Quick reads

Throughout the course of human history, sex has not only played a biological role in our continuation as a species, but it has also expanded into the fabric of society. The thoughts of relationships and all things related to sex have manifested themselves into lucrative industries that will only continue to grow. For example in both women’s and men’s fashion, the marketing of sex appeal plays a huge role in driving an industry worth $220B+ as consumers are drawn to clothing that will make them look good in the eyes of a partner.  Cosmetics is another industry that has seen a surge in value, set to rise to $27B globally from $20B in 2015 as customers seek body enhancements to elevate their sexual experience. Even in film, reality TV shows that capture one’s quest for love like ‘ The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ are consistently the top-rated TV shows on the nights they air, per Nielsen.


Globally, these industries combined are worth at least a half trillion dollars. However, these figures are likely to rise. As technology continues to disrupt many of today’s well-known industries like healthcare and financial services, the sex industry is also ripe for disruption. Advances in technology have allowed scientists and engineers to manufacture robots that not only just mimic human behavior but now too mimic the physical contours of humans. Applications for this exist in medicine where robots or “synthetic human cadavers” are now used as an alternative to human cadavers. These “cadavers” have skin that resembles actual human skin and organs with the same material feel and structure. These advancements have led those in the sex industry to build upon this type of technology to the point where, yes – robots are being programmed and designed for humans to have “real-feel” sexual experiences with them.


While this may be an eye-opener to many of you, this industry is growing quite rapidly.  It’s estimated to be worth $30B with pocket markets in the U.S and Japan, but it is growing at a rate of 66% to an estimated capitalization of ~$50B by 2020. With such a large, but niche, market seemingly on the horizon, there are those wondering how they’d be able to capitalize on such an opportunity that is trending upwards but also very under the radar.


Generally, sex has many different meanings and several different cultural significances to many different people. But, from a health & wellness standpoint, sex is scientifically proven to have a positive impact on your general well-being. Sex is a natural form of behavior and it is a response to acts of attraction and affection between multiple people. Typically research shows that sexual encounters resulting in orgasm trigger the release of chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and oxytocin, which have the effect of amplifying positivity and satisfaction while also ridding stress. Logic has it that the more times you engage with someone (or in the case of a sex robot, something) sexually, your overall wellness will improve. In fact, a recent study has demonstrated there is a linear correlation between sexual frequency and well-being.


In a world where maintaining relationships can be complicated and stress is a major part of most adults’ livelihoods, there is a case to be made that sex robots can play a role as a healthtech solution in the wellness space. On the contrary, there are those out there who will not recognize the sex robot as a legitimate solution on the issue of improving your health & wellness, but rather as just a tool for fantasy and self-pleasure.


While there most likely will be a debate on the status of the sex robot, for many, it’s really a matter of perspective on how one views the sexual experience and how they would come to terms with its integration with technology. Regardless of one’s viewpoint, the sex industry is continuing to grow and sooner rather than later, we will see more community acceptance and adoption of these kinds of technologies. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see how society and those in the industry react to its application as a health & wellness solution vs. that of just another toy.


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