“It seems to have got to the stage where people would rather have sex with something that knows exactly what it’s doing, where we know exactly how it will react, and how long it will take, and how good it will be,” adds Anna Hughes, a school teacher with a long-term boyfriend. “But this obliterates the excitement of the uncertainty of being with a living person and the risk of it all going wrong, which is big part of having sex with someone in the first place. I’m just glad I got into a relationship before sleeping with C-3PO became the norm.”
With 46% of those surveyed admitting that they’d either get under the covers with a sexbot or not judge those who choose to, that’s a fair proportion of people prepared to embrace getting dirty with droids. This isn’t a uniquely UK trend, though: sex between live humans has been steadily sloping downwards in numerous countries around the world, including Japan, where nearly half of women aged 16-24 are “not interested in or despise sexual contact.” And this isn’t just a problem across the one gender—there’s also a burgeoning movement called otaku, which denotes the rising number of men opting for relationships with virtual lady friends in the absence of real ones. These so-called “herbivores”—young men who show no carnal desire—also fare badly when it comes to the figures, with 36% professing zero inclination whatsoever in getting it on. Many members of the otaku clan were able to maintain relationships with the opposite sex, but only if they existed in the form of computer games. Which kind of, y’know, isn’t like maintaining a relationship at all.