An emerging sexual identity known as "digisexuality" is said to be gaining traction among open-minded youngsters in Britain, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Research by academics Neil McArthur and Markie Twist, who co-authored a paper titled "The Rise of Digisexuality", suggests the trend is becoming more commonplace.
These digisexuals are forgoing humans in favour of intimate, and even sexual, relationships with advanced computer software and lifelike robots, according to Markie and McArthur.
One digisexual Akihiko Kondo, a 35-year-old school administrator who married a virtual reality singer in Japan, deems himself to be sexual minority facing discrimination.
For those who identity as digisexuals, Markie and McArthur believe they may be resistance akin to the pushback against other sexual minorities such as homo, trans, and bisexuals.
Pressuring for human rights protections could be one way in which digisexuals attempt to achieve recognition.