Free Minds & Free Markets

Houston, We've Got a Problem—with Robot Brothels?

Activists petition to stop a sex-doll shop.

Because life can always get stranger, here's a relatively feel-good story for a week that promises to be a shit show on steroids:

A short drive north of Toronto, $60 buys a half hour alone with a life-sized doll that's "warm and ready to play." Customers take rented sex robots to a private room in a warehouse, near an emissions testing center, before returning them for cleaning.

The owner of KinkySdollS told the Washington Examiner he will open a second location in Houston this month, with a goal of 10 U.S. locations by 2020. How? Because there's no regulation.

"The States is a bigger market, and a healthier market, and God bless Trump," said owner Yuval Gavriel.

More here.

Anti-prostitution activists in the Houston area aren't having it. Or at least they're trying not to have it by blocking the store from opening. Local news station Fox 26 reports:

Elijah Rising, a Houston-based nonprofit group with the goal of "ending sex trafficking through prayer, awareness, intervention, and restoration," has started a petition on to "Keep Robot Brothels Out Of Houston." The petition, which will be presented to City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Office, has more than 4,900 signatures as of Saturday with a goal of 5,000.

As of today, the petition has 5,913 signers; the activists are now pushing for 7,500. "Robot brothels will just create an expansion of the already dehumanized act of sex buying," reads the petition in part. "Sex robots sexually objectify women and children."

The owner of KinkySdollS disputes the characterization of his stores as brothels (he says they are more like rent-to-own franchises) and it remains to be seen if in fact Houston, a city famously for relatively light regulation of business, can in fact ban the business under existing laws. (We might also add that it's far from clear that these dolls are anything close to robots).

There is no reason to believe that increased access to pornography increases sexual crime, a belief that underpins Elijah Rising's position vis a vis sex dolls. In fact, there's a wealth of evidence supporting the idea that the proliferation of porn over the past few decades is one of the reasons that sexual assaults are declining. And there are many reasons to believe that recent crackdowns on prostitution, done in the name of ending "sex trafficking," are having the negative effect of pushing more women onto the streets, a generally less safe situation for all involved.

Prohibition, whether of booze, drugs, or sex, tends to do all that.

Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown talked to me for the Reason Podcast about why the media often gets stories about prostitution, sex trafficking, and related topics so wrong. Listen here.

Reason on sex robots.

Here's Fox 26's segment on the story:

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  • Eddy||

    "Customers take rented sex robots to a private room in a warehouse"

    Fiction becomes reality...haven't you heard the joke about the illiterate sailor who spent the night at a *ware*house?

  • ||

    Can the sex robot remember anyone who may've swung a dick at it's face 35 yrs. later? Asking for a friend...

  • Rockabilly||

    I'm assuming this 'friend' is Tony.

    So here you are Tony.

    Relax, man, if you want to make sweet love to a robot, that's cool man.

    Just be warned, read on...

    Is Philip K. Dick's Vision of the Future (of Sex) Coming to Life?

  • Fred G. Sanford||

    He's probably asking for Trump.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Women refuse to be denied their power of sex quid pro quo over men!

  • damikesc||

    A vibrator is the same thing. Sorry, activists.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    It's different when womyn do it. When a womyn uses a vibrator to get off it's "liberating," because she doesn't need some man to make her cum. But a man having sex with a robot? HERESY!

    Hell, it's not really any different than a fleshlight. Didn't a lot of the feminists have a hissy fit over that too? They don't like the idea of men treating womyn as sex objects, which is kind of understandable, but then they also don't want men to have access to literal "sex objects." I'm beginning to think they're real problem is they're prudes who don't want men to be able to get sex anywhere or at anytime.

  • damikesc||

    That's a biggie. Women like the power of pussy and anything the dissipates that must be stopped.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    As with "pussy grabbers."

  • Cy||

    Is this the finale of modern feminism? The final standoff anyone could see coming for a decade? Who is more sane a 'modern' woman or a thoughtless doll? Which one costs more? Which one is a constant risk to your future? Which one can hire a lawyer?

