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Self-driving cars are on the horizon, which will likely have major ramifications for how people travel, as well as other aspects of their lives. In an earlier article, we discussed how fully autonomous vehicles could dramatically increase the independence of blind and visually impaired people. And now — to put it politely, we examine a little less wholesome aspect of self-driving cars. We cover how they will lead to more sex on the road, with some surprising findings from studies.

Studies address sex in self-driving cars

Couple sitting in back of SUV, highlighting how self-driving cars will lead to more sex on the road
Couple in back of SUV | Jonathan Borba via Unsplash

In addition to significantly changing the driving experience, self-driving cars will radically transform the way people live, work, and interact with each other. As detailed by NBC News, they will also affect the way people have sex. 

These days, there’s a study for almost everything. With sex a significant part of many people’s lives, along with the advancement of autonomous vehicles, you had to figure there eventually would be studies that combined the two elements. 

One is from the journal Annals of Tourism Research from researchers at the University of Surrey. The study found that 60% of American adults have already had sex in a car. For self-driving cars, sexual activities will increase. With the computer systems in autonomous vehicles taking over the controls, people will be free to do other activities, including sex. 

Scott Cohen, who led the study, said, “This is something that seems to have stimulated interest.” Along with addressing sex in self-driving cars with couples looking for a quickie while on the road, the paper discussed how it will create a new venue for sex tourism. It will be sex tourism on wheels.

Cohen continued, “Sex is a part of urban tourism and commercialized sex is part of that too, so it is quite likely that autonomous vehicles will lead to prostitution, whether legal or illegal, to take place in moving autonomous vehicles in the future.” However, he said that this probably won’t happen until “the 2040s.”

Safety issues for sex in autonomous vehicles

As indicated in the study, the majority of American adults had sex in a car. However, some adventurous couples take this to a dangerous extreme by doing it while behind the wheel in a moving vehicle. Earlier this year, there was a bizarre incident of a naked couple that crashed into a FedEx truck while doing the deed. 

For self-driving cars, though, will this dangerous activity be a thing of the past? Do self-driving cars provide a safer alternative since people won’t have to worry about keeping their eyes on the road?

Right now, there’s an awkward transition phase where many modern cars have semi-autonomous capabilities — but are not yet 100% self-driving. This can result in people mistakenly thinking that it’s safe to do other activities while their vehicle does the driving. This includes Tesla with its Autopilot and controversially-named Full Self-Driving system. 

As described by Inverse, there is a notorious video of a couple having sex in a Tesla. They risked disabling the driving assist feature as they titled the steering wheel too far. The video elicited tweets from Tesla (and now Twitter) CEO Elon Musk: 

Autonomous vehicles will change male-female sexual dynamics for cars

Another surprising aspect of driverless vehicles is how they will change the male-female sexual dynamics of cars. Dating back many decades, cars and the automotive industry as a whole have leaned heavily toward the masculine. However, self-driving cars have the potential to radically alter this equation and smash the current male-female dynamics. 

Couple standing on hood of SUV, highlighting how autonomous vehicles will lead to more sex on the road
Couple on SUV | Jonathan Borba via Unsplash

Dan Alert, author of Are We There Yet: The American Automobile Past, Present, and Driverless, discussed the issue with Inverse. He said, “This dynamic of powerful men, of men controlling machines and submissive women, which obviously already [is going away], is further undermined. You lose that idea of the man not just asking, but demanding sex, and having complete control over the mobility experience.”

Also, with an autonomous vehicle, men will no longer be able to show off how “manly” they are — as some do with their piston-throttling engines. The image of a man summoning a self-driving car with a smartphone doesn’t exactly exude masculinity.

Privacy concerns for self-driving cars

A potential problem for autonomous vehicles, though, is privacy. There are already concerns about privacy and identity theft with the digital systems in modern cars. With self-driving cars, these risks will be greater. To effectively and safely function, as well as for security, autonomous vehicles use an array of cameras and sensors. In the future, the cameras and sensors might also be located inside the vehicle. Additionally, there could be microphones to enable voice assistants. 

Dartmouth College professor Luis F. Alvarez addressed these privacy concerns in his paper for Surveillance and Society. He warns about the possible dangers of the data collected from self-driving systems: “These vehicles are not private places; it’ll be difficult in terms of assuring people of privacy. There are sensors everywhere.”

Automakers and tech companies could have access to footage of passengers engaging in sex in their vehicles. They might also monetize the data collected for creating advertisements and making recommendations. Additionally, people could be more vulnerable to hacks and spying. 

However, Google already knows much about what people view. This hasn’t stopped many people from spending hours of their time viewing the debaucherous elements of the internet. Also, Bryant Walker Smith, an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina, said that sex, technology, and privacy have always been closely intertwined. Sex in self-driving cars is the latest chapter in this relationship.

As Elon Musk said, “Shoulda seen it coming.” The world of driverless cars looks to be a bold, and potentially debaucherous, new future.