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

Jaime Banks, Joris Van Ouytsel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTechnology, Mind, and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cybersex
  • ontological categorization
  • sexting
  • sexual communication
  • sexual interaction illusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Communication


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