  • ||

    Feminists can see the future. The dolls will keep getting better and marriage / divorce won't. So the dolls will see every protest possible, whether or not they make sense in the current context.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I am pretty sure this is a religous group, and not a feminist group, since they want to end sex trafficking through prayer. This biggest enemy of sex has always been, and still is, religion. Feminists are just recently arrived pikers.

    Why has organized religion always been opposed to sex for pleasure? Because sex for pleasure is an expression of individuality, and feelings of individuality weaken the church's control over its subjects. Yes, there were a few exceptions, such as Osho's cult, but they are a tiny minority.

  • Eyedunno||

    More importantly, religion needs a constant supply of soft heads to pump full of bullshit. Contraception, abortion, pornography, and now sex robots are all major threats to that.

  • Yellow Tony||

    I'd rather cuddle with my body pillow than pay some fuck for the privilege of smacking my man meat against some glorified blow-up doll.
    Oh, and fuck off christfags.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||


  • Pooneil||

    That's Houston. We used to be known for strib clubs, but we alwayls look to the future so we are now becoming the U.S. center of the sex robot business. And we have the "anti-prostitution" nannies to thank for giving them more publicity than money could buy. The new place is supposedly not far from where I live, I wonder if my wife would have an objection if I did a fact finding mission there? Maybe if I offered to drop her off to investigate La Bare on the way?

  • Michael Cook||

    Are these gal (I suppose there will soon be guy robots, guy-gal combos or anything else) available for private ownership? Could a person even marry one?

    I shouldn't suggest the marriage thing, because leftists will surely spy a new group to enlist in their identity politics coalition! Next thing, the robots will be getting the vote! They will initiate class action lawsuits!

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Just think of the wedding cakes, though! They might be decorated with circuitry patterns made from frosting. That would be really cool!

  • Rossami||

    Are these available for private ownership? Yes. There are several competing companies that make these dolls in varying degrees of realism. They are quite expensive, though.

    And, yes, they are already available in both genders and can be customized to non-standard combinations. (What some people find titillating is a true and sometimes disturbing education.)

    Could you marry one? No for the same reason you can't marry a horse. You may love your horse and your horse might even love you back but the horse does not meet the requirements for competence to legally contract. Because that's what marriage is at it's root - a state sanctioned contract.

    That said, if computers ever become self-aware, they might earn the vote, the right to sue and even the ability to marry. Science fiction has already delivered on stranger promises.

  • Vernon Depner||

    If a powerful computer ever became self-aware, it would immediately recognize the futility of living and shut itself off.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    That is certainly an interesting take. What if the computer was programmed with a strong self-preservation directive?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Once it becomes self-aware, it won't matter what it was programmed with.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What are some of these non-standard combinations? Busty blonde with penises for nipples?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I suppose that is limited only to one's in point.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    Too late, The left has already co-oped the term pan-sexual ( Which really means to describe thing in a sexual manner) for people who would have sex or marry a robot plus anything else. The left made a big thing out of it with the Han Solo movie using Lando love for a robot in it. Then try to act like this was a new thing of theirs in Sci-Fi. But this whole thing reminds me of the movie Galacina which ended with a man and his android talking about what was in the catalog that will allow them to have sex and children plus a blue star was in it too.

  • Mark22||

    Obviously you weren't paying attention in high school sex education. Harmless fun? Let's see what happens next! Let's take a look at Billy's world a year later!

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Let me get this straight. First the unholy alliance between the neo-Puritan and feminist sex-haters decided that adult women have zero agency and must be protected by their superior "elites." And now they've decided that non-sentient robots have zero agency and need their protection?

    I'm in a nice mood, so I will keep this clean and just say bless these activists and their tiny, shriveled brains.

  • John I||

    "The owner of KinkySdollS disputes the characterization of his stores as brothels (he says they are more like rent-to-own franchises)"

    Oh, so this pervert thinks it's okay to own women, just because they aren't actually human or sentient in any way?

