“Erotic pleasure of an intoxicating intensity that mortal flesh has never known”: the Glorious Sex Life of the

Posthuman
Michael Hauskeller

In an opinion poll carried out by humanity plus magazine in 2009, in which several thinkers in the radical tech community were asked whether there will still be sex in the posthuman or singularitarian future, Alex Lightman (who at that time was the Executive Director of Humanity Plus) replied: “The primary purpose of the Singularity will be seen, after the fact, to be Awesome Sex. There will be exponentially more sex, with exponentially more interfaces and with exponentially more measures of pleasure.”

Sex plays a surprisingly large role in transhumanist visions of the posthuman future that awaits us:

See for instance: David Pearce, The Hedonistic Imperative (1995), Section 1.6 and 1.7:

Our post-Darwinian future: “What we will ultimately turn into is hard to imagine. One may predict merely that it will be utterly sublime. (...) Effectively, we'll be able to have anything we've always wanted and more.” We will, for instance “discover that what had previously passed for passionate sex had been merely a mildly agreeable piece of foreplay. Erotic pleasure of an intoxicating intensity that mortal flesh has never known will thereafter be enjoyable with a whole gamut of friends and lovers. This will be possible because jealousy, already transiently eliminable today under the influence of various serotonin-releasing agents, is not the sort of gene-inspired perversion of consciousness likely to be judged worthy of conservation in the new era.”
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family and the community. or voluntary sexwork are means to redefine sexual norms into open fields of relationality. Why do I find this emphasis on bodily. human or animal or machine. Section 6 (Metahumans as metasexual): “Metasexuality is a productive state of disorientation of desire that challenges categories of sex-gender identity and sexual orientation. It is postqueer: we are beyond the understanding of gender as performative. by fucking anything that is fuckable. family and the community. A metabody is not ultimately categorisable in terms of morphological sex or gender but rather is an amorphogenesis of infinite potential sexes: microsexes. public sex. belong to the intellectual and political avant-garde. genital and binary sex. male or female. where modalities of affect reconfigure the limits of kinship. Metasex not only challenges the dictatorship of anatomical. More disguised: Stefan Sorgner & Jaime del Val: A Metahumanist Manifesto (2010) (http://www. but also the limits of the species and intimacy. those anti-progressive and fundamentally pleasure-destroying institutions. ” Stefan and Jaime use the language of liberation and critical thinking. Pansexuality. And fuck kinship.metahumanism.eu/).Goals: Increasing the intensity of pleasure and getting rid of all obstacles to pleasure such as jealousy (and presumably other emotions that favour pair-bonding). Be strictly egalitarian and non-sectarian in your fucking habits. poliamoria. But if you strip the paragraph of its verbal clutter. what remains is a very simple message: be progressive. especially sexual pleasures surprising? Because there is also a strong logocentric tendency in transhumanism and a hatred of the flesh-and-bones 2 .

some form of open. The bodily pleasure is disconnected from the body as its (necessary) source. as advocated by the 3 . To back up this claim. 2) We are “genetically inclined to have multiple partners”. in a paper from 2003 called “The Future of Sex”: 1) We will learn to control our sexual desires. And disconnected not only (or perhaps not even primarily) from one’s own body. has got to say about the issue of sex. Lust and love are biochemical phenomena and as such are “amenable to manipulation”. So how does that mesh with the endorsement of sexual pleasures? I think the key to resolving that tension is an instrumental understanding of the body. Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and a leading transhumanist.body. Therefore it is unnatural to suppress “our non-monogamous biological natures”.) Hence we should return (presumably because by doing whatever we are genetically inclined to do we will increase our overall happiness and well-being) “to some modern version of polygamy. which is almost per definition bad. or redirect them to other objects. The body is conceived as a mere (pleasure-generating) tool: a body-to-go. acknowledged sexual sharing. let’s have a look at what James Hughes. and deadly. It is associated with nature. but also from the body of the other. which is seen as messy. turn them on or off. depending on how desirable we find being sexually aroused in certain situations. control-defying. It is a (replaceable) means of pleasure. but in no way identity-defining. More control will lead to greater happiness. So getting rid of the organic body is a primary goal. limitative. Hence transhumanists’ fondness of mind-uploading as the ultimate survival technique. Thus the glorious sex life of the posthuman is essentially masturbatory. (The fact that most people and cultures favour monogamy simply shows “the power of culture over nature”.

