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Sex robots for older adults with disabilities: reply to critics
  1. Nancy S Jecker
  1. Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nancy S Jecker, Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; nsjecker{at}

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In ‘Nothing to Be Ashamed of: Sex Robots for Older Adults with Disabilities,’1 I make the case that the unwanted absence of sex from a person’s life represents not just a loss of physical pleasure, but a loss of dignity. Since people aged 65 and over suffer disproportionately from disabilities that impair sexual functioning, I focus on this population. Drawing on an analysis of dignity developed at greater length elsewhere,2 I argue that sex robots can help older adults with disabilities and that societies ought to take reasonable steps to make them available to this population. Unlike other assistive technologies, robots invite human-robot relationships and can form close connections with older adults.3 In response to the proposal, four commentators have introduced objections that I address below.

Sorell4 argues that people who are young and able-bodied may wish for sex in their lives too and its absence may be a bigger concern for them than for older people. In reply, while my focus is older adults with disabilities that impair sexual function, I also acknowledge that loss of sexual function can occur at any age as can the absence of a …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it first published. The provenance and peer review statement has been included.

  • Contributors NSJ is the sole author of this reply to commentaries.

  • 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.

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

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