Sex robots could one day help failing marriages.
According to an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, the futuristic droids could improve marriages by making husbands and wives focus more on love and parenting, instead of sexual compatibility.
In a book called 'Robot Sex: Social and Ethical Implications,' professor Marina Adshade claims the advent of sex robots will change our societal norms around marriage, particularly when it comes to monogamy.
Adshade refers to this phenomenon as 'sex-bot induced social change' and compares it to the societal impacts of birth control when it was first commercialized.
'I predict their availability will give couples greater opportunity to define their own types of marriages,' Adshade explained.
'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.'
When early stage birth control was first introduced in the 1900s, experts at the time believed that it would lead to the dissolution of marriage, as men would be able to find sex elsewhere other than their wives.
By contrast, couples continued to marry, while attitudes around women's sexual behaviors and interests evolved.
'The practice of contraception led husbands and wives to the conviction that they need not be in the least ashamed of their desires for each other,' Social commentator Walter Lippmann said at the time, according to Slate.
Women were no longer assumed to be passive participants in sex with their partner; instead, they were allowed to admit they enjoyed intimacy with their husband.
Increasing contraceptive use also coincided with the rise of female economic independence. Again, many predicted this would result in fewer marriages.
However, a Pew Research study in 2012 found that 81 percent of 45-year-old men and 86 percent of 45-year-old women had been married at some point in their lifetime - meaning that marriage was still going strong.
Similarly, some believe that the rise of sexbots is likely to result in young adults choosing to remain single, due to their sexual needs being met by robots.
Adshade believes both single and married people will embrace sex robots, but that it will result in 'higher quality' marriages overall.
'I don't see sex robots as substitutes for human companionship but rather as complements to human companionship,' Adshade explained.
'Just because we might enjoy the company of robots doesn't mean that we cannot also enjoy the company of humans, or that having robots won't enhance our relationships with humans.
'...Moreover, if sexual access through sexbot technology is a complement to household production, then we could observe an increase in the quality of marriages and, as a result, a reduction in rates of divorce,' she added.
Without the stress of having to find a partner that's sexually compatible, it could vastly improve the quality of marriages.
She said sexbots will not alter the 'biological imperative' of wanting to share your life and raise children with another individual.
'But it would make it possible for individuals to choose that human being based on characteristics other than mutual sexual desire—to disentangle the association of sexual intimacy and life as a family,' Adshade said.
As sexual compatibility becomes less important in marriage, society's definition of who can marry one another, and acceptable sexual behaviors, is likely to change as well.
She suggests that two heterosexual women could form a household together, as their sexual demands are met by sexbots. Likewise, a homosexual man might be able to raise children with a straight woman.
It could also result in an increase of polygamous relationships, as definitions of 'socially acceptable' promiscuity evolve.
Adshade also believes it could create 'superior environments for children,' since married partners are focused more on nonsexual companionship, resulting in a more amicable environment for children.
Ultimately, what leads to drastic societal changes such as the rise of sexbots is that there are existing undercurrents signalling that's what people want.
'In much the same way, a change in attitudes toward marriage may already be underway and gearing up to drive the widespread adoption of sexbot technology,' Adshade noted.
'We can already see a small-scale revolution brought on by people demanding the acceptance of nonmonogamy in marriage and, more broadly, the abandonment of a universal concept of marriage.'