when we are facing indefinite life spans. or some entirely new sexual organ? The possibilities will be endless. Sex will eventually have to transcend the body altogether.” Now. “Doing the nasty in nano-neuro VR will be far more intimate than in the flesh. this is already a stage where the body is no longer a given and where it can. when you could have a penis with the responsiveness of a clitoris. 3) We are already able to mix and match all aspects of sexual dimorphism.” 4 . to improve our chances in life and love.sexual revolution and the polyamory movement”.” (Just think about this choice of metaphor for a moment: the body as a “meat puppet”). “By the 22nd century.” “Why stop with just a cosmetic enhancement. to stay in fashion. 4) “Body sex itself is likely to become a minor and infrequent aspect of our erotic experience. and last but not least virtual reality will soon provide alternatives that are far superior to the kind of body-dependent sex that we are used to. in theory. Body sex is dangerous (sexually transmitted diseases). be transformed and recreated any way you like. or swapping your genitals for those of another sex. species. on lambskin rugs. ages and numbers in VR. old people cannot do it. Especially since the expected radical extension of life span will make it much harder to stay with one person throughout your life. tweaks to biological gender will become increasingly common. and open ourselves up to forms of tactile and emotional sharing that are impossible in the flesh-to-flesh. it is no longer necessary for reproduction. with cherubim as an attentive audience. But for Hughes this doesn’t seem to be enough. There are some short-term reasons and some long-term reasons for the declining use of the meat-puppet in romantic play. We can hold an orgy on the moons of Jupiter. We will be able to morph our genders. or just out of curiosity.

James called this fantasy an "automatic sweetheart". we would want to hold on to the intense pleasure that sex brings. for instance cognitive enhancement: “What would happen to the learning curve if learning caused the same excitement as sexual orgasm?” Another alternative to messy body sex. Natasha Vita-More. and ultimately preferable: “faced with the uncertainty and security risk of letting some new person into your head. which will allow us to enjoy the upsides of sex without having to deal with its alleged downsides.” Real body sex will then “be about as exciting as stirring tepid tea with your finger. in one of the footnotes to his book The Meaning of Truth. the possibility and desirability of a sexual companion that acted exactly like a real human lover would. but without sex. and to engage with one another. so what we really need is sexual pleasure (as often and as much as possible). This may then be used to speed up other forms of enhancement.” We can then redirect sexual pleasure to accompany certain intellectual activities.5) This will also make masturbation a lot easier. And sex is as well. William James once briefly discussed. at least to the extent that it is connected to the flesh-and-blood body. in another paper devoted to the subject of posthuman sex (“Future of Sexuality”. more people may opt for a life of single selfstimulation. but that did not feel anything at all. 1997). “Maybe we will eliminate physical sex altogether and endow a simulated creativity center in our brains manufacturing orgasms on an assembly line. 5 . why with the very organs that we urinate with?” But then again.” The overall message is that real bodies had better be avoided. quite disgusting really. that is without the need to engage your own body. Real bodies are messy things. versus just thumbing your own button. are robots. goes straight to the point by asking: “Do we really need sex? And if so.

The same article had already been published three years earlier in the magazine of the World Transhumanist Association “humanity plus” (when the author still called himself "Hank Hyena". the more and the more explosive. fresh from the Uncanny Valley. the basic. what you really get.net an article by a certain Hank Pellisier entitled “Sexbots Will Give Us Longevity Orgasms”. You can buy them on the internet (www. it seems. A few months ago the Centre for Transhumanity republished on their website transhumanity. Tough choice. They are called sex robots or simply "sexbots". which is about as arousing as watching two coupling ladybirds. automatic sweethearts have already become a reality.sexbots. The images show two sparsely clad and certainly very enticing young women who supposedly are meant to be taken for paradigmatic sexbots (and who look nothing like the real ones of the Ken & Barbie type). and after a while the sex 6 . However. "unmotorized" version for 6. But then. But that means that we hardly ever get enough of it. but at least you can try them before you buy. If I were one I would be obliged to celebrate the rise of the sexbots as another victory in our brave struggle against nature and against nasty bioluddites. What you are being promised is a "life-like sexual companion" with "life-like movements" and a removable skin (for easier cleaning) with "natural flesh-like feel" that is designed "with the movements needed to perform sexual acts" so it can "actually do the job".us).000 USD (plus shipping and handling) and the advanced version ("self-contained. judging from the pictures and short videos in which you can see the bots in action. is an (either male or female) giant Barbie Doll. so twice a day is out of the question.299 USD. the better. rent them first to make sure it's the right thing for you.Today. I'm not a transhumanist. Real human companions tend to have the occasional headache or their period or have to work or what have you. which is probably the worst pseudonym in the history of pseudonyms). rechargeable and touch activated") for 11. The article begins by informing us that sex is good for us. There's even a short video where you can watch Ken and Barbie having sex. that is.

