A sex doll sharing service has been banned in China after people said it would be a 'bad influence on society'

A sex robot prototype unveiled at an adult conference in 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sharing is the latest trend. We share our cars, we share our homes, and we even share our dogs through companies that are all looking to cash in on this sharing craze.

But there are probably some things that shouldn’t be shared.

A sex doll sharing service called Touch has been banned just four days after it launched in Beijing, according to The South China Morning Post.

“We are sorry to announce that Touch will suspend the operation of its ‘girlfriend sharing’ service,” Xiamen HaiBao Information Technology Co, the developer of Touch, reportedly said in a statement on Monday.

Touch launched the service last Thursday, revealing five life-size silicone dolls that users could rent for 298 yuan ($US45) a day. The dolls typically cost over 10,000 yuan ($US1,500) each.

Touch touted the sex dolls as objects that could be used for “short term companionship.”

The sex doll sharing service was hoping to expand across China after a trial in Beijing but things didn’t go to plan. People reportedly complained to Chinese authorities that the company was a “bad influence on society.”

“Soon after the ‘girlfriend sharing service’ launched, it triggered intensive attention and heated discussion online,” the statement seen by The South China Morning Post reportedly said. “We were informed by relevant authorities and voluntarily cooperate with all the investigations and accept the punishment.”

A report published in July found that sex robots and life-like sex dolls are becoming increasingly advanced and that they’re far more prolific in society than people realise.

Co-author Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics at the University of Sheffield, said sex robots had a number of ethical implications when he revealed the report, called “Our Sexual Future with Robots”.

One example is using the robots as a kind of pre-emptive measure against rape.

“The idea is robots would resist your sexual advances so that you could rape them,” said Sharkey. “Some people say it’s better they rape robots than rape real people. There are other people saying this would just encourage rapists more.”

Some of the sex robots on the market look incredibly human-like, he added. They’re able to perform an increasing number of sexual acts including fellatio and male sex robots can “thrust” with a fake penis.

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