The Rise of DigiSexuality Could See Us Falling in Love With People Who Don’t Exist by Ellen Scott
….Digisexuality is a form of attraction primarily through the use of technology.
Those who identify as digisexual may be attracted to sex robots, AI, digitally created imagery or only feel arousal when engaging in sexual activity with a machine rather than a human.
Akihiko Kondo has a happy marriage with his wife, a hologram of a virtual reality popstar called Hatsune Miku.
Neither the original Hatsune Miku nor the hologram are human beings and so he is in love with a concept of a person, someone who exists in terms of an idea.
He says he’s always been in love with Miku. Each morning his personalised hologram of the singer wakes him up, says goodbye when he goes to work and turns on the lights for his arrival back home.
He says he’s simply not attracted to human beings, only feeling attraction to his wife and wants recognition of digisexuality as a valid identity.
‘I believe we must consider all kinds of love and all kinds of happiness,’ he said. ‘It’s simply not right [to try to change these feelings], it’s as if you were trying to talk a gay man into dating a woman, or a lesbian into a relationship with a man.’
Akihiko’s relationship is considered unusual. But in the future, as sex robots become more readily available, AI progresses and social attitudes shift, could having a relationship with someone who doesn’t exist be considered entirely normal?
We might already be part of the way there.
Dr Markie Twist and Dr Neil McArthur coined the ‘digisexual’ label and see technology used for pornography, sexting, and teledildonics (remote sexual devices) as the first wave of digisexuality.
‘Those who engage in first wave digisexual activities like watching online porn or online dating (for example) most likely do not consider themselves digisexuals,’ Dr Markie Twist, of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, tells Metro.co.uk. We should now be prepared, they say, for the second wave.
The second wave describes people whose primary sexual identity comes through the use of tech.
‘Those who do and/or will engage in second wave digisexual activities like sex with robots may consider themselves a digisexual,’ Dr Twist says.
‘Their primary engagement with sex tech is the engagement with the technology itself – not as a mediator for human connection/partners.’
‘In other words, their orientation is to the technology itself not to humans.’ This means that other humans are taken out of the process.
While the focus on digisexuality is currently on sexbots, there’s potential to be explored in virtual reality and AI.
…There’s the social stigma of not having a ‘real’ significant other to contend with but that could disappear as we grow to accept the greater presence of tech in our bedrooms.
Dr Neil McArthur tells Metro.co.uk that by 2050, ‘digisexuals will probably make up around 3% of the population.’
That might not sound massive but Neil believes that in the next few decades, identifying as digisexual will be regarding with the same respect as other minority sexualities, and will fight for inclusion within LGBTQ+ spaces.
‘By that time it will simply be regarded as one shade in the kaleidoscope of human sexuality that people will by that time just take for granted,’ Dr McArthur, of the University of Manitoba, says. ‘It will sit alongside other alternative sexual identities such as kink and the different forms of non-monogamy.
…‘Most human beings aren’t attracted to objects,’ Prof Richardson tells us. ‘If men could have substituted women with an interest in objects, they would have.
‘Most men, even the ones who claim to be all for sex robots, are unlikely to be aroused by a rubber doll with a bit of mechanics.
‘It’s a lie that humans are in relationships with robots and AI. Digisexual is a term made up to describe men who fantasise with rubber dolls with tech.
There’s only one commercially available head that can be put on a doll’s body that costs thousands to buy.
‘The primary buyers of these are sex dolls fetishists… agalmatophilia [an attraction to statues], digiphilia is probably a better description of what might develop.’