By now, you’ve probably heard of sex 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 sex with a robot, according to a recent YouGov survey.
The recent advancements in sex robot technology, not to mention the growing number of people who would consider having sex with one, bring up a lot of crucial questions—among them, does sleeping with a sex 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 sex 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 sex toy,” she said, adding that “if a partner is concerned that their significant other is cheating by playing around with a sex robot, then clearly there are bigger issues in their relationship that need to be addressed.” (Want to pick up some incredible sex 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 sex robots, Hogi warned not to overlook the potential for emotional cheating. “If you develop an attachment to a sex 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 sex robots. There’s still plenty of debate, for instance, on whether or not sex with a robot constitutes, well, sex.
“14% of US adults would label having sex 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 sex with a robot count as cheating? Is sex with a robot actually “sex”? The jury’s still out—and it’s up to you and your partner to draw the line.