Sex and Technology: The Ethics of Virtual Connection

In Raja Halwani, Jacob M. Held, Natasha McKeever & Alan Soble (eds.), The Philosophy of Sex: Contemporary Readings, 8th edition. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 331-352 (2022)

Authors
Neil McArthur
University of Manitoba
Abstract
This essay discusses the moral costs and benefits of sexual technology. It starts with first-wave sexual technology, such as dating apps, messaging apps, and social networks, and then discusses second-wave sexual technology, which offers users more immersive experiences, such as virtual reality and sex robots. The paper argues that, overall, such technologies provide more benefits than they incur costs. Finally, the paper discusses the rise of a new identity—digisexuality, explaining that digisexuals are people who consider sexual technology an essential part of who they are, and who might forego relationships with other people. The paper argues that the development of this new identity is a good thing, and that reasons against it are not convincing.
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