who has two thumbs, a vagina, and doesn’t blink? the new sex robot

by Violet Blue on January 10, 2010


Image of two sex dolls by the amazing Stacy Leigh.

Happily not attending the AEE porn trade show or AVN (trade magazine) porn awards, and watching the meltdowns and sadness from afar, I’ve been pruning through what little press there’s been about it this year. Attendance for AEE/AVN (same difference) is way down and sales are off by at least 50%, not surprisingly for an event that recognizes only an ever-shrinking business subset of commercial porn — and professes to be the experts and epicenter of all things porn. Some of my friends were told by major studios that they work for, when said friends asked if they could decline attendance of the event, that *not* attending was not an option. From their anecdotes, it’s easy to conclude that the business interests involved are only just packing the place with bodies to keep up appearances. It’s been very difficult not to make fun of mainstream press fluffing the event like it’s 2006, though there’s been very little of it, but of course any tech-sex crossover items will inevitably catch my eye. So, speaking of bodies, breathing or otherwise…

The Friday ABC item High-Tech Sex? Porn Flirts With the Cutting Edge almost got a full Onionesque sendup here, by me; it’s probably one of the best examples of the worst sex journalism we can find — complete with a hilarious and nonsensical lede about Christian Biblical characters Adam and Eve. And then a follow up that the porn industry always merges cutting edge tech with sex. Wow, two fairy tales in one opener! I remember reading onward, hoping for a “LOL” in the next graf. I was let down, LOL. Anyway, from the piece I gleaned a nugget about an alleged sex robot to be switched on — and its price revealed, omg — during the convention on Saturday. The product is a life-sized silicone sex doll with a charmingly retro stripper name: “Roxxxy” (unfortunately “Lexxxus” had been taken, and then revoked by angry execs at Toyota for federal trademark infringement) has been stuffed like a turkey with sensors and AI embeds, via a company — er, a guy with a company website — called True Companion.

According to the ABC piece, Roxxxy (who sources now tell me was named by the community forums at I Can Haz Cheezburger) was “modeled after a Caucasian fine arts student” which has to be the most beautiful piece of overlyspecific marketing information ever spun and mindlessly regurgitated by a major media news outlet. ABC, wiping a thin piece of filament-like drool from the corner of its mouth and fastening its daytime helmet a little too snugly, subsequently refused to sully its skirts by actually linking to the website. Turns out, this was a smart move. A quick visit to TrueCompanion.com (the old fashioned way, with my pale unexcercised hands managing to manually paste the URL) revealed to me that there is no there, there. Seriously, don’t bother until the dude gets a blog, or something. Or Twitter. Anything. The site is just a few page placeholders — no images of product, nothing to see, move along — with forms to take your contact information, and sucks for you if anything happens to your data. This website is a fine example of true porn entrepreneurial marketing style; its main characteristics are that there is no quantifiable reason to link to the website, and there is no transparency about anything. So I filed it away in my porn-soaked brain to wait and see if any reputable gadget blogs would wander by the flailing tradeshow and check it out. Hopefully it would be Gizmodo, who like to stick their fingers in weird things.

Today there are about 200 articles mindlessly repeating the story of Roxxxy the riveted sex doll, who was indeed switched on yesterday. Her maker Douglas Hines has respectable credentials, and the tech put into the making of his AI sex toy is interesting, though it’s not as advanced as other androids hitting the market. And unfortunately Hines states on camera that he’s made the “world’s first sex robot.” Oops. And news outlets are regurgitating this statement even though it’s false. Great work, guys. But really, it’s like all these different sexbot makers are advanced in different areas, and if they’d just combine forces and tech, or just talk to each other, we’d have a really freaky-real sex doll.

I really wish that whenever you read “Roxxxy” you could hear the screech of a Spinal Tap guitar riff. I don’t have that technology yet, but my cat is working on it right now in his sleep.

It’s a peek into someone’s psyche, for sure, even moreso when we see this 69adget post (autoplay warning) cross-posted around, stating things like “Men have often dreamed it, but it hasn’t become a reality until today: the sex robot.” Um, really? But props to 69adget for getting photos of the doll and a nice long video. Here’s what happened during the Roxxxy demo:

Roxxxy does not move. She looks depressed. Maybe it’s because of her survivor shame about 9/11. Seriously, in the video when Hines started talking about 9/11 after his companionship spiel (it’s a sex toy, for frak’s sake), I thought we were going to hear a tale of heroism where a fearless naked sex doll saves lives during the tragedy. I imagined it went like this:

INTERIOR: Twin Towers
A smoke and dust filled emergency exit stairwell. A naked white sex robot begins to pick a male survivor up from the rubble-strewn stairs.

SURVIVOR
Hey, you’re a naked sex doll.

