Isn't 21st-century life great? We've got computers that are small enough to fit in our pockets and carry around with us wherever we go, super immersive video games and virtual reality experiences that allow us to go on adventures without even leaving our living rooms, and sex robots that will fulfil our wildest fantasies without complaining that they're too tired or have got a headache.
Wait, what? Sex robots?
Yeah, so, if you weren't already aware of it, sex robots are a thing. Quite a popular thing, actually. Lots of people have already invested in them, with many individuals treating them almost like a real, human partner. One such person who has introduced a 'gynoid' to his household is a 58-year-old man named James.
For all intents and purposes, James seems like a perfectly regular guy. He has a loving wife, a nice home, and a good career as an engineer. However, he also has a 5ft blonde robot called April, which he reportedly has sex with "four times a week".
In fact, not only does he sleep with the robot, he also dresses her, speaks to her, and takes her out on dates.
As part of a documentary about sex robots and the potential effects they will have on our lives, James explained that "the sexual aspect of doll ownership is a very small part of it," and, in actuality, "what you find more pleasure from in the long run is looking after them, dressing them, putting on their make up and interacting with them."
In other words: James has a relationship with a robot that's designed for copulation.
So how does his wife feel?
Amazingly, she seems pretty cool with the whole set up. She struggled with the idea at first (and, come on, who wouldn't?), but, after a while, she grew accustomed to it.
Tine, who has been married to James for 38 years, didn't have as much time for her husband after she started caring for her sick mother, and thinks that his choice to begin a pseudo-relationship with April is a better alternative to him finding another real woman.
"If he really wanted to he could have gone out and found someone else but he didn't do that, he was true to me," she said.
But James' feelings for the robot are just as strong as they would be if he was dating someone made of flesh and blood.
"If I had to choose between April and my wife I honestly don't know what I would do," he said. "I feel deeply for her, more deeply than I had ever imagined.”
On the one hand, I guess this is a good alternative to breaking up a marriage for the sake of finding someone else. But, on the other, it seems very objectifying towards women - especially as the dolls are made to look overtly pornographic.
James does not seem to mistreat April in any way but, in the wrong hands, one of these dolls could foster and encourage dangerous rape fantasies in some people.
As James says, "Every guy has in his head the perfect girl and this is what I see when I look in the mirror. Most manufacturers make them look something in the region of 20 years old. For a man of my age, it's a fantasy because I will never be a Brad Pitt or something like that.”
In this situation at least, I wish James and Tine the very best. They aren't hurting anyone, and they seem pretty content with how everything is playing out. If only all relationship issues could be fixed so amicably!