Considering sex robots for older adults with cognitive impairments

Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (1):37-38 (2021)
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Abstract

Determining whether and/or how to enable older persons with disabilities to engage in sex raises several ethical considerations. With the goal of enabling the sexual functioning of older adults with disabilities, Jecker argues that sex robots could be used as a helpful tool. In her article, ‘Nothing to be Ashamed of: Sex Robots for Older Adults with Disabilities’, Jecker acknowledges the importance of sexual functioning and the fact that ageist assumptions incorrectly classify older persons as asexual. Additionally, older adults may experience disabilities that negatively influence their sexual functioning, which is problematic since sex may be linked to the following capabilities: developing a meaningful life narrative; being healthy; experiencing bodily integrity; feeling and communicating emotions; affiliating with others and reflecting on and choosing a life plan.1 In accordance with Nussbaum’s capabilities approach,2 Jecker says that society has a duty to support these capabilities at a minimal threshold. And insofar as sexual functioning may be relevant to the capabilities for older adults with disabilities, then we need to respond accordingly. One way of achieving this aim is by providing access to sex robots. I agree that sex robots ought to be made available for older adults with disabilities. Nevertheless, the article inspires several areas for further exploration. As Jecker rightfully mentions, older adults are often incorrectly labelled as non-sexual. For instance, in their analysis of older individuals’ views on sex and quality of life, Gott …

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Andria Bianchi
University of Waterloo

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Robots and sexual ethics.Brian D. Earp & Katarzyna Grunt-Mejer - 2021 - Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (1):1-2.

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