Sex doll

Sex doll
A high end sex doll.

A sex doll (also love doll or blow up doll) is a type of sex toy in the size and shape of a sexual partner for aid in masturbation.

The sex doll may consist of an entire body with face, or just a pelvic part, with the accessories (vagina, anus, mouth, penis) for sexual stimulation. The parts are sometimes vibrating and may be removable or interchangeable.



The dame de voyage (French) or dama de viaje (Spanish) was a direct predecessor to today's sex dolls that originated in the seventeenth century. Dames de voyage were makeshift fornicatory dolls made of sewn cloth or old clothes, used by French and Spanish sailors while isolated at sea during long voyages.[1]

One of the earliest recorded appearances of manufactured sex dolls dates to 1908, in Iwan Bloch's The Sexual Life of Our Time. Bloch wrote:

In this connection we may refer to fornicatory acts effected with artificial imitations of the human body, or of individual parts of that body. There exist true Vaucansons in this province of pornographic technology, clever mechanics who, from rubber and other plastic materials, prepare entire male or female bodies, which, as hommes or dames de voyage, subserve fornicatory purposes. More especially are the genital organs represented in a manner true to nature. Even the secretion of Bartholin's glans is imitated, by means of a "pneumatic tube" filled with oil. Similarly, by means of fluid and suitable apparatus, the ejaculation of the semen is imitated. Such artificial human beings are actually offered for sale in the catalogue of certain manufacturers of "Parisian rubber articles."[2]

In August 1955, Max Weissbrodt of the Hausser/Elastolin company created one of the first sex dolls to be marketed as such: an 11.5-inch plastic figurine named Bild Lilli, modeled after the hypersexualized appearance of a cartoon character named Lilli that had gained popularity in the German newspaper Bild Zeitung. Bild Lilli was marketed as a joke doll for "men who perhaps could not afford the real thing", advertised via pamphlets distributed to men who frequented German red-light districts such as Hamburg's Reeperbahn. Lilli dolls bore a striking resemblance to today's Barbie dolls.[3]

The production of human simulacra to substitute for human sexual partners took several technological leaps forward in the late twentieth century. By the 1970s, vinyl, latex and silicone had become the materials most frequently used in the manufacture of sex dolls; silicone in particular allowed a greater degree of realism.[4]

A 1982 attempt to import a consignment of sex dolls into Britain had the unintended consequence of ending the law against importing "obscene or indecent" items that were not illegal to sell within the UK. Having had the dolls seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise officers, David Sullivan's Conegate Ltd. took the case all the way to the European Court of Justice, and won in 1987.[5] Britain was forced to lift its stringent import prohibitions dating from 1876, because for imports from within the European Community they constituted a barrier to free trade under the terms of the Treaty of Rome.

Commercial forms

simple inflatable vinyl sex doll

Cheaper sex dolls are inflatable, using air. These dolls, representing the lowest price-range (less than $75), are usually made of welded vinyl and bear only a passing resemblance to actual people. They have an artificial and typically crudely designed vagina or penis, but due to their affordability many users are willing to overlook their shortcomings. They often burst at the seams after a few uses, although they are commonly given as gag gifts and therefore many may not be used at all.

At the middle market price-range ($100 to approximately $1,000), dolls are made of heavy latex without welded seams or a polyurethane and silicone mixture, typically surrounding a foam core. Most have plastic mannequin-style heads and styled wigs, plastic or glass eyes, and occasionally properly moulded hands and feet. Some contain water-filled body areas such as the breasts or buttocks.

The manufacturing process causes most latex dolls to be delivered with a fine coating of zinc oxide covering the skin, which is usually removed by the consumer by placing the doll under the shower. Otherwise, latex is an inert and non-toxic natural material; although a small percentage of users may discover a latex allergy.

A RealDoll with face #11

The most expensive sex dolls (approximately $1,200 and up) are usually made from silicone. They can be very lifelike, with faces and bodies modelled on real people in some instances, with realistic skin material (similar to that used for movie special effects), and with realistic (or even real) hair. These dolls usually have an articulated PVC or metal skeleton with flexible joints that allows them to be positioned in a variety of positions for display and for sexual acts. Silicone sex dolls are obviously heavier than inflatable ones (which consist mostly of air), but are roughly half the weight of a real human being of comparable size.

