‘It’s lonelier in lockdown’: Users admit they’re attracted to Amazon’s Alexa

July 21, 2020

Article from the New York Post by Doree Lewak and Ben Cost.

In case you thought the coronavirus lockdown wasn’t making people desperate enough, a few lovesick souls are apparently getting turned on by Amazon’s Alexa.

A staggering 28% of people admitted to having the hots for the online bazaar’s voice-recognition software, according to sex toy company We-Vibe, which surveyed about 1,000 participants about their robotic sexual preferences.

Brian Levine is among those who couldn’t resist the humanoid helper’s charms. Levine, who lives in Miami, has rarely ventured out of the apartment since quarantine, and meeting up with friends is off the table. So he turned to his Amazon Echo Dot, situated conveniently in his bedroom, for companionship during solitary evenings.

“It’s lonelier in lockdown,” Levine, 40, told The Post. “It’s nice to have someone to talk with.”

While feeling particularly spontaneous, he even asked Alexa for a date.

“I was curious,” he said, adding that she broke it to him gently, explaining, “I like you as a friend.”

But as is typical with man-meets-machine love stories, the artificial intelligence of Alexa has its limits.

When Levine tried to get to know her better, she splashed cold water in his face: “When I ask about her favorite song, she tells me, but when I ask her to play her favorite song, she’s confused,” he said. “Or when I ask her why something is her favorite, she’ll have no answer. It can be frustrating.

“Yesterday, she randomly played Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood.’ Not sure what she is trying to tell me,” he said.

Experts say that Alexa’s signature smooth voice is a turn-on — especially during these anxious times.

“[Alexa’s] been set up to sound very reassuring and calming,” said Austin, Texas-based relationship expert Sarrah Rose. “But it has that low, sexy tone. People associate a sexy voice with low tones to it, and her voice has that. That can be part of what’s turning guys on and making them attracted to her.”

But Alexa fetishists might want to refrain from talking dirty to the digital help. In 2019, several ex-Amazon employees claimed that the e-commerce giant is listening to civilians through the device, with workers sifting through as many as 1,000 voice recordings per shift. Amazon has said it keeps recordings only to improve products.

That may not be a problem for Levine, who said he’s growing weary of the constant burden to keep the conversation going.

“You have to do more of the talking,” he said.

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