By Kal Cobalt
“I write robot erotica” is a great conversation starter. Often, the questions people ask me are things I never considered at the keyboard. Other times, something I consider a basic tenet of robotica startles even the most shrewd of discussion partners. So here they are: the top ten things people either want to know about robotica or are most surprised to discover.
1. Robots Need Lubricant.
When bringing one’s first piece of robotica to a prestigious workshop, the last thing you want to hear is the chairman saying, “Maybe you know more about this than I do, but if the metal robot is giving a human a handjob…wouldn’t that hurt without lube?” Actually, the last thing you want to hear is that exact sentiment when you realize he’s completely right and the story is already in the mail to a publisher who accepts it a week later. Don’t let this happen to you, kids. Friends don’t let friends write about dry robots.
2. Robots Don’t Need Standard Parts.
Ever since Metropolis, society’s default assumption is that sex robots are female. Why stick to the norm? Since they’re robots, why even stick to human genitalia? I’ve never written about a robot with human genitalia. One of my robots acquired an interest in sex but was stuck in his asexual housing, so he gave handjobs. Another got the sex he wanted thanks to an enterprising human who noticed that the divot between the robot’s legs, initially created to make mechanical walking easier, was a splendid place to rub a penis. (With lube. See #1.)
3. Robots May Have Gender Issues.
One robot in a story of mine decided that he was male after learning enough about gender to feel justified in making such a determination. (The robot eventually determined that he was homosexual in the same fashion.) However, there’s no need for robots to remain trammeled by human constraints of gender. Perhaps a robot penis is just a fancy add-on attached with a strong magnet and removed when sex is over. Maybe a robot vagina doubles as a secret compartment. Or perhaps a robot is entirely nonstandard, festooned with vibrating bits and nubbly bobs and shaped like one very hedonistic chair. It’s unfair to force robot gender to conform to human standards.
4. Robots Could Be Clingy Lovers.
Remember Furbys? Those cute, incredibly annoying things soccer moms punched each other in the toy aisles for a few holiday seasons ago? Although the programming in Furbys is certainly rudimentary, this technological success — and our reaction to it — suggests that there will be more “emotion-based” programming in future artificial pets and companions. While many enjoy the idea of robots as life-sized sex toys with no more personality, emotion, or neediness than a dildo, there is every reason to imagine that we will create robots with needs. They may have a programmed need to please, or a learning algorithm that causes them to observe the intimate habits of their masters and seek to participate. The variations on this theme are endless.
5. Robot Lovers Do It Till It Hurts.
Clearly, mechanical lovers don’t have the same limitations as human ones. “Jackhammer thrusts” aren’t just for metaphors anymore, nor is the phrase “we went at it all night.” Does this mean that refractory-free robots imbued with artificial sex drives will enslave humanity in a nymphomaniacal stupor? Sure, if that’s your thing…
6. Robot Lovers Have Convenient Memories.
Awkward post-coital conversations are a thing of the past with robots — just shut ‘er down. If you’ve had a down-and-dirty evening with your robot companion and decide afterward that it was a little too dirty, just reset it and all is forgotten. Alternately, “perfect memory” scenarios hold some allure: teach your robot to give you head just the right way, and it’ll never forget.
7. Robots Can Be Serial Innocents.
Ever dream about deflowering a virgin? With a robot, you could do it over and over — run the virgin program again and again. Alternately, some might enjoy getting sexual with robots who have no sexual programming or comprehension (although Asimov might have wanted to have a chat with you about ethics). The sex offenders of the future may well be those who swear to their robot companions that they’re just performing some routine maintenance with their fifth appendage…
8. Why Would Robots Want Robot Nookie?
This is an important but often difficult question, particularly if the robot does not have some sort of sex drive programmed. The robot may be motivated by curiosity after seeing humans in intimate situations, or after learning that humans are made in a vastly different way than robots. A robot might desire sexual contact in an effort to please a human, or perhaps even to pass as human if it’s designed well enough to do so otherwise. There are as many reasons for robot nookie as there are for the human flavor.
9. Can Robots Come?
Of course, since robotica is (currently) fiction, the answer is yes, but creating a believable framework can be challenging, particularly in determining what orgasm would feel like to a mechanical being. Given the intriguing research that suggests human orgasm creates a kind of reset of the brain or even a momentary trance state, perhaps robot orgasm is a type of momentary shutdown or reboot. Maybe it’s a close cousin to defragging, or a pleasant electrical shock. If we’re talking about robots with programmed sex drives, perhaps the “orgasm” is the relief of the overriding sexual urge subsiding and allowing the robot to resume normal functions. Modifications could be made to approximate the orgasmic physiology of humans. Imagine a robot built with an artificial penis containing a reservoir of liquid. At user-specified times, the liquid pressurizes, which triggers programming to eject the liquid which overrides all of the rest of the robot’s programming until that task is completed. Perhaps the methodology of liquid ejection involves a complex system of hydraulics triggered by repetitive friction to the sides of the mechanical penis. (Just be careful that this doesn’t result in #5-style rape, and be sure to actually explain to the robot how to relieve the pressure, or else you’ll have one very dirty mixture of #4 and #7.)
10. Do You Have To Be A Geek To Write Robotica?
No…but it helps.
Kal Cobalt’s robotica will be published in Greg Herren’s forthcoming “Distant Horizons 2″ anthology, and K.C.’s tale of cyborg sex will appear in Circlet Press’s “Best Fantastic Erotica.” For links to K.C.’s erotica, sci fi, and nonfiction, please visit kalcobalt.com — a site that will remain a work in progress until Kal finds a nice hot robot with HTML skills.