By now, you’ve probably heard of $ex robots, the eerily-realistic sexual cyborgs capable of recalling people’s faces, holding conversations, and even orgasm. Maybe you’re even among the 1 in 4 American men who’d be down to have s*x with a robot, according to a recent YouGov survey.
The recent advancements in s*x robot technology, not to mention the growing number of people who would consider having s*x with one, bring up a lot of crucial questions—among them, does sleeping with a s*x robot constitute cheating on your partner? The YouGov survey respondents were divided, with 32% saying it should be considered cheating and 33% saying it shouldn’t.
To help settle the score, we asked three dating and relationship coaches to weigh in.
Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, said that sex robots are “creepy, but I do not think it’s cheating to have $ex with one.”
“A robot, no matter how life-like it may seem, is not a real person, it is just a hyped-up version of a $ex toy,” she said, adding that “if a partner is concerned that their significant other is cheating by playing around with a $ex robot, then clearly there are bigger issues in their relationship that need to be addressed.” (Want to pick up some incredible s*x tips?
The line was blurrier for the two other sources we polled. Relationship writer Andrea Syrtash, author of Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband), said it’s largely up to the individual couple to define what cheating means to them.
“Monogamous couples define ‘cheating’ differently,” she said. “For some, getting ‘too close’ emotionally with another person is crossing the line. For others, it’s about physical sexual contact.”
Dating coach Francesca Hogi felt the same way, saying that what constitutes as cheating is between between you and your partner, and determining whether or not a given act is “outside the bounds of your implicit or explicit understanding… about intimacy and fidelity.”
When it comes to s*x robots, Hogi warned not to overlook the potential for emotional cheating. “If you develop an attachment to a s*x robot, or it supplants your intimacy with your partner and it happens without your partner’s knowledge, then yes, I believe it would be cheating,” she said.
If the YouGov survey made anything clear, it’s that Americans are still grappling with what to make of $ex robots. There’s still plenty of debate, for instance, on whether or not s*x with a robot constitutes, well, s*x.
“14% of US adults would label having s*x with a robot as intercourse, while one in three (33%) would consider it more akin to masturbation,” the YouGov survey said. “And 27% of respondents didn’t feel either category did the act justice.”
So does $ex with a robot count as cheating? Is s*x with a robot actually “s*x”? The jury’s still out—and it’s up to you and your partner to draw the line.