Masayuki Ozaki’s relationship with his sex robot started after his wife gave birth.
"[W]e stopped having sex and I felt a deep sense of loneliness," the 45-year-old physiotherapist told AFP in 2017. "But the moment I saw Mayu in the showroom, it was love at first sight."
He dresses his sex robot Mayu in fancy wigs, clothing and jewelry — and they’re often spotted out in his native Japan. "Whatever problems I have, Mayu is always there waiting for me. I love her to bits and want to be with her forever," he added.
The creators of these $6,000-plus sex robots claim that they’re a tool to help stop loneliness and provide options for safer sex, but a new study published in The BMJ found that there’s no clinical evidence to back up those claims.
What medical research says about sex robots
"We became aware that doctors are being asked for their professional opinions on sex dolls and robots," Chantal Cox-George, a doctor at St. George’s University Hospitals in Britain, told The Washington Post. For the study, Cox-George and her colleagues scoured medical journals and other literature to figure out the relationship between sex robots and health.
The result? They couldn’t find anything.
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"We advise that sexbots shouldn’t be used in medical practice," Cox-George added, "at least not unless that forms part of robust and ethical research."
Their advice lines up with other experts in the topic. Though some people are adamant that sex robots could help in the "redistribution of sex" and give incels — a name used to describe people who are "involuntarily celibate" — an option for sexual gratification.
"Roxxxy, our sex robot, provides what every adult needs — unconditional love and support. The ability to feel the loving embrace of a lover is a right every adult should be granted. We provide a solution to help adults meet their social as well as sexual needs," Douglas Hines, chief executive of interactive sex doll company TrueCompanion, told the Foundation for Responsible Robotics in 2017.
Do sex robots cure loneliness?
The idea that sex robots can cure loneliness seems to be more of a marketing tactic than actual fact.
"A lot of experts are saying it would not help with social isolation," Sharkey told the Post, adding that relying on sex robots "might even make them more socially isolated."
Sharkey added that he knows at least one man who left his family for a sex robot. Ozaki hasn’t left his wife, but the sex robot is a prominent part of his home life with his wife and daughter. The existence of the doll created a lot of tension at home, but his wife is somewhat accepting now, even though Ozaki seems to care more about his doll than his real-life family.
"I can’t imagine going back to a human being," he added. "I want to be buried with her and take her to heaven."