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As Real As It Gets Silicone Doll – Blonde Natasha – 174 cm / 5’5 feet

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On the basis of this background, the study shows that the surveyed therapists and physicians are relatively open toward this development. In the meaning of expectancy-value theory, an attitude (A) toward an object (object O) can be expressed in a function of beliefs (B) toward this object and the evaluations (E) of these expectations. This is mainly because of the fact that sex robots are a very young field of research, and experiences in the therapeutic context have not been available yet.

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Skepticism Versus Openness Toward Sex Robots, On the one hand, this study shows that therapists and physicians are generally skeptical toward sex robots. We would like to use this theoretical thinking to better understand the ambivalent attitude of therapists between skepticism and openness. In the therapeutic context, the question of which early object relationships are represented by the robot may be also interesting. The results also show that not only the subjective definition of sex robots and ethical concerns influence the view of therapeutic benefit, but also expectations of the quality of human-robot sexuality. In this context, the consideration was expressed that the use of child sex robots could lead to the prevention of actual children’s abuse. In addition, Sullins argues that sex robots “contribute to a negative body image.” In the qualitative study, it became clear that sex therapists attach great importance to the physical design of sex robots when it comes to using them for therapeutic purposes. For this reason, the results are not representative. These considerations are supported by studies in which psychodynamic therapists were more critical of new media such as internet interventions than, for example, cognitive-behavioral therapists.Patients With Deviant Sexual Behavior With regard to the treatment of pedophile patients, the results showed the opposite picture compared with attitudes in the general population. The existence of sex robots was not rated as very positive. In this study, no association with attitudes toward sex robots in relation to the evaluation of the negative consequences of technology (TA-EG subscale) was found.Personality Traits Consistent with our findings that personality traits have no influence on respondents’ attitudes toward sex robots, Szczuka et al also found in their study that personality traits have no effect on the purchase of sex robots.LimitationsThere are some methodological limitations to this study. Scheutz and Arnolds assume that different judgments about the appropriateness between male and female participants in their survey could come from market and media forces that specifically address heterosexual men as customers and users. The participants in the quantitative study were to a large extent already familiar with sex robots (77%), but there were also therapists who stated that they had not heard or read anything about them yet. Both the study of the general population and of the therapists indicated significant gender differences. However, studies have concluded that violent pornography is more likely to increase aggressiveness and therefore has no cathartic effects. Following the uses and gratifications approach, this study is one of the first ones to systematically explore motives, possible application scenarios, and attitudes of sex therapists toward buying sex dolls as a tool in sexual therapy. In this study, it became clear that the therapists interviewed took a gender role-conform perspective as shown by the fact that a distinction was made between male and female sexuality. A differentiated evaluation of the results in this context shows that not all therapists and physicians have this restraint. In line with this expectation, the survey found significant differences between younger and older therapists. It was shown that there are various ethical concerns. In future research, the different applications of robotic sex (eg, hardware robots and software robots) should be investigated in a differentiated way. On the one hand, this reluctance could be related to the experiences of the therapists. This may be associated with treatment-related considerations; especially, the majority of psychodynamic psychotherapists in this survey will probably also reflect the recommendation to patients from the perspective of transference and countertransference phenomena. Instead of criticizing only dystopian visions of harmful sex robots, it is recommended to develop robots with positive effects on sexual education, sexual therapy, sexual counseling, and sexual well-being for interested groups. One could assume that especially therapists interested in technology, who have a positive attitude toward robots, took part in this study. Kubes assumes that the development of sex robots offers a great potential for reducing stereotypes and promoting diversity but current trends in sex robotics, however, do not explore these possibilities. Another explanation could lie in the fact that heteronormative ideas of male hegemony are mirrored in the design of current sex robots. Owing to the small sample size, the results of this study need to be interpreted with caution. However, they clearly distinguish therapeutic robots from pornographic sex robots. In this survey, we refrained from using this kind of stimulus as the state of research is still so young that there is hardly any illustrative material available. Other studies in the field of e-mental health applications also found similar age differences between therapists, for example, in their attitudes toward the internet and online therapy.Affinity to Technology Other studies also showed that the negative evaluation of robots is generally a factor that influences attitudes toward sex robots. The use of robots as a future tool in sex therapy still leaves many moral, ethical, and treatment-related questions unresolved, which need further research and evaluation. The provision of