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Are Realistic Sex Dolls Creepy?

Pop culture has condemned men who use sex dolls as icky weirdos. But do they get an unfair rap?
 
 
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“[I found] them super attractive,” doll owner Paul Cupidon reports, “and at the same time I was finding it creepy. It was uncomfortable to want to have sex with inanimate objects that looked so realistic.”

Howard Stern himself, a notoriously unapologetic assholes and an early champion of doll sex, admitted that while it “can feel good, you feel like a real douchebag doing it.”

Plenty of people assume that having sex with a doll doesn’t just feel douchey, it is douchey, and even without the possibility of penetrative sex, users of objects that simulate aspects of a human being, encounter staunch condemnation. Sites like Jezebel and Feministing routinely alert their readers to derision-worthy products that replicate female body parts, and while some are inarguably repulsive—like a toilet framed by a feminine form—others, like the innocuous breast or lap pillows, are deemed equally “vile.” (Dildos, apparently, are above the same reproach.)

Doll owner Szalinski said that he preferred having a full size body because “hand-held toys always gave me an eerie ‘Charles Manson’ like feeling.” Yet in opting to avoid “disturbing” disembodied items by selecting a toy in complete human form, Szalinksi, in the eyes of some, went from being vaguely icky to full-on potential rapist, regardless of his sensitivity to female desire. “[Some of what I do with my doll] I likely wouldn’t even ask of a real woman because she probably would not enjoy [it],” he says.

Cupidon echoed the sentiment: “I had this conflict between my respect for real women and these objects you can use to suit your needs in ways that would be morally unacceptable with a human.” Online and in print, doll owners are under constant suspicion of being serial killers, necrophiliacs, and women-haters. The far less sensational reality is that they’re largely a group of seemingly stable, self-aware individuals who have had or do have human romantic partners.

A Different Kind of Monogamy

“Phil,” a retired Navy man in his 40s, bought his first doll only a year and a half ago, while in a relationship with his current girlfriend. “My dolls help me resist the urge to stray,” he says, “because my RG (real girl) and I have drastically different libidos.” He describes their relationship as “monogamous, loving, stable, and healthy.”

“Midiman,” married and “out” in his community as a doll owner, maintains several sites related to dolls and owns a total of 13 with one more on the way. (There exist many brands besides the famous Real Doll, including the lighter weight BoyToys and the softer, less realistic TeddyBabes.) “I am happily married. And I very much appreciate the beauty and sexuality of women,” he said. “[The dolls] help to balance libido without introducing a third party.”

Midi, like Szalinski and Phil, never indicated that he believed he was in some type of relationship with his dolls. He explicitly referred to them as “masturbation device[s],” even while explaining some are better for cuddling while others are better suited for sex.

Cupidon disavowed the notion of a doll partner flat out: “I can’t imagine a relationship with a doll being as fulfilling as a relationship with a woman. I’m not sure I could have something that I’d call a ‘relationship’ with a doll.”

Dolls not bought primarily for sex or companionship are often intended for use in pictures. This is how Szalinksi first came to own one, and while he has used her sexually on occasion, his primary concern is keeping her in pristine condition for pictures and “that means setting limits.”

 
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