The secular press has provided wide coverage to the legal aspects of sexual relationships with a robot, in the context of infidelity and divorce laws. For instance, in this recent article, a scientist argues that legally, sex with a robot is not infidelity, mainly because the robot is not a person (and the robot would just be like any other sex toy).

Now, beyond this legal aspect, from the point of view of the Magisterium (Catholic Church), would sexual activity with a robot count as adultery? To me this is obviously the case, but what's the more technical explanation? Is it because it involves sexual activity outside a marriage relationship and without the purpose of procreation?

  • 4
    As far as I know, adultery requires two people. Sexual activity with a robot would seem to fit the definition of masturbation. Nov 12 '18 at 16:29
  • Downvoters, please comment.
    – luchonacho
    Nov 12 '18 at 18:20
  • It's fine to invite downvoters to comment, but they are under no obligation to do so. Nov 13 '18 at 14:49
  • I upvoted this question. (A) It is a legitimate question, especially given the assertion of the article from The Guardian referenced by @luchonacho in the question. (B) It is a question that will no doubt continue to be asked and need to be answered, especially as technology advances. Dec 1 '18 at 16:30
  • It isn't adultery, but it will still exclude you from the kingdom of heaven! (as you probably already know) Jan 2 '19 at 1:27

The Catholic Encyclopedia specifies that adultery is an act committed by two persons. Current Catholic thinking does not consider artificial intelligence to be comparable to human intelligence, particularly in the realm of freedom of choice, so it follows that adultery could not apply in this case.

However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines masturbation very widely, as "deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure", and specifies that

The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.

So "sex" with a robot would still be considered sexual misconduct no matter what, as would masturbation with a sex toy or anything else that falls outside of the proper context of marriage.

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