More sex in Australia


Sex robots are on their way to Australia

HARMONY is blonde, busty and full-lipped, with a pleasant greeting voice and a steely gaze.

She knows what turns you on, she wants to hear about your life, and — complete with her low-cut scarlet lace dress — she can be all yours if your wallet is heavy enough.

No, we’re not trying to pitch you a high-class escort. We’re actually talking about sex robots — who are coming to Australia in more ways than one.

Oh, wipe that look off your face. It’s no secret that technology is changing the sex industry, and we can’t help but be curious as to what that entails.

But a rising interest in the advancement of sex robots has sparked much debate over whether they’ll lead humanity towards an isolated, ethically problematic Westworld-esque existence.

Bentleigh Gibson, National Event Director of SEXPO, believes the sex industry is amid a technological revolution — and these walking, talking robots are at the forefront of it.

"You can have a full conversation with Harmony," he told news.com.au. "She can remember facts about you and relay them back to you at a future date and time. She’s fully interactive."

There is a stigma around sex dolls, with people who use them often viewed as socially awkward, unable to get a "real" partner, or even perverted. But Mr Gibson believes this will change over time.

"It’s the same as how internet dating was frowned upon in the mid-to-late 90s," he said. "But once it’s adopted early and once the cost of production and the purchase prices are reduced, I think we’ll see a widespread adoption of this technology.

"These dolls can allow users to explore their sexuality — whether that be in a solo or a partner setting."

According to Matt McCullen, the creator of Harmony and CEO & Creative Director at Realbotix, told news.com.au the dolls are designed to feel as close to "the real thing" as production will allow.

He described the design process as a kind of "creative art", saying he looks to the client’s fantasies for inspiration.

"Sometimes I have references, say a nose I like or an eye shape, or high cheekbones. Beyond these general ideas, I work on a sculpture until I feel the character has been created. Often we are also relying on requests from our clients in terms of new body types etc."

And, uh, the question of cleaning the thing? Simpler than you might think.

"The parts that require cleaning are modular and removable," he said. "This makes cleaning pretty straightforward."


Some experts have questioned whether sex robots would ruin people’s ability to have healthy sexual relationships.

With the rise of the internet, experts have made a similar argument regarding the ubiquity and mass-consumption of pornography.

Noel Sharkey, from the Foundation for Responsible Robotics, said: "We’re just doing all this stuff with machines because we can, and not really thinking how this could change humanity completely.

"Some people have suggested that sex robots create an attitude of ‘too-easy’ sex which is always available."

He warned this could "take the meaning out of users’ lives" and "turn them into zombies".

But Mr Gibson thinks these lifelike robots can actually help people who struggle to meet significant others. "I think these robots can help people have better, healthier sex lives," he said. "We had naysayers predict an army of zombies with the gaming revolution. The healthy balance in consumption is the key to enjoying it.

"These robots can be used to assist users with an impairment in some ways, or people with social and intimacy issues. It allows them to explore their curiosities in a safe and secure environment."


In recent years, commentators have also campaigned against sex robots by arguing it encourages people to consider women as property, due to the submissive nature of the humanoids.

Last year, a controversial robot named ‘Frigid Farrah’ made headlines over its resistance setting. The doll — launched by US-based company True Companion, was described as "reserved and shy", and programmed to actively resist sexual advances, The Sun reported.

But according to Mr Gibson, women are actually beginning to drive the demand for the robots.

"You’ll find there is a growing market for male sex robots as well, not just female sex robots for male use," he said. "Females are now in the majority in terms of patronage to SEXPO, as well as being the main demographic deciding to attend SEXPO with their friends or partners.

"There is definitely a shift and we’re only seeing those figures increase every show-on-show."

On that note, meet Henry, Harmony’s male counterpart:

Mr McCullen agreed there was definitely a growing trend for sex robots among women.

"I do notice a much higher degree of interest from females for the male robots, verses the dolls," he said.

"I think the fact that the robots can carry on conversations and recall things about the user is something that may appeal to women more.

"The robot’s AI will ask the person’s gender in addition to other facts, and will use this information accordingly in interactions."


While the "sex robot" industry is still developing — and still carries a certain label — he believes this will change in line with technological advancements over the coming years.

"I feel that in 20 years, or maybe even less, this technology is going to become very commonplace," Mr McCullen said. "Human looking robots will come very close to passing for humans, and will play various roles in our lives, both at home and in the workplace.

"The fact that some of them will be sex capable will only be a feature, not a separate type of robot altogether. To create an amazing ‘sex robot’, one must first build an amazing robot."

Mr Gibson agreed. "I think Australia’s attitude towards sex leans more towards the experimental than puritanical side," he said.

"Some of our institutions suppress the conversation around sexual innovation, but people have a real appetite for this kind of information."


Evaluation of the Anxiolytic and Antidepressant Effects of Alcoholic Extract of Kaempferia parviflora in Aged Rats [2007]

To date, the search for novel pharmacotherapy from medicinal plants for psychiatric illnesses has significantly progressed. The present study was performed to evaluate the anxiolytic and antidepressant like activities of the K.parviflora rhizome extract. Aged male Wistar rats were orally administered the alcoholic extract of this plant at various doses ranging from 100, 200 and 300 mg kg 1 BW once daily for 7 days. The anxiolytic and antidepressant activities were performed after both single and repetitive treatment for 7 days using elevated plus maze and forced swimming tests respectively. The results showed that the extract decreased immobility time with the increase swimming time. However, no changes in number of open arm entries and time spent in open arm were observed. These results suggested the anti-depression activity of the plant extract. Therefore, K.parviflora may be served as a potential resource for natural psychotherapeutic agent against depression. However, further studies were still required.


More sex in Australia

Sex in other places