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      Cybersex With Human- and Machine-Cued Partners: Gratifications, Shortcomings, and Tensions

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          Abstract

          From social-network spambots and forensic chatbots to dating simulation games, sexual communication with machines is not uncommon in contemporary culture—however, it remains effectively a black-box phenomenon. There is little empirical research examining how sexual human–machine communication (HMC-S) is experienced, whether it is impactful, or whether it may be similar or different to human–human sexual communication. Advancing our understanding of those questions is vital in understanding the potential for machine partners to foster the health and welfare benefits, as well as the potential to have negative impacts. This study takes a first step in considering experiential parity or divergence by experimentally investigating 271 people’s cybersex experience with a chat partner that was visually and textually cued as a human or a machine. Multimethod analysis suggests there may be no difference in gratifications from sex chat with ostensible machine versus human partners; however, participants seem to experience tensions between the gratifications and shortcomings of cybersex with machine-cued partners.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Technology, Mind, and Behavior
                American Psychological Association
                2689-0208
                September 1, 2020
                : 1
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1]College of Media & Communication, Texas Tech University
                [2]Department of Communication Studies, University of Antwerp
                Author notes
                Action Editor: Danielle S. McNamara was the action editor for this article.
                Disclosure and Acknowledgments: The authors have no conflicts of interest to report. The authors thank the chatbot developer (who wished to remain anonymous) for their contribution of the stimulus chatbot; the project would not have otherwise been possible. The work of Joris Van Ouytsel is supported by the Research Foundation—Flanders (12J8719N). The study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation of the data, writing of the report and the decision to submit the article for publication were the sole responsibility of the authors and were in no way influenced by the funding institution.

                The data are available at https://osf.io/n9df7/.

                The experiment materials are available at https://osf.io/n9df7/.

                Disclaimer: Interactive content is included in the online version of this article.
                [*] Jaime Banks, College of Media and Communication, Texas Tech University, Box 43082, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA j.banks@ttu.edu
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7598-4337
                Article
                2020-63912-001
                10.1037/tmb0000008
                566cfc16-aabc-4af4-ac5f-b7b928c5ef12
                © 2020 The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC-ND). This license permits copying and redistributing the work in any medium or format for noncommercial use provided the original authors and source are credited and a link to the license is included in attribution. No derivative works are permitted under this license.

                History

                Education,Psychology,Vocational technology,Engineering,Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                sexual communication,ontological categorization,cybersex,sexual interaction illusion,sexting

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