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So at my university, there have been professors who partner with industry, including a sex products company, one which develops devices.

What I'm curious about is how a PhD thesis is looked at which in part involves an area like this? Practically speaking, many skills involving machine design, control theory and perception systems are used so it's not a joke topic but I'm curious if the area itself has a negative impact on career development.

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  • Is this for a PhD in engineering? I suspect there is not enough information available to give you an answer that is not primarily opinion-based. But generally speaking it is good for your career if you have vigorous, but not excessive, competition. – Anonymous Physicist Sep 6 '20 at 3:07
  • This is probably unanswerable without country – Azor Ahai -him- Sep 6 '20 at 15:23
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For a topic like this, I’d recommend making sure it’s something you’re comfortable having your identity tied to.

On this particular topic, I know folks who have outwardly countercultural identities built up, in which they've made work in this area part of said identity, and others for which they are more mainstream, matter-of-fact about the role of sexuality in everyday lives.

The key thing to avoid would be a topic that made you personally feel awkward/embarrassed about telling people about it (unless you were sure that you wanted to become less embarrassed about it, and practiced braking down your discomfort before becoming committed to it).

With respect to careers, it will likely be limiting in some aspects, but open other doors (and this ties into the identity aspect via asking yourself what you actually want out of life).

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  • Interesting, on a personal level I wouldn't have any problem developing products which target certain demographics(CIS het people) but I suspect the professor and company is more interested in alternative groups which I wouldn't be a good fit for. – FourierFlux Sep 6 '20 at 19:04

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