Teledildonics and rape by deception

Robert Sparrow, Lauren Karas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


It is now possible to buy sex toys that connect to the user’s phone or computer via Bluetooth and can be controlled remotely. The use of such Internet-enabled haptic sex toys involves an ineliminable risk of being deceived about particular features of one’s sexual partner and/or about which person one was having ‘sex’ with. Where this occurs, it is possible that the user would become the victim of rape-by-deception. We argue that determining whether a person using an Internet-enabled haptic sex toy has been raped or not when they are involved in a sexual encounter with someone – or something – other than that they intended requires us to confront difficult questions about the definition and significance of sexual intercourse and about the nature and harm of rape. Our discussion of these topics suggests that the use of such devices is more ethically fraught than has been appreciated to date.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-204
Number of pages30
JournalLaw, Innovation and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • cybersex
  • ethics
  • Internet
  • rape
  • Teledildonics

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