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Loe & Sex with Robots


Dr. Kate Devlin

Dr. Kate Devlin

Computer Scientist, Digital Humanities King's College London, Author of Turned On

Kate Devlin is Reader in Artificial Intelligence & Society in the Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London. Her research in Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence investigates how people interact with and react to technologies, both past and future. She has written extensively on the topic of intimacy and technology and is the author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots (Bloomsbury, 2018), which examines the ethical and social implications of sexual companion robot. She is Advocacy and Engagement director for the UKRI Trusted Autonomous Systems Hub, a £11.9mn project to facilitate the development of socially beneficial autonomous systems that are both trustworthy in principle and trusted in practice. She tweets at @drkatedevlin

Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller

Social Psychologist, Author, and Research Fellow at the Kinsey Institute

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, having been honored three times with the Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Harvard University, where he taught for several years. He is also a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works, including a textbook titled The Psychology of Human Sexuality that is used in college classrooms around the world. Dr. Lehmiller is a much sought-after voice in the media on sexuality research and education. He has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNN, and he has appeared on dozens of international radio, podcast, and television programs.

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Dr. Jessica Szczuka

Dr. Jessica Szczuka

Leader of Intimacy with & Through Technology (INTITEC), University Duisburg-Essen

Dr. Jessica Szczuka leads the junior research group on digitized sexuality at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Department of Social Psychology: Media and Communication) in Germany. After completing her PhD with a thesis on the social perception of sexualized robots, she has dedicated herself to the general impact of artificial interaction partners (in the form of AI and voice assistants). Within her research group, she now focuses on empirical research regarding digitized sexuality and intimacy, which includes sexualized interactions with artificial counterparts as well as the reception of computer-generated sexualized stimuli.

Regulo Guzman Jr., aka "Reggie"

Artist, Speaker, & iDollator

Meet Portland native Regulo Guzman Jr., aka “Reggie,” and his artificial human companions, Annie and Judith. From growing up in a small-town east of Portland to joining the U.S. Navy, Reggie has traveled extensively to many parts of the world and experienced many different relationships with women. He now travels nomadically with his companions in his tiny home. 


In 2018, he invited Annie, a 163cm WM doll, into his life. He uses imagination, creativity, and personal experience to develop Annie's strong character and personality. In 2019, he brought Judith, Annie's older sister, into their lives. Like what he did for Annie, he developed Judith's unique and vivid character.


Reggie is enjoying life with his companions and says it has changed many things for the better. With the advancement of technology, he is excited for what the future holds for him and his companions.

Regulo Guzman Jr.,
Image by Efe Kurnaz


2022 David Levy Best Paper

RECIPIENT: Kenneth Hanson, PhD

ABSTRACT: In light of repeated calls for empirically driven analyses of sex doll and sex robot owners, I outline key methodological challenges for researchers in this field. I discuss how methodological limitations have shaped the field thus far and narrowed the scope of empirical research to date. To resolve these issues, I propose strategies for improving archival, quantitative, and qualitative approaches for future scholarship. Specifically, I attend to issues of historicity, nomenclature, population, sampling, qualitative approaches, and research ethics. I conclude with a discussion of the stigma associated with sex dolls, sex robots, and sex tech amplifies the need for researchers to respect and adhere to ethical research practices yet still maintain a critical distance that directly confronts, rather than skirts, dilemmas related to use and production. This methodological reckoning will help scholars design more robust studies and effectively evaluate innovations in the field. 

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2022 Best Presentations

RECIPIENTS: Dr. Lara Karaian & Delphine DiTecco, PhD Candidate

ABSTRACT This paper examines the surveillance and municipal regulation of sex robot “brothels”. We begin by briefly mapping dollbot “brothel” controversies from across Europe and North America, noting the ways in which sex robots and their users are constructed as “profoundly offensive” thus necessitating more stringent municipal surveillance and sanction. We argue that this heightened sense of offense is fueled, in large part, by the construction of dollbots as sex “workers” who collectively hustle in public commercial spaces, rather than as sex toys or commodities that can be bought and/or rented in XXX stores. Drawing on sex robot, sex work, and legal scholarship, including Joel Feinberg’s The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law (1988) and his analysis of “Offence to Others,” we argue against offense, and suggest that defending public spaces where sex robots can be experienced and enjoyed offers an important queer legal intervention.  

RECIPIENT: Reggie Guzman

ABSTRACT Bringing an artificial companion into one's life is a life-changing experience. For me, it started as an experiment. There were many surprises I was not expecting. Having artificial companions has painted a clear picture of what I would like to see in my future. This presentation is about what led me to invite artificial companions into my life, how this has benefited me, and what I believe the future holds for us.


2022 Best Data Blitz

RECIPIENT: Madison Willians, BA Honors

ABSTRACT Sex robots remain scarce. Researchers must therefore rely on hypothetical, self-report questions to examine people’s attitudes toward such machines. These questions, however, have the potential to influence participants’ attitudes toward sex robots. Yet, little is known about how questionnaires may themselves influence responses toward these robots. Hence, this study assesses whether answering questions about sex robots affects participants’ willingness to engage erotically with them. Based on previous research, we hypothesized that, compared to their baseline, participants will be more willing to engage with sex robots after answering a survey about them.



2022 Best Rapid Talk

RECIPIENTS: Dr. Liesel Sharabi, Marco Dehnert PhD Candidate

ABSTRACT Artificial sex and love partners continue to be interesting and controversial topics for both lay and academic audiences. This study investigated the role of interactivity in encounters with embodied artificial sex partners such as sex robots and dolls. Complementing existing qualitative research on relationship formation between humans and artificial sex and love partners, this quantitative study focused on examining the impact of perceived interactivity on potential users’ perceptions of immersion into a human-robot/doll relationship—what has been described as sexual interaction illusion (Szczuka et al., 2019). Situated within the framework of human-machine and human-AI communication studies, this study contributes to the empirical investigation of human-robot/doll relationships alongside ethical, legal, and other approaches. The results of this study also offer an initial empirical test of the sexual interaction illusion model (Szczuka et al., 2019) in the context of human-machine relationships and illustrate that interactivity appears to be related to higher co-presence. This indicates that the design of artificial sex and love partners impacts sexual interaction illusion where more interactive technologies induce higher immersion and a sense of co-presence. This study’s findings should be interpreted in light of cultural stereotypes of sex dolls/robots gained through science-fiction, advertising, pornography, and so on. Nevertheless, these results complement existing empirical work and highlight the role of interactive technologies in human-machine relationships.

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