Meet Roxxxy. Five-foot-seven, 120 pounds, sexually insatiable and fascinated by everything you say. She is the world’s first sex robot. Unlike your standard issue Real Doll, Roxxxy is interactive, touch sensitive, and inspired by Sept. 11.
After the World Trade Center attacks, New Jersey inventor Donald Hines decided to design a program that could store the character of his friend who died. It’s unclear which of Roxxxy’s five downloadable personalities is Hines’s late buddy: “Frigid Farrah” (reserved and shy sexy), “Wild Wendy” (outgoing and adventurous sexy), “S&M Susan” (extreme pleasure / pain sexy), “Young” (spunky, virginal sexy) and “Mature Martha” (experienced, maternal sexy).
It’s also unclear why Hines chose only baby-boomer names. “Young” didn’t get a name, perhaps because he thought that would make having sex with a spunky virgin robot less creepy.
Thanks to the skills of Disney and Muppets animatronics experts, Roxxxy can feel you stroke her shapely prosthetics. She can pillow talk endlessly about the subjects you choose to install. She even has a heart, which pumps cooling fluid through her silicon skin. Roxxxy provides both intimacy and semen depositories (three of them) for men too socially debilitated to find a breathing mate.
Evolutionarily, these men were not meant to sow their seed. So now their seed is safely siphoned away into the rubbery insides of an automaton. Maybe this is good for society. Or maybe training men to get off gazing into vacant eyes and penetrating a paralyzed body is not good for society at all.
Roxxxy is like a Rohypnoled co-ed. Her parted lips and thighs invite fun friction and her frozen lifeless form can’t resist. It’s a little like rape. But it’s become hard to fault men for enacting rape-like fantasies, since women love rape fantasies too.
In a 2009 study of University of North Texas undergraduates, 62 percent of women admitted to having them. According to some sexperts, it’s the most common female fantasy of all.
Rape fantasies are tricky. Women not wanting to be raped is key to the feminist cause. It’s also key to the definition of rape. When I yell at dance floor gropers that women need empowering sexual experiences with men who respect their autonomy, it really doesn’t support my rant that women are into fantasy rape. But many are.
Of course fantasy rape and real rape are different beasts. In fantasy rape you are consenting to non-consent, in control of your non-control, and have zero risk of injury, infections or babies. In real rape you are being raped.
But why should the illusion of non-consent and non-control stoke the lady libido? Some say the idea of a man so overwhelmed with desire that he is driven to sociopathy is an erotic boost to the ego. This might be true for some, but I have a different theory.
Last semester, I read a lot of testimonies of women’s sexual fantasies. I work for an online magazine that solicited them from readers and I had to edit these contributions into a feature. I didn’t have to do it in the back of my seminar “Political Economy of AIDS in Africa,” but I did.
I quickly realized that most of the fantasies were about extreme submission borderline rape and a lot of them were about extreme submission definitely rape.
I also quickly realized that the criminalization of HIV transmission is only hurting the Zimbabwean epidemic. I also quickly realized that I am a bad person.
Fantasy titles ranged from the clearly not rape (“My Made-Up Lover: Marshall, the Hydro-Geologist”) to ambiguously rape (“My Co-Worker, the White Board, and a Bloody Nose”) to very much rape (“During My Commute, I Imagine Being Raped”).
Those involving rape were always about surrendering power: a doctor’s visit, a science experiment, a Russian soldier, an older (often bald) man, incest or alien abduction. Often the women came from religious, conservative homes and giving up sexual control meant giving up responsibility (“Jesus Can’t Blame Me for Being Raped”).
It reminded me of a late night TV documentary I once wa tched about Bondage Discipline Sado-Masochism conventions, where thousands of professionals and avid hobbyists come together for shows, workshops and accessory shopping. I watched a bloodplay demo and an intermediate flogging class. I took a tour through the 24-hour dungeon. Then the filmmaker approached a woman suspended from a leather harness and asked her why exactly this was fun.
Being tied up or strapped down, she said, was the only way she could enjoy sex. She had been raped by her father growing up and afterwards sex always felt wrong and dirty. Losing all control was the only way she could overcome the guilt.
This is an extreme case, but a lot of women have sexual guilt. The guilt of being a “slut,” mainly. Giving up agency — whether through imagined coercion or real leather straps — is a way to escape that feeling. “Bound to be free” is a slogan of the S&M movement.
As submissive as Roxxxy, women may feel free to explore their various sexual selves: “Farrah,” “Wendy,” “Susan,” “Martha” or “Young.” Real women can even go beyond sexbot technology and mix and match. Spunky maternal adventure pain, anyone?