In Japan, sex dolls are known as "Dutch Wives" ('dattchi waifu'). Their name originates from the term, possibly English, for the thick rattan or bamboo bolster, used to aid sleep in humid countries by keeping one's limbs lifted above sweaty sheets. There is even a business, Doru no Mori in Tokyo, that rents sex dolls and rooms to male customers.[6][7] In March 2007 the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported that there are also rental businesses that bring the dolls to the customer's home, and that the specialist love-doll magazine Aidroid has a print-run of 10,000 copies per issue.[8]

The middle market and high-end market emerged in the USA around 1992. The market has grown for two main reasons. Firstly, the last nineteen years have seen huge improvements over earlier types of sex dolls, and customers come to realize this through using the web. Secondly, the method of retail purchase has also improved, now showing customers what the actual doll, seams, hair, and even orifices look like.

There are now sites that do not sell dolls, but just show them so that customers can make informed decisions on the aesthetics prior to purchase[9]—then the customers select online from stores instead of having to take "pot luck" in a sex shop, and a possible purchase can be discussed first in anonymous online forums with existing owners. Extras to customize a doll to one's personal taste (wigs, clothes, perfumes, etc.) can also be purchased online.

New materials and technologies

CybOrgasMatrix dolls used an innovative material—a very elastic gel with a strong shape memory, which they have shown in side-by-side tests is superior to silicone in elasticity, shape memory, and durability. Additional options listed on the company's website at one time included a pelvic thruster motor and audio capability (using wireless headphones). Similarly, the First Androids company once offered a wide range of options to enhance the realism of its dolls, including heated orifices. Several modern doll manufacturers now offer this option on their silicone dolls, with the addition of an internal heating system.

In June 2006, Henrik Christensen of the European Robotics Research Network told the UK's Sunday Times that "people are going to be having sex with robots within five years."[10]

Novelty forms

In Japan one can purchase inflatable love pillows or ("dakimakura") that are printed with a life-size picture of a porn star or anime character.

Some inflatable sex dolls are made in the form of animals, most notably sheep and cows. These dolls are more of a joke gift or party novelty, and are often not suitable for sexual use.

Other less popular novelty love dolls include overweight, transvestite, elderly and alien dolls, which are usable for pleasure but also tend to be given as gag gifts.

Some companies manufacture cloth sex dolls using the same technology that is used to create plush toys for children. With widespread cultural use of the internet amongst younger generations, numerous forums exist for amateurs who create their own sex dolls from fabric or other materials. There are even mailing lists for discussing techniques and experiences with MLDs (material love dolls)[citation needed].

Some inflatable dolls even have the form of children. However, owners may be pursued for possession of child pornography material.[11]

