restricted access Chapter 6. Sex
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83 CHAPTER 6 SEX So far sex on the moon has played out only in the theater of the mind, but the critics are raving. “The very act of making love on the Moon will last much longer,” warbles “British sex expert” Dr. Andrew Stanway, since “every lover will automatically be six times lighter,” every movement six times etc. etc. In that precious bit of gravity lies the difference between rocket sex and lunar sex, which futurist Adrian Berry too sees as “one of the great joys of the 21st century.” Lovely as that is to imagine—and by all means wander that paragraph at your leisure—we have no actual evidence to prove it. Lunar sex looks fabulous on paper, but that’s all we know. For now the closest we can come is to cross the lunar road to another theater where a sort of companion piece is up and running. Some bulbs are out in the marquee and the lobby’s trashed, but the entertainment never stops. You’ve 84 ✴ SEX probably starred in it yourself. Welcome to jealousy, faithlessness , heartbreak and revenge. Put sex off-world, and all the rest will come right with it. Do you doubt it? Picture yourself on the moon. Take all the ruinous romantic mistakes you’ve ever made and your instinct to repeat them, deposit them in a landscape bleak and strange where your need is enormous and the talent pool minute. Res ipsa loquitur. Warnings of fraught liaisons on long space flights to come are almost common coin in psychiatric journals, but the moon will offer a far bigger field of action: panoramas of geek noir played out in a shadow-land of obsession and love gone wrong. Maybe nothing can prevent it. I have though come across one proposal to ease the pressure up there, which is that settlers could marry robots. Some innovations I can be slow to like. In fact, the pull of technology can often be measured by the lines of my heel marks along the road. It’s a prejudice, and I’m aware of it. So I’ve given myself every possible chance to warm to this idea, and it still creeps me out on so many levels I don’t know where to start. Assuming it could really happen, which is the first question of course. Could robots and romance conceivably mix? Could it be that a technology that traces its origins back to Jacques de Vaucanson’s mechanical defecating duck of 1739 . . . Pope Brock ✴ 85 . . . really hold out hope of everlasting love? Actually, to be ruthlessly honest, that’s not the first question . If we’re talking about having sex with a robot, as one would expect in a marriage, the first question that zooms through my brain, subliminally almost, leaving behind vapor trails of revulsion is: How lifelike are we talking? On a granular level what’s in the pants? It’s not easy for me to type that, let alone ponder it. Then again it might matter less than I think. According to Andy Clark, author of Natural-Born Cyborgs, marriageable robots won’t just look and sound like people—the Blade Runner template—but we’ll also be banging them with great good will because our brains “are primed to seek and consummate . . . intimate relations with nonbiological resources.” That may say more about Mr. Clark than it does about you or me, but if he’s right, it would help a lot. Of this much I’m certain: if a moon colonist goes this route, he/she will have to bring a lot to the party. That’s what 86 ✴ SEX drives the inflatables market: the buyer brings the dream. Not a very elevated dream, true, but it’s turned a profit, and the earliest, most rudimentary sexbots will have to offer at least that. And they are! In 2010 TrueCompanion.com went live selling “the world’s first sex robot,” Roxxxy, in a choice of six personalities, starting price $7,000. (According to designer Douglas Hines, his original plan was to create a working replica of a friend who died in Tower One of the World Trade Center, but “after test-marketing, the concept changed in order to capitalize on the enormous adult-entertainment industry.”) Roxxxy doesn’t have to be sophisticated for many men to like her because, as Lenny Bruce observed, men will do it to mud, and also because men objectify women, virtually all...


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