How does the Uncanny valley hypothesis correlate with the rise of the realistic sex-doll industry?

47-year-old Masayuki Ozaki faced a lot of problems in his marriage. He felt lonely and had anxiety attacks. Everything had changed when he met Mayu. Masayuki Ozaki admitted that he finally found the love of his life. They have been on a couple of dates; he bought her clothes and jewelry.

Masayuki Ozaki was in the seventh heaven. The girl looked young and beautiful. Mayu was always there for him, so he decided it was the right time to start living together. His wife and daughter were terrified – Masayuki Ozaki brought a rubber sex doll into their house.

For some people, sex dolls aren’t just the advanced adult toys. Nowadays, users build an emotional connection with their dolls and don’t want long-term relationships with real people.

It doesn’t only raise many ethical issues; it is also against the mainstream theory, which suggests that we are unable to love human-like robots since it elicits fear and goes against human nature.

However, in line with the rise of the realistic sex-doll industry, it is the right time to cast doubt on theories that deny the relationship between human and sex doll/sex robots.

Is it a deviation from the norm or we just stand at the beginning of a new time of human-robot relationship?

The question remains open.

Why people can’t love human-like robots?

In the 1970s Japanese scientist, Masahiro Mori wrote an essay in robotics. During his experiment, participants had to interact with different types of robots, while their reactions were recorded. At first, participants were very excited to see robots with human-like faces that had basic skills but only up to a certain point. The results of his study revealed that robots that look and act just like humans, but not exactly, cause anxiety. This concept also applies to life-like dolls, manikin, and computer animations. Mori’s original hypothesis is known today as ‘uncanny valley.’

Different theories can explain this psychological phenomenon. Quite probably, human notices something that is not normal on an unconscious level. So, robots with frozen faces that act like humans can be considered ‘walking dead.’ Also, people can be afraid of seeing unusual facial symmetry.

St. Louis professor Minsoo Kang came up with another explanation in 2009. His theory of threat perceptions presumes that people are afraid of realistic robots because they are not able to predict the machine’s behavior, which in turn causes cognitive dissonance.

Another theory suggests that human-like robots are considered psychopaths since they are not capable of feeling empathy. Also, people are usually afraid of something they don’t understand.

Animators are well aware of the uncanny valley hypothesis. That’s why leading computer animation studios prefer non-human characters.

Let’s not forget about Robert Zemeckis’s ImageMovers Studio that was shut down due to negative reactions. His characters from ‘The Polar Express,’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Mars Needs Moms’ were described by critics as ‘weird looking ones.’ In fact, they are just very realistic.

The last animated film ‘Mars Need Moms’ became the biggest flop in the animation world network.

Robert Zemeckis’s photorealistic CG humans are disturbing and very confusing. People can hardly understand why something that looks like a human doesn’t act like one. For instance, in ‘A Christmas Carol’ we can see an old man who jumps like a teenager. Indeed, it is a cartoon, but the character looks too real.

Sex dolls users: who are they?

The loving but complicated relationship between Masayuki Ozaki and his silicone girlfriend Mayu isn’t unique. Stories about men living with their dolls are popping up here and there. What are the reasons for sharing your bed with a doll?

Dolls don’t argue and you can apply them as a basics for all the sexual fatasies, your actual partner might not understand or accept.

Another thing that attracts users is that they can actually choose every part of their sexual ‘partner.’ For example, the color of skin, make-up, haircut, breast size, and nipple shape.

Also, sex dolls can become a good substitute for men with physical disabilities or low self-esteem. The doll will never judge the user’s skills in bed and can always be there for its owner.

Sex dolls were meant to be for sex only, but users also discovered the possibility to find companionship and build a deeper connection with silicone girls.

Men who openly live with their dolls admit that it is not only about sex. They believe that the doll or robot can be a life partner.

Such a human-robot intimate relationship can be explained by the growing trend of technosexuality and digisexuality. Both terms exclude the idea of having sex with another human. Technosexual people are attracted mainly to robots. It is also called robot fetishism. Digisexuality is a pretty new concept of sexual interactions with different kinds of technology ( e.g., vibrators with Bluetooth, virtual reality porn, sexting apps, and flirting with virtual assistant Siri).

Is the uncanny valley theory no longer relevant?

The sex lives of modern people do look different compared to what their grandparents had in the past. The world is moving on; quite probably, the future generations will experience new sex concepts that we can’t even imagine today.

It took ages for people to start speaking openly about sex. So, it might also take a few decades to make sex with silicone dolls something casual.

However, we still can’t deny the uncanny valley theory even though sexuality is viewed differently now. The fear that people have towards human-like dolls hasn’t disappeared. There are still a lot of people who turn their porcelain dolls face to the wall before they go to sleep, simply because they think that their toys are staring at them during the night. Seeing dolls with empty eyes can be scary…And sexy.

Having sex with a doll is an adrenaline-pumping situation. Adrenaline is one of the hormones that fuel sex life and help trigger an orgasm. Understanding that something you are doing in bed is not socially acceptable or even scary causes an adrenaline rush and leads to an intense orgasm.