In culture

Ring a Ring of Roses by John LeKay, 1990–91, sexual surrogate dolls and masks.
  • A central scene in Japanese filmmaker Atsushi Yamatoya's cult pink film Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands (1967) involved a shack full of sex dolls. He would revisit the sex doll motif in his script for director Chūsei Sone's Nikkatsu Roman porno Love Doll Report: An Adult Toy (1975).[12]
  • Roxy Music's 1973 song "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" (from their album "For Your Pleasure") is both a satirical look by Bryan Ferry at opulent lifestyles and a paean to an inflatable sex doll. The lyrics end with the lines, "I blew up your body/But you blow my mind."
  • The Police's 1978 song "Be My Girl -- Sally" (from their album "Outlandos d'Amour") features a central section within which guitarist Andy Summers recites a poem about Sally, the inflatable sex doll he 'weds' in lieu of a real wife.
  • 1991–1992, artist John LeKay in New York exhibited "sex-pieces", consisting of blow up sex dolls wearing cartoonish masks, arranged in "group sex" tableaux.[13]
  • A sex doll features as a central plot device in Tom Sharpe's satirical crime novel Wilt.
  • Howard Stern of radio fame mentioned that a modern doll was "the best sex I've ever had." Stern also purchased a RealDoll, which he posed in his studio as a gag prop, and often referred to during interviews with guests. This might be the same doll mentioned above.
  • The film "Shooting Fish" (1997) features the main characters, Jez and Dylan, winning some inflatable dolls in a competition - however they dance with them rather than use them for sex. The dolls later play a major part in a con to win back the money to buy their dream house.
  • Malice@Doll is a 2000 Japanese computer generated OVA about a sex doll and her run down robot world.
  • Novels centering on sex dolls include Richard Calder's Dead Girls. Cinema-release movies include Monique (France, Valerie Guignabodet, 2002), Love Object (US, Robert Parigi, 2003), Dead Doll (Adam Sherman, 2004), Life Size (Tamaño Natural, 1973), and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Japan, 2004).
Stuckist demonstration against the Turner Prize.
  • In 2003 Jake and Dinos Chapman exhibited a sculpture, Death, in the Turner Prize at Tate Britain, England. The sculpture looked like two plastic sex dolls, but was in fact painted bronze. It provoked a demonstration by the Stuckist art group. displaying two plastic sex dolls.[14]
  • The cult film Love Object (2003), written and directed by Robert Parig, concerns a socially awkward technical writer who develops an obsessive relationship with Nikki, a rubber sex doll he orders.
  • On Tim Minchin's 2005 album Darkside, his song "Inflatable You" refers to his fictional girlfriend, who is revealed through the lyrics to be a sex doll.
  • The film, Lars and the Real Girl has a plot where a sweet but delusional man purchases a high end sex doll for a completely platonic relationship while his community cooperates in order for him to work his emotional issues (his mother died while giving birth to him).
  • The 2007 Five documentary film Guys and Dolls describes four British and American men and their relationships with sex dolls.[1]
  • In an episode of The Office, Michael Scott brings a blow up doll to a sexual harassment meeting, but the doll wears panties (presumably for FCC reasons).
  • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 on the level "Loose Ends" and its Special Operations (Spec Ops) counterpart "Estate Takedown" there is a sex doll in the top floor bathtub, and the multiplayer map "Estate" (There are a few different arrangements of tables and a few rooms are completely different) downstairs, on a little shelf under the stairs is another.
  • Air Doll is a 2009 film about an inflatable sex doll coming to life.
  • In an episode of the comedy series Only Fools and Horses, Del Boy acquires some sex dolls which turn out to be lethal(they explode).
  • In 2010, is an interactive website contest that allows users to upload homemade videos of themselves and their interactions with a Joanna Angel inflatable sex doll.
  • Since 2003 the rafting competition "Bubble Baba Challenge" is held annually in Losevo (near Saint-Petersburg, Russia) where participants raft over the Vuoksa River on inflatable sex dolls. Its popularity gradually increases with 326 participants in 2007 vs 60 in 2003.
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a 2001 film with a character named "Gigolo Joe". He is a robot built for prostitution.

See also


  1. ^ Ferguson, Anthony. The Sex Doll: A History. McFarland, 2010. p 16. ISBN 9780786447947
  2. ^ Bloch, Iwan. The Sexual Life of Our Time. p. 660. ISBN 1451003579. 
  3. ^ Ferguson, Anthony. The Sex Doll: A History. McFarland, 2010. pp 27-28. ISBN 9780786447947
  4. ^ Ferguson, Anthony. The Sex Doll: A History. McFarland, 2010. p 31. ISBN 9780786447947
  5. ^ Conegate v Commissioners of Customs and Excise (No 121/85) Queen's Bench (1987) 254.
  6. ^ Tokyo Times blog, 17 December 2004
  7. ^ Japanorama, BBC Three, Season 3 Episode 2, first aired 26 March 2007
  8. ^ Blow up love-doll business puts boom into boom-boom, Mainichi Shimbun, 6 March 2006
  9. ^ "Photos of Inflated Dolls and Detailing". 
  10. ^ Habershon, Ed; Woods, Richard (2006-06-18). "No sex please, robot, just clean the floor — Times Online". The Times (London).,,2087-2230715,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  11. ^ "Blow-Up Dolls Jail Bait?". 21 September 2006. 
  12. ^ Weisser, Thomas; Yuko Mihara Weisser (1998). Japanese Cinema Encyclopedia: The Sex Films. Miami: Vital Books : Asian Cult Cinema Publications. pp. 210–211, 251. ISBN 1-88928-852-7. 
  13. ^ "Biography", Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  14. ^ "Turner Prize Goes to Perry – and Claire", The Guardian, December 8, 2003. Retrieved March 22, 2006.

Further reading

  • Elisabeth Alexandre. Des Poupées et des hommes — enquete sur l'amour Artif. (2005). ISBN 2-84271-252-8 (Book is in French - 'Dolls and Men — Investigation into Artificial Love').
  • Elena Dorfman. Still Lovers (2005). ISBN 0-9766708-1-X. (Female art/fashion photographer photographs men and their dolls).
  • Guys and Dolls: Art, Science, Fashion and relationships. Royal Pavilion, Libraries and Museums. (2005). (102-page catalogue of a major exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, England).
  • Cynthia Ann Moya. (2006) "Artificial Vaginas and Sex Dolls: An Erotological Investigation." Dissertation, San Francisco, CA: Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Available in hardcopy or CD-ROM.

External links

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