a stimulus in the questionnaire such as images or film clips to define sex robots makes it possible to survey the same level of knowledge. This shows a hesitant attitude toward taking responsibility for the use of sex robots in a therapeutic context. Similar to other authors before us, we conclude that ethical responsibility in the digital age cannot be perceived as a critical distance from technological development but is effective when sexual scientists play an active role in shaping a technology that can be used to promote sexual health, nonviolence, and sexual diversity. Moreover, therapists assumed that male rather than female patients could benefit from sex robots. We were able to determine that the ethical evaluation of sex robots strongly depends on whether they are classified as sexual aids, along with other sex toys (and their use is normalized), or whether they are understood as a different category, namely, not as objects used for sex, but as social actors with whom one has sex. The considerations to live out sexual violence and sexual abuse with robots also lead to the question of whether there are limits to how a robot should be handled. On the other hand, only a few respondents stated that the use of sex robots was not conceivable for them and almost half of all respondents could imagine recommending sex robots for therapy. Therapists could also ask themselves what bonding needs or experiences of early childhood could be projected onto sex robots by their patients. On the other hand, it also needs to be considered that mainly participants with a negative attitude might have participated. The topic should also be integrated into the training of sex therapists to form opinions beyond media images and to point out therapeutic options. The presented results about the possible therapeutic use of sex robots (eg, for patients with contact disorders, patients with deviant sexual behavior, and patients with different sexual disorders) complement the few considerations about sex robots that have been existing in the scientific discourse so far. The fact that therapists initially adopted a critical and cautious attitude toward the introduction of new technology for therapeutic purposes was also known in the context of another electronic mental (e-mental) health implementations (eg, telephone or online therapy). On the other hand, technical and ethical questions regarding treatment are not clarified, which can lead to uncertainty and restraint. In this survey, we could not find any bias, as we got both positive and negative opinion patterns.Another limitation of this study is that not all respondents shared the same level of knowledge about sex robots. Despite the critical attitudes of women themselves and the gender-conform position previously described, possible benefits for female patients were also discussed.Caution Among Therapists With regard to the possible benefit of sex robots as a therapeutic tool, the general population was more open-minded than the therapists surveyed in this study. Women rated sex robots more critically than men. In addition, media representations of intimate human-robot relationships show stereotypical gender roles and heteronormativity. In spite of the small sample, the investigations provide first exploratory results.Implications for Research and PracticeFurther research on a larger sample of therapists is necessary to gain a more differentiated picture of the therapeutic potential. Furthermore, the attitudes toward sex robots as a therapeutic tool were very heterogeneous (see Relationship Between Attitude and Sociodemographic Data). Comparison With Prior Differences A comparison with existing research results reveals interesting similarities and differences between the attitudes of therapists and the general population toward sex robots. Younger therapists were actually more open to the topic. Moreover, they advocate that sex robot should be available in different body shapes to promote a realistic and healthy body image. These beliefs influence the attitude toward sex robots. The therapists’ experiences with expert knowledge in robot technology and/or robot therapy should be included. Therapists were even more reluctant when it came to recommending sex robots in therapy. Especially in this context, representatives of the radical feminist extensively argue that promoting the development of sex robots reveals a compulsive attitude toward women’s bodies. The results of this study provide an insight into the beliefs and evaluations of therapists. For example, it became clear that female therapists and physicians expressed more ethical concerns about sex robots in this survey and rated them more negatively than male therapists. Comparable online survey studies with psychotherapists, however, show even lower response rates than ours. Similar thoughts have already been discussed in pornography research. For psychoanalytically oriented therapists, the rule of abstinence may play a role as well when it comes to recommending sex robots in therapy. In contrast to systemically trained therapists, psychodynamically trained therapists in these interviews generally spoke out against a direct recommendation of sex toys in sex therapy. However, this is a question for the research of robot ethics.Differences in Age In the context of age effects, it would be obvious to assume that the younger generation’s knowledge and openness to technology should also manifest itself in different attitudes toward sex robots. In addition, sex robots are socially controversially discussed and have new fully automated options with artificial intelligence. Some therapists evaluate the development of sex robots in line with internet and pornography and mainly observe the negative effects of internet sex addiction in their daily practice. Psychologists and sex therapists were more critical concerning the recommendation of sex robots as a treatment tool than physicians. Although the general population is strongly against the use of sex robots in this context, it is controversially discussed by the therapists surveyed in this study.

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