The authors of an editorial on sexbots suggest that it is not clear in cases of sexual contact with robots whose responsibility it is to buy condoms and clean them up.
"It is speculative whether the development of a sexbot marketplace will lead to lesser risk of violence and infections, or drive further exploitation of human sex workers," write the authors of the paper published in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.
The researchers noted that sexbots could help fix a person's relationship, treat erectile dysfunction and help those who've lost a partner or are not sexually active due to ill health, aging or disability. Another reported advantage of sexbots is their potential to prevent sex crimes and therefore sexual assaults against women and children.
However, the authors point out that in their attempt to analyze the health repercussions of sexbots, they haven't found a single study on the subject.
"The overwhelming predominant market for sexbots will be unrelated to healthcare. Thus the 'health' arguments made for their benefits, as with so many advertised products, are rather specious," they said.
The lack of evidence when it comes to health implications of engaging in a physical relationship with a sexbot led the researchers to look at some of the drawbacks.
That robotic devices might exacerbate intimate problems in couples, are unlikely to fully reciprocate desire and to fulfill the emotional needs of an individual are some of the arguments by the academics.
They also touched upon one of the most controversial uses of sexbots — as a "treatment" or preventative appliance for pedophiles. The presented arguments stress that use of sexbots may potentially normalize sexual deviancy and even encourage sexual violence, including rape.
Finally, the authors of the papers note that while sexbots are most likely to be hairless, such "airbrushed" appearances may distort perceptions of female attractiveness.
"Currently the precautionary principle should reject the clinical use of sexbots until their postulated benefits, namely 'harm limitation' and 'therapy' have been tested empirically," the researchers concluded.
Sexbots are expected to boost the already booming sex technology sector, worth US$30 billion. As they are prone to become more and more affordable, the demand for such devices is expected to grow.