We know you're just asking for a friend, but if they were curious, there's no evidence that having sex with a robot is good for your health.
A new intensive summary on robot sex compiled by a pair of doctors in the U.K. — cheekily titled "I, Sex Robot: the health implications of the sex robot industry" — found absolutely no primary data "relating to health aspects of the use of sex robots," and called for more research.
"The overwhelmingly predominant market for sexbots will be unrelated to healthcare. Thus the 'health' arguments made for their benefits, as with so many advertised products, are rather specious," researchers Chantal Cox-George and Susan Bewley wrote in their report, published in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.
"Currently, the 'precautionary principle' should reject the clinical use of sexbots until their postulated benefits, namely 'harm limitation' and 'therapy', have been tested empirically."
The future is now
There are already four different companies that sell "adult sexbots", ranging between US$5,000 (~R65,000) and US$15,000 (~R195,000), the authors said. So far, only female sexbots have been created, as the market is primarily men, they added.
The robots are best described as realistic mannequins available in various ages and appearances, with "customisable oral, vaginal and anal openings," the authors said.
Some of the previously suggested benefits to sex with robots — other than having sex with robots — have been safer sex, a therapeutic potential, a potential to treat paedophiles and sex offenders, and even a change to societal norms, the researchers noted.
"However, the concern is that sexbots may do the opposite by reducing real human contact, blurring reality (programming someone to do exactly what you want is not reality), encouraging unsafe practices that may then be used on humans, and creating unrealistic expectations of mates," Dr Bruce Y Lee, associate professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in Forbes.
"I predict their availability will give couples greater opportunity to define their own types of marriages. One example might be that more couples could choose 'companionship marriages' that do not involve sex but focus solely on the creation of a family," economics professor Marina Adshade said in a press release.
The evidence isn't there
The lack of evidence for the therapeutic value, or even sexual satisfaction, of sex robots, will "hardly dampen market forces," the researchers noted.
"Potential profits and rising demand will incentivise companies to produce cheaper sexbots. Technological advances will drive competition to create the most affordable but desirable model," they said.
"If you think that lack of scientific evidence will prevent people from making claims about sexbot benefits, then you need to connect better with reality. When has lack of evidence prevented everyone from saying something?" Lee said in Forbes.
So, for those who want (and can afford) to get it on with a sexbot, go for it. Literally, embrace technology and all its benefits!
Just don't expect your doctor to prescribe one anytime soon.