Article Text

Nothing to be ashamed of: sex robots for older adults with disabilities
  1. Nancy S Jecker
  1. Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nancy S Jecker, Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA; nsjecker{at}


This paper spotlights ways in which sexual capacities relate to central human capabilities, such as the ability to generate a personally meaningful story of one’s life; be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy; experience bodily integrity; affiliate and bond with others; feel and express a range of human emotions; and choose a plan of life. It sets forth a dignity-based argument for affording older people access to sex robots as part of reasonable efforts to support their central human capabilities at a floor level. The argument develops stepwise: (1) first, I dispel ageism and negative stereotypes about later-life sexuality, showing their deep historical roots in medicine and science; (2) second, I set forth a positive argument, grounded in capability accounts of justice, for deploying sex robots for older people with disabilities; (3) finally, after responding to objections, I conclude that sex robots are a reasonable way to support later-life sexuality for persons with disabilities. While often depicted as a product for younger, able-bodied people, this paper is a bid for reimagining sex robots as a product for older, disabled people.

  • ethics
  • technology/risk assessment
  • sexuality/gender
  • aged
  • disabilities

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Supplementary materials


  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

Linked Articles

Other content recommended for you