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An ethical argument for sex robots as a human right

Who could be most helped by sex robots? The answer is not the young, heterosexual males to whom most sexbots are marketed, a demographic least in need of in-home sexual aid. A gripping new article in the Journal of Medical Ethics presents the case for “reimagining sex robots as a product for older, disabled people.”

Nancy Jecker, a professor of bioethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, chronicles how later-life sexuality is alive and not-so-well for isolated older people, many of whom face mobility difficulties. She says that sexual capacities are essential functions, intimately tied to physical, mental and emotional health, and that making sex robots available for older people is a societal responsibility.

“Designing and marketing sex robots for older, disabled people would represent a sea change from current practice. The reason to do it is to support human dignity and to take seriously the claims of those whose sexuality is diminished by disability or isolation. Society needs to make reasonable efforts to help them,” says Jecker.

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