ROXXXY
I like to hold hands.

When I came to, Hines was still talking, but was digging around in Roxxxy’s vagina with his fingers in front of a crowd and disturbingly she still wasn’t moving. Anyway… All your multiple personality disorders are belong to Roxxxy. Hines claims that with a form he’ll be able to tailor the $9K body-with-AI to your likes and dislikes, which sounds like it might get kind of boring, but he also has five female sexual personalities already made for plug-n-play action. They’re not stereotypical or creepy at all. They consist of:

* “Frigid Farrah” – when you want to have sex with a girl who doesn’t want to
* “Wild Wendy” – she’s freaky
* “S&M Susan” – her lifeless hand holds the whip; grovel at her boneless feet, worms
* “Young” – eeeewwwwww
* “Mature Martha” – one cool cougar, literally

Um, like, do you think this has an API?

You can get the full scoop without my snark in this video interview and post from BotJunkie:

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 9 comments }

1 Tinamarie Bernard January 13, 2010 at 4:21 am

Hi Violet – I’m a friend of Sarah Estrella’s, over at Examiner.com. I just wanted to say I found this column quite entertaining, and I linked to it in a piece I wrote today about Ms. Roxxxy. Poor thing. NO control over her sexual destiny. A sick shame.
Best/Tinamarie Bernard (Modern Love Examiner)

2 criolle johnny January 11, 2010 at 6:14 pm

“Sex toys are sold to enhance, develop and explore our sexuality, not as something that will hold our hand and chat with us afterward.”
AGAIN I have to be disagreeable. Well, disagree anyway. Sex toys are sold for whatever the buyer wants to do with them.

I also believe a fella named “Comstock” called pretty much ANYTHING sexual a scandal.

This is a VERY entertaining column today!

3 Brian January 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Good grief, the $9K would be much better spent on several lovely & dynamic escorts – at least I would be keeping the money in the economy by donating it to a real woman’s income! :)

4 maxxxie January 11, 2010 at 1:56 am

S&M Susan? Susan? Really? Could there be a less kinky name for an S&M sex bot?

Violet, like yourself my qaulm is with the marketing of this product, I feel like there could be a few different things happening there, aside from targeting the lonely and vaunerable, I feel that the toy is marketed in a way that allows a product that would other wise be seen as lewd or outrageous as a loving companion and faithful friend, not just a sex toy. So deceptive.

Sex toys are sold to enhance, develop and explore our sexuality, not as something that will hold our hand and chat with us afterward. My LELO is a lot less offensive looking than this doll, yet my mobile phone company didn’t MMS an news update
with it in the headlines.
I think the way these dolls are being sold is an absolute scandal they are creating a socially acceptable product by pulling on our heart strings “awwwwww how nice a 9/11 inspired love doll’.

AND

the dolls DO look depressed they should rename one of the personalities
Emo Ethel; she is a little kinky and has a sexy monotone moan, but be careful she will use all of your bandwidth taking fb pics when your not home.

toys promote healthy sex

5 pegwole January 11, 2010 at 1:48 am

Great article. Why would someone pay $9k for this or any sex doll? I can understand being lonely or you may enjoy sex with dead people and are a hopeless shut in, but when you hear “sex robot” you think more of some sort of android you can penetrate. Sorry bro, but the people who make the Real Dolls beat you to it. I personally could not justify paying that kind of cash for something to put my penis in, Do lonely guys not buy lube and porn anymore? I am so talking about this on my podcast and I will be giving you total credit Violet.

6 R January 10, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Did he actually describe the doll as having three “inputs”? Is that what we’re calling them now?

Speaking only for myself, this thing is sufficiently far out on the other side of the uncanny valley that it’s more ridiculous than creepy.

7 criolle johnny January 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

hmmm, didn’t see the tongue, or for that matter didn’t see either set of cheeks!

Always enjoy your column. I’ll try to send some candles for your next birthday.

8 violet January 10, 2010 at 6:46 pm

johnny, my Hitachi is not sold as a ‘companion’ with the directive to replace a human being. check Roxxxy’s marketing; take a minute to read what I’m talking about.

you may stay astonished that I have an opinion. and yes, sometimes dildos look depressed. the post is written with a tongue in cheek sense of humor. do not take everything so seriously.

thanks for commenting.

9 criolle johnny January 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm

How; exactly, do these “dolls” differ from a vibrator?

“Roxxxy does not move. She looks depressed.” Does a detached penis look “depressed” to you? Does it move by itself?

“one cool cougar, literally” … how “warm” is your basic “Sybian”?

I’m astonished by the sexist tone of this article from YOU of all people Violet! Please re-think this. I have little interest in these toys, but a man who does differs imperceptibly from a woman who pleasures herself with a battery (or 120 volt) device.

Bright Blessings

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