A poll has revealed that 1 in 5 of us would happily jump into bed with a robot. What's to lose? After all, robots aren't as emotionally flimsy as human beings, so they won't worry if you haven't texted, they're not gonna want deep and meaningfuls post–coitus and there's no chance of accidental pregnancy. Oh and remember, they're literally sex machines (see: this sock-folding handjob robot).
So why the big surprise that 20% of us would sleep with an android? Throughout the history of cinema, robots and androids have enjoyed their status as attractive, virile, seductive characters – from Blade Runner's android temptresses Pris and Rachel, to Arnie in Terminator with his bulging robot body awing men and attracting admiration from women.
Daryl Hannah played Pris from Blade Runner, a pleasure android with a lifespan of just four years, built for sex on Earth's faraway colonies. Supple and gymnastic, with her own unique take on a cyberpunk look, you'd be hard-pressed to find many people who'd be unwilling to take a chance on on of film's sexiest robots.
Rachel (Sean Young), meanwhile, is an assistant at Tyrell Corporation. She's a sultrier replicant who makes smoking look beautiful, a robot who looks like a film noir star from a retro-future. Unlike Pris, she appears interested in the idea of love, compassion and relationships and falls for the replicant assassin Deckard (Harrison Ford). In the scene below, they play piano together before she breathlessly confesses "I want you", at which point they engage in one of cinema's most famous robot-on-robot love scenes.
The 2001 Steven Spielberg film A.I introduced a robot called Gigolo Joe, a male prositute programmed with the ability to mimic love. Who played him? Jude Law, voted 2004's "Sexiest Man Alive" in People. In a motel room scene, Law gazes deep into a woman's eyes, lays her down on the bed and proclaims "you deserve me": his hair perfectly coiffured, his eyes piercing pearls of passion.
But the archetype of the sexy robot has been around since the early 20th century. Fritz Lang's silent film Metropolis (1927) featured the gynoid Maria – a gynoid being Lang's term for a robot that closely resembles the human form. Created at the request of Joh Fredersen, ruthless Master of Metropolis, Maria was designed to look like one of the worker's daughters. Fredersen's son falls in love with the gynoid and Maria spreads chaos throughout Metropolis, driving lustful men in the Yoshiwara nightclub to violence. And as if Beyoncé needed any help being considered attractive, she wore a suit clearly inspired by Maria on her 2011 Sasha Fierce tour.
While Maria, Rachel and Pris may be examples of cult films that feature sexy robots, mainstream cinema embraced the trope too. Liz Hurley famously played Vanessa Kensington, the silver-skirted, busty and gun-wielding secret agent from the Austin Powers series. Vanessa is exposed as a robot after having sex with Austin and then malfunctioning and exploding. Austin begins to grieve before realising that he's single again and forgets all about it. Oh, Austin.
So is the idea of the robot as an object of sexual desire a particularly new one? We've spent years looking at attractive androids in darkrooms, so of course we're gonna start getting it on with gynoids and cyborgs too. We'd wager that the 21st century will see humans engaging in robot-amorous relationships. And if the prevalence of totally hot robots in cinema is anything to go by, it'll be more than one in five.
And if your robot paramour dumps you? Just remember that all those moments will be lost... in time... like tears in rain.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot
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