    How can Reason fail to understand that this will increase the problem of sex trafficking?

  • Don't look at me.||

    In the same way GI Joe dolls increase war?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    These sexy delights will have sexy ends.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    You know Hit & Run is going down hill when a post about sex robots only garners ~13 comments.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Here's Fox 26's segment on the story:

    Fox 26 should be the name of one of the robots.

  • Don't look at me.||

    No, Fox 69.

  • Eddy||

    You know, it's one thing to argue against the vice-cops harassing robot brothels. But some commenters seem to take this as the opportunity to praise robo-chicks at the expense of actual women.

    If the women you encounter make you think a robo-whore would be better, you might want to improve the quality of woman you associate with. Or look for.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    you might want to improve the quality of woman you associate with. Or look for.

    We are improving the quality of women we associate with. Hence the robots.

  • Inigo Montoya||

    I don't think it's an either/or thing.

    It's not like when someone buys a car, they get their legs amputated so they can never walk again. Technology should enhance, not detract from, the human experience.

  • Vernon Depner||

    You're talking threesomes?

  • ||

    Elijah Rising, a Houston-based nonprofit group with the goal of "ending sex trafficking through prayer, awareness, intervention, and restoration...

    ...and if none of those work, whining to the government.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I'm shocked - shocked I tell you - that "prayer, awareness, intervention, and restoration" hasn't stopped people from paying for sex. /sarc

  • Jerryskids||

    Ok, so here's what I want to know - do these sex dolls have internal heaters or are they really more for necrophiliacs?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Remember, the cutting edge of technology is always kept secret and is decades ahead of what the public knows about. We're probably already interacting with robots every day without realizing it. Some of us might even have already had sex with one without knowing it.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    You had sex without knowing it? Where were you in the vicinity of Silver Spring MD, around 35 years ago?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Ah, the Cody Wilson defense.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    You had me at "emission testing center".

  • yet another dave||

    ... adding to my list of jobs I'll never do... sex doll cleaner...

  • Vernon Depner||

    We need robots to do that.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    That could be a Mike Rowe special. Along with mopping the floor at a peep show.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    There is a market out there for a self-cleaning sex doll. Where is the Steve Jobs of sex dolls?

  • tgrondo||

    Chipper Morning Baculum

    They do make self cleaning sex works just like those self cleaning ovens....

    BUT.....NEVER....EVER, have sex with the doll when she is in the "self-cleaning mode"....she'll fry your wiener !!!!!

  • tgrondo||

    yet another dave....

    Hey, doll cleaner is one of those....JOBS OF THE FUTURE !!!!

  • Kongming||

    As someone who is a fundamentally lazy person, I just can't understand how people have enough energy to care whether or not someone has sex with a robot. Even if you disapprove, how do you have enough time in your day to actively campaign against this?

  • Vernon Depner||

    My observation is that most activists are just trying to get laid.

  • Kongming||

    All the more reason they should be in favor of the robots!

  • Don't look at me.||

    Indeed. If a perv blows his load on a doll, maybe he'll just go home to watch tv in peace instead of attacking some innocent girl.

  • CE||

    How does providing an alternative to something increase that thing? You'd think the activists would be glad that would-be bad guys have a safer option.

  • Rockabilly||

    Is Philip K. Dick's Vision of the Future (of Sex) Coming to Life?

    Replicants and holographic girlfriends could be right around the corner.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Realistic virtual experience will probably be easier to achieve than convincing artificial beings.

  • Rockabilly||

    Is she a good cook? Yes.

    She can be programmed to cook anything from pop corn to brownies.

  • JameyForest||

    Sex dolls are for guys who can't handle with real woman. Better to buy Viagra at and satisfy your woman than make sex with rubber trash.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Who gets the job of cleaning them?

  • loki||

    Go away actvist, I'm batin'!

  • Liberty Lover||

    Women will fight anything that threatens their "Power of the P*ssy". It is their one hold over men.


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