In the future teenagers may lose their virginity to sex robots, according to an expert.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival, professor Noel Sharkey from Sheffield University warned that android sex dolls may have damaging consequences for society.
He said: “Sex robots are accessible now and certainly [will be common] within the next 10 years. I think there will be an age limit. Certainly there should be, but if your dad or mum had one, you could sneak in and use it.”
He added:”‘It’s not a problem having sex with a machine. But what if it’s your first time, your first relationship? What do you think of the opposite sex then? What do you think a man or a woman is?
“It will get in the way of real life, stopping people forming relationships with normal people.”
Recently there has also been a warning that the rise of sex robots could cause performance anxiety in men and women who fear they can’t match the lovemaking skills of amorous androids.
Technological advances means sex with human-looking androids – previously the stuff of science fiction films like Ex Machina – is becoming a reality.
Artificial intelligence expert David Levy predicts that as people get more comfortable with robotics, sexual relations – and even love and marriage – with androids will become more and more popular.
But because these male and female sex robots will be built to the user’s specific ideals of perfection, those with less-than-perfect human bodies could become anxious about whether their partner is pleased by them.
The proportion of young people who are willing to go on a date with a robot is significantly higher than the overall proportion of British adults – only 17% of whom were willing.
“Our bodies, our identities and our senses are enhancing thanks to technology and societal shifts,” said Ghislaine Boddington, co-founder and creative director of East London design unit body>data>space.