences”, chapter in “The Wiley-Blackwell companion to the sociology of families”, 2014.
  4. Bandelow, B., “Epidemiology of anxiety in the 21stcentury”, Dialogues Clin Neurosci, 2015.
  5. Hidaka, B.H., “Depression as a disease of modernity: explanations for increasing prevalence”, J Affect Disord, 2013.
Received: 07.05.19, Ready: 28.05.19, Editors: CV, RG.

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14 thoughts on “Robot sex brothels: good or bad?

  1. It is, of course, intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that over the course of the next two or three centuries women will become extinct because of a catastrophic shortage of toxic masculinity. It is so obvious, that I am afraid you might be bored or insulted by my laying out the framework of the problem. Still, I think it is an interesting intellectual exercise to calculate exactly how long it will take for women to become extinct.

    As you are no doubt aware, in every progressive country, the birthrate has dropped below what is needed to maintain the population. In Italy they have already calculated how long it will take for Italians to become extinct. This, of course, is due to a lack of toxic masculinity.

    Primates, great apes and humans, practice female exogamy. The female of the species becomes moody and unhappy on entering puberty, she cannot stand her family, and she wanders off into the territory of a neighboring kinship group. She is captured and raped by a member of said group and achieves reproductive success. Marriage by abduction is the normal means by which humans reproduce. Human females are not adapted to reproduce successfully without being raped and beaten. So, in every culture where human females are not being raped and beaten in sufficient numbers, the birthrate has fallen below what is needed to sustain the population. The data for calculating that variable is widely available.

    Technology will make this a females only problem in the next couple of decades. Last week they announced successfully making egg cells. It will only be a few years before they can grow artificial wombs and bring infants to term in artificial wombs in hospitals or special purpose creches. So, in two or three decades, women will be obsolete as a means of having children. Exact data for when these discoveries will be financially viable is somewhat more difficult to calculate.

    A recent study by the Marriage Institute found that men who were divorced lived on average five to ten years less than men who never married. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, there is about a five percent chance of having a genetic predisposition to a dangerous addiction to heroin or cocaine. So, women are literally ten times more hazardous to a man’s health than heroine or cocaine. Women have menopause, an adaptation to female exogamy which allowed them to increase their reproductive success by staying alive long enough to aid their sons to reproduce successfully. Most organisms die after their reproductive life is over. menopause prevents this in women. Men do not have menopause, divorce sends a message to their genetic programming saying their reproductive life is over. So they die. There are probably also other psychological and emotional stresses which contribute to the result. The same study found no correlation between a woman’s marital status and her life expectancy.

    These are real deaths with real costs associated with them. Insurance and health care providers whether private or governmental will eventually have to take them into account when making policies. Corporations faced with a fifty percent chance of an employee married to a woman suffering this trauma with resulting emotional and work problems will be forced to prefer men with stepford wives to men with real wives.

    These variables while predictable and inevitable are difficult to calculate. However, they will act to accelerate the extinction of women. Men having children with artificial wombs will have boys more often than girls, women having babies naturally will have a natural proportion of the sexes. More men will be born in each generation until women are a small minority or extinct. This process will be accelerated by the systematic abuse of men by women as illustrated in the study by the Marriage Institute.

    So, that is a summary fo the variables, knowns and unknowns. It is inevitable, of course, nothing to be done to stop it, but how long will it take before women become extinct?

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