Perfect! "Sexbots will never have headaches. menstrual blood. archives and academic experiments. jock strap itch. like just about everything in the technologically enchanted posthuman world that transhumanists are so fond of salivating over. no embarrassing questions. rape us. diss us on their blog. pubic lice. Enter the sexbots. open-throat silky fellatio. weep when we dump them. yeast infections. herpes. impotence. bug-eyed. disinterest. deliriously gentle kissing.you get is not even particularly good. And it's so much easier. Life will be as it should have been all along. silly expectations. no commitment or obligations. which is really bad for your mental and physical health. Sexbots will heighten our ecstasy until we have shrieking. AIDS/HIV. Sexbots will never stalk us. frothy. genital warts. fatigue. or tell their friends we were boring in bed. or inhibiting phobias. transcendent nipple tweaking. premature ejaculation. which are exactly the kind of sexual partner that we always wanted.000 varieties of coital rhythm with scented lubes — this will all be ours when the Sexbots arrive. g-spot massage & prostate milking dexterity." So finally we're going to get the kind of sex that we deserve. No more foreplay. no more boring conversations. And it's so healthy and can easily add several years to your life. You like sex? You ain't seen nothing yet. plus 2. They’ll offer us quadruple-tongued cunnilingus. no talking back. plus they’ll be uploaded with supreme sex-skills from millennia of erotic manuals. By the year 2050 "sexbots will electrocute our flesh with climaxes thrice as gigantic because they’ll be more desirable. only much. and their anatomy will feature sexplosive devices. eager. amnesia-inducing orgasms." 7 . and altruistic than their meat-bag competition. much better. patient.

Life extension. The statue had all the appearance of a real girl. We don't have to worry about what they feel. He made it lovelier than any woman born. autonomy. But meanwhile. the holy grail of transhumanism. They had to prostitute themselves. and would not yet admit that ivory 8 . Well-being and happiness for everyone. We don't need anyone. Book X: The Propoetides were punished by Venus for denying her divinity. Sexbots won't object." So convenient. so that it seemed to be alive. he skilfully carved a snowy ivory statue. They are means. We can finally take without having to give anything back. (Human lovers are much too needy. We can just use them. So cleverly did his art conceal its art. did not modesty forbid. feeling it to see whether it was flesh or ivory. and long lived a bachelor existence. Mythological source: Ovid. Humans like to see themselves as ends and tend to resent being treated as a mere means.Hyena/ Pellisier further predicts that sexbots will come with an option: eye contact or no eye contact. without any wife to share his home. he was revolted by the many faults which nature has implanted in the female sex. and we don't need that. “Then.) Sexbots make us free. and we are not needed by anyone. Pygmalion gazed in wonder. as all sense of shame left them. the blood hardened in their cheeks. at any time. and it required only a slight alteration to transform them into stony flints. Metamorphoses. the hedonistic imperative. So sexbots are really good for us on so many levels. to want to move. independence. Nature finally defeated. and in his heart there rose a passionate love for this image of a human form. and fell in love with his own creation. Often he ran his hand over the work. living such wicked lives. And they will shower after we have used them "and put themselves back in the closet. When Pygmalion saw these women. with marvellous artistry. They never disobey. And of course control.

Perfect and pure. spoke to it and embraced it. but also perfectly usable.was all it was. 9 .” A living woman without the flaws. Obedient and ready to serve her one and only master. so that he was afraid lest a bruise appear where he had pressed the flesh. He kissed the statue and imagined that it kissed him back. and thought he felt his fingers sink into the limbs he touched.

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